Prepping for GRCon15

We're almost done with the agenda for GRCon15; just a few more titles to fill out and some swapping around of the lineup. But looking at it, I'm excited about the amazing set of speakers and talks we've been able to put together this year. Our New Users Day will showcase program managers from both DARPA and NSF to provide their visions of science and technology with software radio and GNU Radio. After that, we have some of our top contributors talking about various in-depth technical aspects of software radio and how to use GNU Radio.

Come Tuesday, we'll start with the main conference. Leading off with our keynote, the thought-provoking "godfather" of SDR Joe Mitola will likely start us off with some interesting ideas. We've then split the talks into two general groups: Tutorials and Apps & Research. In the tutorials, we will discuss the various aspects of GNU Radio itself. The apps & research talks will involve either the way people are using GNU Radio or exploring future ideas in software radio that we're working on.

This year's, we're giving our big sponsors a chance to address the entire audience. Each day, we'll hear from one sponsors. We'll start off Tuesday with Ettus Research, Wednesday we'll have DRS, and Thursday ADI.

Friday is our free-for-all day, the Hackfest. We're compiling a list of projects and issues that we'd like to tackle at this hackfest. While everyone is welcome to select their own project or projects to work on, we want to provide some concept of what specific issues the project could really benefit from for those just getting into GNU Radio and our community. We'll have that list of ideas up soon.

GRCon is the time when all of our Working Groups get a chance to get together and discuss their future plans.  These sessions are open to all, and it's a great way to find the right people to talk to about ideas in a particular area and get involved with the project. The WG meetings this year will be parallel sessions to the main talks in the afternoons, so you can chose to attend the talks or a working group that you're involved with or has caught your attention.

And finally, RFNoC from Ettus Research is quickly becoming an important part of our work in software radio and GNU Radio. We're happy that Ettus Research is providing a tutorial at GRCon15 on Wednesday for how to use and develop RFNoC blocks. Though this is free, there are limited numbers of equipment provided, and access has already sold out.

Comments on GRCon's Growth

As the fifth GRCon, we've seen rapid growth year over year. What started with a few dozen people stuffed into a room at UPenn has grown to hundreds of people coming to talk and learn about GNU Radio. As you can seen from the speaker lineup and talks we've prepared, while we're still centered around GNU Radio, there's a lot more going on in wireless around the project that we're tapping in to here. There's so much growth and opportunities in radio technology, science, and education. We'll be hearing and talking a lot of these at GRCon15 and in the next year to come. At least.

Updates and updates and updates

This blog has been rather silent lately, but that's not because there's not enough to talk about in the GNU Radio world. In fact, there's simply been too much! We've been too busy with events, adding new features, improving old features, and adding new website info that I keep forgetting to update here.

First, you can see for yourself the things that have been going on with the GNU Radio Project at the Events page. We just had hackfest at TU Delft that went quite well followed by another successful SDR Dev Room at FOSDEM. A Couple of the videos for that event are already online.

Meanwhile, coming up, we have:

And fred harris and I are teaching another SDR class with the UCLA Extension program.

We have also announced our plans for the 3.7.7 release of GNU Radio, which will now include VOLK as a separate library.

And the GNU Radio community has been working hard on improving our websites. We are near to a release of our new CGRAN website, which now ties in nicely with PyBOMBS and will help us keep up-to-date with everything better. And we are working on a new front page for gnuradio.org. You know how you've hated being dumped into that Redmine wiki page? Well, that will still hang around as the developer's portal, but we want our main page to be more user friendly and to address the GNU Radio project as a whole, including GRCon and other events and where to find users and use cases of GNU Radio.

Along with all of this, we've been working on a number of features. I'll spend more time on each of these later, but wanted to get the word out there.

  • Support for GNU Radio applications on Android. I'm calling this an alpha release since there's still lots to do to make things work smoothly here.
  • Reviving ControlPort functionality by using the Apache Thrift project. We're close to having this merged into master, but the branch is up on my github page.
  • Providing improved packet-based and burst digital signals. Again, a work-in-progress with the branch up on my github page.
  • Adding sample rate and timing info on a per-item basis in a flowgraph. This will allow a block to ask for the exact time stamp of any item, and it provides a global understanding of the sample rate of each block. The code on my public branch works, but I have a better idea how to handle things when sample rates change during runtime.
  • Improving our QA testing and continuous integration services. I've been rolling out a Jenkins server in my office (for now) that manages a handful of different nodes for different purposes. I have a box with the minimum dependencies we require for GNU Radio to make sure we're not moving past them as well as testing on various other things like OS X and 64/32-bit installs. And I even have a system testing our embedded SDK cross-compiler with on-board testing of the QA to see what breaks there. This will help ease my mind of missing something or overlooking some problems. I'll get weekly reports but can also kick off these tests whenever we need to get a state of the project.

think that wraps up the main points of the project that we're working on. I'll update again with details of some of these projects when they've rolled out more fully, especially on the Android, ControlPort, the website, and GRCon items.