Agenda for the Open Hardware Workshop

The workshop was held during the Sunday preceding ICALEPCS 2011, i.e. 9 October 2011 in Grenoble, France. We used a workshop mailing list to discuss about the program, and this list has been kept alive for future discussions.


  • Session 1: Introduction and legal framework. This was an opportunity to define exactly what we mean by OH and discuss the latest developments on the legal side, such as the CERN Open Hardware License.
    • 09:00-09:30 Open Hardware: what, why, how, when, who (Javier Serrano, video CC BY-SA). This presentation will introduce the concept of Open Source Hardware (OSHW) and give a summary of current efforts in the OSHW world. It will also introduce legal and commercial issues, as well as considerations on how to improve collaboration on hardware design among labs, universities and companies.
    • 09-30-09:40 Summary of the Open Hardware Summit (Tomasz Wlostowski, video CC BY-SA). A quick summary of the Open Hardware Summit, held on September 15th in New York City, as seen by a CERN designer who attended the event.
    • 09:40-10:00 Open Hardware Licensing (Myriam Ayass, video CC BY-SA). The CERN Open Hardware Licence v.1.1 was released on July 7 2011. The purpose of this presentation is to provide some background information as to the context in which it was developed, the reasons and rationale for developing it and expected outcomes. A description of the main provisions will be given together with the main issues and solutions that were discussed during the process. Furthermore, thanks to the feedback received from the community, plans for v.1.2 of the licence will be presented.
    • 10:00-10:30 Arduino (David Cuartielles, video CC BY-SA). Arduino is an open source hardware platform created in 2005. The platform itself is made of circuit boards, a software development environment, a website to gather documentation about projects, and a series of tools to empower a community of users. During this talk, the audience will be introduced to the technical platform, but also to the business model that supports the whole project. The speaker will present some examples of use of the platfom, data about its world expansion, information about sales and details about the Arduino ecosystem.
  • Coffee (10:30-11:00)
  • Session 2: Business models. It is very interesting to discuss the role(s) of companies and how they can make business under an open paradigm.
    • 11:00-11:15 Open Hardware in Creotech (Grzegorz Kasprowicz, video CC BY-SA). Creotech is a company set up by former CERN and other scientific laboratories workers. Its mission is to create innovative, ready-to-implement solutions of electronics and electromechanics. We specialize in digital cameras (including solutions for astronomy), multichannel measurement systems (e.g. for ITER and JET), acquisitions cards (designed for CERN), systems of data transmission and special power supplies (e.g. for GEM detectors). The scope of the projects and the close collaboration with the scientific institutes require that many parts of our solutions are open (including publications), and no restrictions are put on their usage. We believe that the solutions are competitive and could lead to new, better standards. OHW gives us a unique possibility to widely publicize our ideas and introduce them to scientific community worldwide. Transferring the know-how to OHW will provide the human resources and funds for development and will eventually lead to the acceptance of the new standard. We believe that after this, our company will be one of the most important provider of the solutions based on the accepted standard.
    • 11:15-11:30 Open Hardware perspectives in National Instruments (Ravi Marawar). National Instruments (NI) is a Commercial-off-the-Shelf (COTS) system provider that combines heavily researched designs manufactured with state-of-the-art quality control processes and guaranteed long term lifecycle management. NI product designs are influenced by reliability and quality goals, calibration needs, safety certifications, environmental and security compliance requirements and longevity expectations. A significant attention is given in the design process to ensure compatibility and ease of use of various NI and third party products that are likely to be integrated into a system. This talk will share NI perspective of combining these factors with OHWR designs embedded with domain expertise. NI believes this will lead to excellence in comprehensive design and commercial grade products that will benefit entire industry from a technical and financial point of view.
    • 11:30-11:45 First experience in Seven Solutions (Eduardo Ros, video CC BY-SA). Seven Solutions is a technology based company (intensively engineering based company). The company offers services of design, technology consulting, custom electronics, embedded computing, etc. After launching its own hardware based products, Seven Solutions is aware of how the OHR paradigm can benefit SMEs in this field, by providing a shield of confidence (making SMEs dependable entities), facilitating the active participation in medium scale designs as part of an engineering community and making easier the process of how an SME offers its services as add-ons on projects conjointly run by different institutions. Furthermore, OHR allows development cost sharing among different institutions since Intellectual property does not create borders between participating companies.
    • 11:45-12:00 Clear roadmap for Open HW in Instrumentation Technologies (Borut Repič, video CC BY-SA). Instrumentation technologies has been addressing Open HW for quite a while even though it has not been called so officially. Apart from the main line of its top-end products, forming the base of knowledge, experience and practices it launched a separate line under the umbrella of so called "Working together". Thus, the result of a development project may be a "classical", Libera–type product or it may be a totally independent project resulting in a solution completely tailored to customer needs. It is common that in such cases the customer benefits from the complete information about the project and the product enabling him to manufacture it, to use it properly, redesign it or even upgrade it later on. Sharing of the project results is up to the customer. Such a practice was exercised in several cases, using mainly the background originating from the Libera field and broadening it at the same time. Some of them will be presented in the talk together with the criteria for their publishing under one of the OHW licenses.
    • 12:00-12:30 The Facebook Open Compute Project (John Kenevey). Facebook's Open Compute Project is a nascent community which is actively seeking participants who are passionate about making strong technical contributions to defining and delivering the most efficient server, storage and data center designs. One of the enablers of said community is to ensure they have the necessary tools to provide open electrical and mechanical designs to the Open Compute Project. I will share Open Computes genesis and future community driven trajectory in this presentation.
  • Lunch (12:30-13:30)


