My virtual participation at the RISC-V 2021 summit

The Open Bioinformatics Foundation (OBF) Event Fellowship program aims to promote diverse participation at events promoting open source bioinformatics software development and open science practices in the biological research community. Rupesh Gelal, a student from Nepal Engineering College, Nepal, attended the 2021 RISC-V Summit, supported by this fellowship granted to him in the second round of 2021.

The pandemic has made attending conferences and events more accessible for full-time students like me, who often can’t travel internationally to attend in-person events. These days everything is possible remotely — there is no need to travel halfway across the world. Still, the cost of small hardware (headphones, webcam, speaker, and/microphone) for attending remote events can be a hindrance sometimes. Fortunately, I came across the Open Bioinformatics Foundation Event Fellowship while researching the 2021 RISC-V Summit. I applied immediately for the fellowship. After a month, I received an email notifying me about my successful application. In this post, I provide an overview of my participation at this conference.

Day 1 of RISC-V Summit

The first day of the event was really exciting. I bonded with other RISC-V community members, which helped extend my professional network. I had an opportunity to share my skills, ideas, and views with fellow participants regarding the present and future of technology and learn from them. After the initial bonding and introduction phase, I attended a lightning Talk session and enjoyed the demo session “How to Extend RISC-V to Accelerate AI/ML” given by Veronia Iskandar from TU Dresden & Dr. William Jones from Embecosm. I learned the internal working of RISC-V architecture and how it can be extended to improve performance. This session was one of the reasons why I wanted to attend this year’s RISC-V summit.

Day 2 of RISC-V Summit

On day two, I attended a couple of sessions. First, I attended the “Efficient Issue Scheduling for Hardware Multithreaded RISC-V Pipeline” session by Dr. Shlomo Greenberg, Ben Gurion University of the Negev & Sami Shamoon College Engineering, Beer-Sheva, Israel. This is where I learned about the importance of an effective scheduling algorithm as well as other multithreading techniques. Second, I listened to the talk “AI-RISC – Custom Extensions to RISC-V for Energy-efficient AI Inference at the Edge of IoT” by Vaibhav Verma from the University of Virginia. In this session, I dived deeper into the AI-RISC hardware/software co-design methodology. The session gave me better insights into the AI integration on the RISC-V-based processor.

Day 3 of RISC-V Summit

On the final day of the RISC-V event, I attended the “Quantitative Methods for Continuously Improving RISC-V Compilers” session by Philipp Tomsich from VRULL. Through this session, I learned how quantitative methods can be used to assess the quality of code generation and identify and prioritize potential improvements based on hot-block analysis, dynamic instruction count metrics, and instruction histograms.

To conclude, I feel the RISC-V summit was a great learning experience. I learned a lot about the RISC-V architecture and its open-source community. The skills learned from this conference, such as collaboration, open communication, and open source best practices, will directly help me achieve my professional and academic goals. All data recordings of the conference will be available as an open source resource on YouTube on the RISC-V International channel.

I would like to thank the OBF board again for selecting me for the fellowship. I will make sure to promote and advocate open-source software development and/or open science in the biological research community as well as in my community.

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