ICALEPCS 2013 pre-conference Open Hardware Workshop¶
After the success of the 2011 workshop, this one took place in San Francisco, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, on 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 contact Javier Serrano.
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 aspects.
The talk will describe CERN's efforts during the last 4 years using the OH paradigm.
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 we get.
10:00-10:30 Coffee break.¶
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 way.
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 be publicly available.
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 OHL.
General talk on Open Hardware licensing considerations.
11:50-13:30 Lunch break.¶
Session 3: Tools¶
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 demo.
14:00-14:30 Icarus Verilog status and future prospects. Steve Williams. Slides.¶
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 development priorities.
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 Python.
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, Solaris).
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.