  • Session 3: Tools. Most of our tools are not open themselves yet. Here we discuss about what is the current offer and possible future plans. This affects mainly HDL simulation and PCB design.
    • 13:30-13:55 gEDA (Larry Doolittle, video CC BY-SA). gEDA is an umbrella term for a collection of Free Software EDA tools that share the philosophy of modular, flexible software that has proven so powerful in the Unix software world. Conventional modules like schematic capture and PCB layout interact with each other, and with other gEDA tools such as simulators and footprint generators, and also with proprietary tools through documented human-readable file formats and easy scripting. gEDA is also home to gerbv (Gerber viewer), icarus (Verilog compiler and simulator), and gtkwave (waveform viewer). While flexibility of these tools is their strength, this talk will provide
      a concrete example of how they can tie together for a single design. It will also demonstrate the user interface of the graphical tools, which has been slowly refined since 1998 (gschem) and 1994 (PCB).
    • 13:55-14:20 Kicad (Dick Hollenbeck, video CC BY-SA). KiCad is a an open source software tool suite for the design of printed circuit boards. It includes internationalized tools for hierarchical schematics, board layout, component assignments, gerber generation and viewing, and a calculator for board signal integrity. A quick and simple overview is given of the schematic and layout tools using sample datafiles from a working 6 layer ARM9 board. Discussed are source code quality, rate of advancement, datafile formats, project philosophies and major contributors, as these are predictors of KiCad's viability as a foundation on which to embody open source hardware designs for the OHW community.
    • 14:20-14:30 What's missing in current FOSS PCB design tools (Tomasz Wlostowski, video CC BY-SA). An assessment of missing features in current FOSS PCB design tools as discussed in the foss-pcb mailing list, along with some plans to palliate these shortcomings.
    • 14:30-14:45 Makefile-driven HDL flow (Pawel Szostek, video CC BY-SA). Maintaining HDL is a source of many problems, not necessarily related to design issues. When developers want to perform a synthesis, they have to struggle through massive clicking job in an IDE and face compatibility problems among different versions of the same tool. What is more, synthesis of big projects is a time and resource-consuming process that makes the edit-compile-test cycle unreasonably long and makes it harder to introduce trivial modification to the hardware. When simulating VHDL models developers usualy have to set correct compilation order. Hdlmake is a kind of swiss-army knife that tries to solve mentioned problems by generating a multi-purpose makefile. Hdlmake automatically detects file dependencies, generates IDE-specific project files, facilitates remote synthesis. It also offers a solution that makes modularization and managing of a project easier.
    • 14:45-15:00 Icarus Verilog/VHDL (Pawel Szostek, video CC BY-SA). In the era of open source many companies and institutes are in the process of streamlining their hardware design flow to adopt open software development tools which will facilitate collaboration with external actors. We aim to build an open source tool that would allow developers to simulate and to share easily their designs, even if they cannot afford buying a powerful but expensive commercial piece of software. To achieve our goal we picked Icarus Verilog which is one of the most popular Verilog simulation tools. It is now being extended by a group of programmers who are concentrating their efforts on implementing support for SystemVerilog and synthesizable part of the VHDL. The final version of Icarus should allow people to simulate their mixed-language models along with testbenches written in Verilog or SystemVerilog.
