GSoC 2020 — My First Blog Post!

Hello reader,

I am Shivam Potdar, Junior Year EE Undergrad at NITK Surathkal, India.

On 4th May 2020, my proposal for Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2020 under FOSSi Foundation got accepted! I thought it would an interesting idea to jot down my experiences along the way, which would hopefully help someone in future.

I am a newbie at blog writing, please pardon me if this article is not up to the mark. I am all ears on feedback for improvement.

How Happiness Looks Like!

What is GSoC?

So let us start with this-

Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a global level program for promoting free and open-source software and supporting students to work on them.

Google administers this program and handles connecting open-source organisations to students, their application process, and also provides with a generous stipend amount.

What is Open-Source?

The world of open-source tech is really crazy. The root idea of open-source development is collaborative work. Within few days of getting involved in open-source projects you might already be interacting with highly knowledgeable and friendly people from both industry and academia.

They are open to answering your questions, helping you out in starting great work and guiding you through it.

And what do you need to get involved? Interest and Motivation. That’s it!

Believe me, you can start learning stuff from scratch and start contributing to something as big as the Linux Kernel in few months, all you need is the motivation to learn.

It used to be so somewhere in history.

Today, thanks to the huge efforts of the highly active hardware community all around the world, we have a huge array of open source tools for hardware-related activities. Right from writing HDL (Hardware Description Language) codes in Chisel or Bluespec Verilog to taping out chips synthesised via complete RTL2GDS tool-chain or uploading bitstreams to FPGAs for that matter, many innovative open-source tools are rising up.

We have an entirely open-source instruction set architecture called RISC-V. Right from the ISA definition to a big number of processor cores, and supporting designs based on RISC-V are freely available on platforms like GitHub. Arduino platform is another example of what open-source work could look like.

This promotes great learning opportunities for students like us. Being open and transparent to the core provides a reliable solution to researchers as well.

In GSoC this year, there were a good number of organisations hosting hardware-related projects, including FOSSi, lowRISC, Arduino, ArduPilot, BeagleBoard.org, Open Source Robotics Foundation and SymbiFlow.

They work on exciting projects across numerous areas like digital-design, robotics, microcontrollers, EDA tools etc. and have a very active worldwide community.

My Proposed Project

Free and Open Source Silicon Foundation (FOSSi) hosts many interesting projects such as LibreCores, cocotb and Embench.

I will be working on the project titled “Integration of WARP-V with OpenPiton”. WARP-V is a highly parameterised and configurable CPU core written in the upcoming TL-Verilog standard and OpenPiton is Princeton Parallel Groups highly scalable manycore framework.

I will be mentored by super-friendly and knowledgeable, Steve Hoover, Jonathan M Balkind, and Akos Hadnagy.

I will keep posting updates about the same as I go through the GSoC timeline!

Bottom line

There are plenty of opportunities in hardware related domains, you just need to identify them correctly and explore.

I would be happy to talk if you any questions: shivampotdar99 [at] gmail.com !

Know more about me @ https://shivampotdar.me

Cheers!

GSoC 2020 @ FOSSi Foundation | EE Junior @ NITK, Mangalore, India | (https://shivampotdar.tech)