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OSHUG #72 - Open Source FPGA Hardware and Tooling Past, Present and Future.

On 21 March 2019, 18:30 - 20:30 at BCS London, 1st Floor, The Davidson
Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA.


Once upon a time we could only use proprietary tools and development
boards supplied by FPGA vendors. This all changed in 2016 with the
advent of the IceStorm open source toolchain, combined with open
hardware like the myStorm board. With the 2nd generation of tools and
hardware, sophisticated FPGA features are opening exciting avenues for
'open source all the way down'. We hope to provide an update and crystal
ball on where some of this could be leading to.

— Tools: past to present

David Shah looks at where we have come from with the IceStorm toochain,
and looks at how this has developed recently and expanded Lattice iCE40
support to include new lower power, lower cost, reduced pin count FPGAs
to include their Ultra & Ultra Plus range.

— Hardware: past to present

Alan Wood talks about the journey through the early history of open
source FPGA open hardware from IcoBoard through myStorm too recent
UltraPlus offerings recently made available.

— Tools: present to future

IceStorm was aimed at a narrow family of iCE40 FPGAS, the new SymbiFlow
family of tools expands the open source tooling exponentially. David
Shah takes a look at NextPNR, which lies at the heart of the toolset and
deals with specific FPGA family functionality, in particular he
concentrates on the Lattice ECP5 family support he has developed with
Project Trellis as part of NextPNR and the recent 1.0 version supporting
this new family and high end FPGA features.

— Hardware: present to future

What comes next for open source FPGA hardware, after the success of
tinyFPGA and myStorm we are beginning to see ECP5 open source hardware
emerging, first with Radiona's ULX3S and being followed up by offerings
from both tinyFPGA and myStorm dev board stables. With new hardware
comes new features building on NextPNRs tooling, like DSP, SerDES I/O
gearing and DDR memory etc. Alan plots the course for these new powerful
opesource development boards.

— Demos

Time permitting we can show some of what's possible with the new tools
in a brave new 'open source all the way down' world.

* David Shah is a engineer at Symbiotic EDA and a Electronic and
Information Engineering student at Imperial College London. He entered
the world of open source FPGAs by extending Project Icestorm, the iCE40
bitstream documentation project, to include the newer iCE40 UltraPlus
FPGAs. As well developing Project Trellis, he has been involved in the
development of a new open source FPGA place-and-route tool, nextpnr.

* Alan Wood has been working with parallel distributed programming for
several decades. His recent work includes smart grids, 3D printers,
robotics, automation, biotec diagnostics and designing FPGA dev boards.
His current research is focused on machine learning for embedded
automation using FPGAs. He is a long term advocate of open source
communities, a moderator (aka Folknology) for xCORE, the co-founder of
myStorm open hardware FPGA community, as well as a co-founder of Surrey
and Hampshire Makerspace.

Note: Please aim to arrive by 18:15 as the event will start at 18:30 prompt.

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