    • 15:00-15:30 How to design logic synthesis and place&route tools (Sébastien Bourdeauducq, video CC BY-SA). While many researchers and engineers agree that several obstacles stem from the proprietary tools of the FPGA vendors, writing an alternative from scratch has always been perceived to be far too complex of a task. This perception comes largely from the lack of generic knowledge about the internals of a synthesis and place-and-route tool and the absence of published details regarding particular FPGA architectures and bitstream formats. In order to encourage the development of alternative tools, we will attempt to shed some light on these concepts and give hints about how the Xilinx Spartan-6 architecture and bitstream format work and how they could be fully understood.
  • Coffee (15:30-16:00)
  • Session 4: Ongoing projects in labs and institutes. A selection of current projects illustrating OH practice.
    • 16:00-16:20 CERN OH developments (Erik van der Bij, video CC BY-SA). CERN has been practicing OSHW for more than two years now. The talk outlines some of the technical choices and discusses the current state of developments, both technically and in terms of collaboration with companies and other labs. The advantages of OSHW will be illustrated with concrete examples.
    • 16:20-16:40 OH developments in Soleil (Pascale Betinelli, video CC BY-SA). The Synchrotron SOLEIL is a third-generation light source located near Paris. The facility receives each year more than 2500 international scientific users. SOLEIL covers fundamental research needs in physics, chemistry, material sciences, life sciences, earth sciences… In applied research, SOLEIL is involved in very different fields such as pharmacy, medicine, chemistry, petrochemistry, environment, nuclear energy, as well as nanotechnologies, micromechanics and microelectronics, and more. Many other synchrotrons are present all around the world with similar or complementary performance. Today the synchrotron community encourages collaboration and sharing of development between synchrotron facility and at the same time competition. Other synchrotron facilities are interested in some of our hardware developments and because we can share this development with them, it is evident for us (the technical team) to join the open hardware initiative. But some conditions have to be taken into account, requiring stages in the process. After a short presentation of Soleil, I will explain our mission, our organization, what we want to share and our difficulties to convince people of the interest of this initiative.
    • 16:40-17:00 The Rhino Project (Brandon Hamilton, video CC BY-SA). The RHINO Project is an Open Source effort born out of the radar remote sensing group at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and motivated by CASPER and the SKA Africa project. Rhino, which stands for Reconfigurable Hardware Interface for computiNg and radiO, consists of a hardware platform that includes an ARM running Borph Linux, a Spartan 6 FPGA, DDR3 memory, dual FMC-LPC as well as numerous standard IO interfaces. The goal of the project is to provide a hardware platform and software tool-chain for Software Defined Radio (SDR) which is both easy to use, easy to learn and affordable to a broad audience. It is hoped that this effort will consolidate and enhance the teaching and research resources available for Software Defined Radio (SDR), nationally and among the hacker community. This talk will provide an overview of the hardware and software that make up the Rhino ecosystem, along with some current and future applications that show the potential of the platform.
    • 17:00-18:00 Discussion.


