ICALEPCS 2013 pre-conference Open Hardware Workshop
After the success of the 2011
one took place in San Francisco, at the Hyatt Regency
Sunday 6 October 2013. Organization and discussions regarding the
workshop were done through a mailing
list. For any
questions regarding the workshop or possible future events, you can
Session 1: Introduction and experience in institutes.
09:00-09:20 A general intro talk. OH concepts, the current state of affairs, etc. Javier Serrano. Slides.
I will talk about the history of Open Hardware, the definition and some
considerations about commercialization and legal
09:20-09:40 CERN's experience and developments. Matthieu Cattin. Slides.
The talk will describe CERN's efforts during the last 4 years using the
SOLEIL is a third generation Synchrotron radiation source located near
Paris in France. Today, the Storage Ring delivers photon beam to 26
beamlines. In order to improve the machine and beamlines performance,
new electronics requirements are identified. For these improvements,
up-to-date commercial products are preferred but sometimes custom
hardware designs become essential. At SOLEIL, the electronic team (8
people) is in charge of design, implementation and maintenance of 2000
electronics installed for control and data acquisition. This large
basement and small team mean there is only little time left to focus on
the development of new hardware designs. As alternative, we focus our
development on the open Hardware (OHWR) initiative from the CERN
dedicated for electronics designers at experimental physics facilities
to collaborate on hardware designs. We collaborate as an evaluator and a
contributor. We share some boards in the project SPI BOARDS PACKAGE,
developed to face our current challenges. We evaluated TDC core project,
and we plan to evaluate FMC carrier. We will present our approach on how
to be more efficient with developments, issues to face and the benefit
10:00-10:30 Coffee break.
10:30-10:45 LNLS's experience. Daniel Tavares. Slides.
Since April of 2012, the Beam Diagnostics Group (DIG) of the Brazilian
Synchrotron Light Laboratory (LNLS) is developing open-source Beam
Position Monitor and Orbit Feedback systems for Sirius, the new low
emmitance synchrotron light source currently in development in Brazil.
This presentation will briefly describe the current status of the
project and focus on the possibilities of cooperation, benefits from the
open-source approach and difficulties that were found along the
10:45-11:00 OpenPET-- A Flexible Open Source Electronics System for Radiotracer Imaging. Qiyu Peng. Slides.
The purpose of the OpenPET project is to design an electronics readout
system designed for prototype radiotracer imaging instruments. The
challenges are that the system needs to have sufficient performance,
channel count, channel density, and power consumption to service a
complete camera, and yet be simple, flexible, and customizable enough to
be used with almost any detector or camera design. The OpenPET system
includes (1) a framework that is flexible and scalable to handle a vast
array of potential use cases, (2) electronics that are powerful enough
to accommodate cutting-edge research, and (3) firmware and software
interfaces that are flexible and user-friendly enough for users to
quickly extend the framework to meet their own goals. The OpenPET system
is open source, meaning that all technical data (specifications,
schematics and board layout files, source code, and instructions) will
Session 2: Knowledge and Technology Transfer and legal aspects.
11:00-11:20 Knowledge Transfer at CERN, with a focus on Open Hardware. Giovanni Anelli, head of CERN KT (pre-recorded talk and remote Q&A). Slides, audio.
Knowledge Transfer is an integral part of CERN’s mission. The knowledge
and the technologies developed while pursuing CERN’s ambitious research
programmes have other applications outside High Energy Physics, and the
Organization aims at maximizing the dissemination and the impact of its
technologies for the benefit of Society. The CERN Open Hardware License
(OHL) is one of the tools that the KT group has implemented to
disseminate the hardware developed at CERN. During the talk, CERN’s KT
strategy will be reviewed, with a focus on the impact of CERN’s
11:20-11:50 OH licensing, John Ackermann (pre-recorded talk and remote Q&A). Slides, video.
General talk on Open Hardware licensing
11:50-13:30 Lunch break.
Session 3: Tools
13:30-14:00 KiCad status and future prospects + demo. Tomasz Włostowski. Slides.
KiCad is one of the two projects (along with Icarus Verilog) to which
CERN BE-CO-HT is contributing, with the aim of a having high-quality,
feature-rich FOSS PCB design tool. The talk will cover the latest
developments and include a quick
I will talk about the current language support for Icarus Verilog, as
well as plans for future support. This will include what languages are
supported, which are priorities, and I will also cover how the languages
interact in elaboration and simulation.
I will also discuss how to participate in the process and/or influence
Despite being faster than schematics entry, hardware design with Verilog
and VHDL remains tedious and inefficient for several reasons. The
event-driven model introduces issues and manual coding that are
unnecessary for synchronous circuits. Counter-intuitive arithmetic rules
result in steeper learning curves and provide a fertile ground for
subtle bugs in designs. Finally, support for procedural generation of
logic (metaprogramming) is very limited and restricts the ways code can
be made generic, reused and organized.
To address those issues, we have developed the Migen FHDL library that
replaces the event-driven paradigm with the notions of combinatorial and
synchronous statements, has arithmetic rules that make integers always
behave like mathematical integers, and most importantly allows the
design's logic to be constructed by a Python program. This last point
enables hardware designers to take advantage of the richness of the
Python language - object oriented programming, function parameters,
generators, operator overloading, libraries, etc. - to build well
organized, reusable and elegant designs.
Other Migen libraries are built on FHDL and provide various tools such
as a system-on-chip interconnect infrastructure, a dataflow programming
system, a more traditional high-level synthesizer that compiles Python
routines into state machines with datapaths, and a simulator that allows
test benches to be written in
15:00-15:30 Coffee break.
15:30-16:00 Libre-FDATool and demo. Author: Javier García Lasheras. Presenter: Tomasz Włostowski. Slides.
Libre-FDATool is a Python package aimed at helping in the analysis and
design of HDL filters from high-level specifications. This Free/Libre
Open Source software supports both VHDL and Verilog code generation and
relies on a collection of Free scientific and EDA tools for providing
advanced features -- simulation, graphics, debugging, etc.
In order to overcome the problems often related with deploying open
design toolchains from the ground up across different host environments,
Libre-FDATool and the associated third-party tools are alternatively
distributed in a customized GNU/Linux virtual machine image. This
virtualized solution is ready to use right out of the box and can be
easily deployed by only using free software in any mainstream Operating
System (GNU/Linux, Windows, OS-X,
ESRF operates a source of XRAY light to serve
fundamental research and industry. Part of its activities involves
developing electronics and software for XRAY detectors data acquisition
systems. For this purpose, we
developed VPCIe, an open source PCIe endpoint virtualization framework.
This presentation introduces VPCIe, its architecture and the open source
technologies it relies on. Future plans to integrate existing HDL
simulation frameworks will be discussed.
The discussion mainly revolved about how to better finance the
development of FOSS tools for EDA. The possibility of requesting one or
more SBIR grants to this end was discussed and
several participants agreed to stay in touch to follow this up.