01. Michael Abbott (Diamond Light Source Ltd).
02. Yves-Marie Abiven (Soleil).
03. Pablo Álvarez (CERN).
04. Myriam Ayass (CERN).
05. Ralph Baer (GSI).
06. Dietrich Beck (GSI).
07. Pascale Betinelli (Soleil).
08. Jerôme Bisou (Soleil).
09. Andrea Borga (NIKHEF).
10. Sébastien Bourdeauducq (Milkymist).
11. Charlie Briegel (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory).
12. Nicola Cardines (CERN).
13. Matthieu Cattin (CERN).
14. Jean-Pierre Charras (Kicad).
15. Dominique Corruble (Soleil).
16. David Cuartielles (Arduino).
17. Don Dale (TRIUMF).
18. Daniel de Oliveira Tavares (Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory, LNLS).
19. Nicolas di Risio (University of Pavia)
20. Larry Doolittle (LBNL).
21. George Fatkin (Russian Academy of Sciences).
22. Pablo Fernández (CERN).
23. Sébastien Franz (CERN).
24. Kazuro Furukawa (KEK).
25. Yukito Furukawa (Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute).
26. Philippe Gayet (CERN).
27. Patrick Gessler (European XFEL GmbH).
28. Guanghua Gong (Tsinghua University).
29. Juan David González Cobas (CERN).
30. Vincent Grennerat (UJF Grenoble).
31. Matias Guijarro (ESRF).
32. Steve Gunn (University of Southampton).
33. Brandon Hamilton (University of Cape Town).
34. Javier Herrero (HV Sistemas).
35. Pascal Hirsch.
36. Dick Hollenbeck (Kicad).
37. Rok Hrovatin (Instrumentation Technologies).
38. Billy Huang (Culham Centre for Fusion Energy).
39. Jerzy Jamroz (CELLS-ALBA).
40. Benjamin Jean (Inno 3).
41. Mike Jennison (EURATOM/CCFE).
42. Tomasz Jezynski (DESY).
43. Anders Johansson (Lund University)
44. Grzegorz Kasprowicz (Creotech).
45. John Kenevey (Facebook).
46. Jean-Marc Koch (ESRF).
47. Ivan Kohler (iThemba LABS).
48. Martin Kraimer (ANL).
49. Mathias Kreider (GSI).
50. Žiga Kroflic (COBIK/Cosylab).
51. Julio Lidón (CELLS-ALBA).
52. Maciej Lipinski (CERN).
53. Johan Löfgren (Lund University)
54. Ravi Marawar (National Instruments).
55. Takemasa Masuda (Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute).
56. Óscar Matilla (CELLS-ALBA).
57. Peter Milne (D-TACQ Solutions).
58. Andrew Moore (University of Cambridge).
59. Alexey Panov (Russian Academy of Sciences).
60. Stefan Rauch (GSI)
61. Guillaume Renaud (Soleil).
62. Borut Repič (Instrumentation Technologies).
63. Jean-Paul Ricaud (Soleil).
64. Eduardo Ros (University of Granada and Seven Solutions).
65. Alessandro Rubini (University of Pavia).
66. Lucas Sanfelici (Sirius Project, LNLS).
67. Stefan Schlenker (CERN).
68. John Scott III (RadiantBlue Technologies, Inc.).
69. Luka Šepetavc (COBIK/Cosylab).
70. Carlos Serrano (LBNL).
71. Javier Serrano (CERN).
72. Bart Sijbrandij (INCAA Computers).
73. Vesa Solonen (Aalto University).
74. Pawel Szostek (Technical University Warsaw).
75. Charilaos Tsarouchas (CERN).
76. Isa Uzun (Diamond Light Source Ltd).
77. Federico Vaga (University of Pavia)
78. Erik van der Bij (CERN).
79. Fabio Varesano (University of Torino).
80. Axel Voitier (CERN).
81. Tomasz Wlostowski (CERN).

sebastien.pdf (572.5 kB) Javier Serrano, 2011-10-10 23:19

greg.pdf (705.9 kB) Javier Serrano, 2011-10-10 23:19

ravi.pdf (2.2 MB) Javier Serrano, 2011-10-10 23:19

javier.pdf (93 kB) Javier Serrano, 2011-10-10 23:19

david.pdf (5.1 MB) Javier Serrano, 2011-10-10 23:21

brandon.pdf (2 MB) Javier Serrano, 2011-10-10 23:28

erik.pdf (5.5 MB) Javier Serrano, 2011-10-11 09:18

larry.pdf (769.8 kB) Javier Serrano, 2011-10-13 10:07

pascale.pdf (1.8 MB) Javier Serrano, 2011-10-13 10:09

tomasz1.pdf (2.5 MB) Javier Serrano, 2011-10-16 21:34

dick.pdf (1.4 MB) Javier Serrano, 2011-10-20 17:48

eduardo.pdf (901.9 kB) Javier Serrano, 2011-10-21 18:08