Our paper presented at the International Workshop on Smalltalk Technology 2015, Brescia Italy, as part of the PhD of LE Xuan Sang received the 1st prize, offered by the Lam Research Corporation.

A Meta Model Supporting Both Hardware and Smalltalk-based Execution of Fpga Circuits
High level synthesis (HLS) refers to an automated process that creates a digital hardware from an algorithmic description of some computation. From the perspective of Smalltalk, this process consists in converting a code from the OO level to the register transfer level (RTL), that supports direct compilation to the hardware level. In this paper, we present first steps to achieve this process. We introduce a Smalltalk-based meta-model that allows to express descriptions (i.e. models) of digital circuits. These descriptions materialize as Smalltalk code. A such circuit description can be run on top of the Smalltalk VM, simulating the parallelism intrinsic to hardware. Alternatively, it can be compiled into a binary representation directly transferable to FPGA chips, which can run and exchange data with Smalltalk objects.

We are glad to announce PharoJS, which is an infrastructure to run Pharo code on top of JavaScript. The goal of PharoJS is to allow developers benefit from the power of Pharo while targeting platforms that support JavaScript.

For example, PharoJS can be used to develop client side web applications. It can also be used to support cross-platform mobile apps based on Phone Gap.

PharoJS is freely available under MIT License. It can be dowloaded from SmalltalkHub.

This conference is aimed at addressing important aspects of robot control architectures, with a specific emphasis on distribution, verification and validation, languages and modeling, and implementation of control architectures. It brings together researchers and practitioners from universities, institutions and industries, working in this field. It intends to be a meeting to expose and discuss gathered expertise, identified rends and issues, as well as new scientific results and applications around software control architectures related topics, through plenary invited papers.

Theme
Due to their increasing complexity, nowadays intervention robots, that to say those dedicated for instance to exploration, security or defence applications, definitely raise huge scientific and commercial issues. Whatever the considered environment, terrestrial, aerial, marine or even spatial, this complexity mainly derives from the integration of multiple functionalities: advanced perception, planning, navigation, autonomous behaviours, in parallel with communication or robots coordination enable to tackle more and more difficult missions.

But robots can only be equipped with such functions if an appropriate hardware and software structure is embedded: the software architectures will hence be the main concern of this conference.
As quoted above, the control architecture is thus a necessary element for the integration of a multitude of works; it also permits to cope with technological advances that continually offer new devices for communication, localization, computing, etc. As a matter of fact, it should be modular, reusable, scalable and even readable (ability to analyze and understand it).
Besides, such properties ease the sharing of competencies among the robotics community, but also with computer scientists and automatics specialists as the domain is inherently a multidisciplinary one.

Numerous solutions have been proposed, based on the “classical” three layers architecture or on more “modern” approaches such as object or component oriented programming. Actually, almost every robot integrates its own architecture; the workshop will thus be a real opportunity to share reflections on these solutions but also on related needs, especially on middleware for robotics, which are of particular importance in multi-robot applications for instance.
Hence, this conference on control architectures of robots aims at gathering a large number of robotics actors (researchers, manufacturers as well as state institutions) in order to highlight the multiple issues, key difficulties and potential sources of advances.

Schedule – Dates
- Paper submission (full paper or extended abstract): May 18 2015
- Paper Acceptation Notification : May 29 2015
- Camera Ready due : June 29 2015
- Conference: 29-30 June 2015

Submission Guideline
- Even if CAR is a french conference, we prefer articles written in english
- No specific style is asked : latex article style is OK
- No limit on article length, usually articles for CAR are between 6 and 17 pages long !

Web Page
http://car-conference.fr/

Scientific Committee
- David Andreu LIRMM, Univ. Montpellier 2
- Noury Bouraqadi Ecoles des Mines de Douai,
- Jacques Malenfant LIP6, UPMC
- Roger Pissard-Gibollet INRIA Grenoble,
- Julien Ponge CITI-INRIA, INSA de Lyon
- Olivier Simonin CITI-INRIA, INSA de Lyon
- Serge Stinckwich UBCN & UMMISCO, IRD/UPMC

As part of the Sucré ongoing project (http://car.mines-douai.fr/category/project/sucre/) the Ecole des Mines de Douai is offering a 12 months Post-Doc in multi-robot systems. This postdoc aims at proposing and developing original solutions to allow a robotic fleet to autonomously explore an indoor environment to provide useful information to firemen (e.g. maps, dangerous areas, victims to rescue).

Candidats should have a solid background in one of the following areas:
-coordination algorithms for multi-robot systems.
-mobile robot programming and software control architectures.
-Robot middleware such as ROS.

A background in dynamic languages would be a plus.

To apply, candidates should send a cover letter describing their background, a CV, and contact info for two references. The application materials should be sent by email to Prof. Noury Bouraqadi: noury.bouraqadi(AT)mines-douai.fr

In traditional robot behavior programming, the edit-compile-simulate-deploy-run cycle creates a large mental disconnect between program creation and eventual robot behavior. This significantly slows down behavior development because there is no immediate mental connection between the program and the resulting behavior. With live programming the development cycle is made extremely tight, realizing such an immediate connection. In our work on programming of ROS robots in a more dynamic fashion through PhaROS, we have experimented with the use of the Live Robot Programming language. This has given rise to a number of requirements for such live programming of robots. In this text we introduce these requirements and illustrate them using an example robot behavior.

This presentation has been given at the DSL Rob Workshop held as part of the SIMPAR 2014 conference (Bergamo, Italy).

Slides of my presentation given at ESUG 2014 conference are available online (see below). It’s about Robot software development using the Pharo dynamic language. It includes a quick overview of PhaROS our bridge to the ROS, as well as BoTest our framework for TDD for robotics applications. The video is also available on Youtube (see below) thanks to ESUG student volunteers. Note it is in two parts.

For the 2014 edition of the CAR workshop (Control Architectures for Robots) we’re glad to have Dr. Florian Röhrbein as our invited speaker. His talk will be entitled: ”The Human Brain Project and its Neurorobotics Platform“. You’ll find below the abstract of this talk as well as a short bio of Dr. Röhrbein.

ABSTRACT

The HBP is one of two European Flagship projects dedicated to long-term basic research with a planned funding of 1 billion € over 10 years. The ultimate goal is to gain profound insights into brain functions, develop new treatments for brain diseases and build entirely new computing technologies. HBP has three research areas – Neuroscience, Medicine and Future Computing – and will develop six ICT platforms, dedicated to Neuro¬informatics, Brain Simulation, High Performance Computing, Medical Informatics, Neuromorphic Computing and Neurorobotics. HBP is completely open, i.e., these platforms will be made available to all interested research communities worldwide, enabling them to profit from each other. Our vision is that interactive supercomputing, driven by the needs of brain simulation, will impact many industries. Devices and systems, modelled after the brain, are to overcome current limits on the energy-efficiency, reliability and programmability, clearing the road for systems with brain-like intelligence. The Neurorobotics Platform will offer scientists and technology developers a software and hardware infrastructure allowing them to connect pre-validated brain models to detailed simulations of robot bodies and environments and to use the resulting neurorobotic systems in silico experiments and technology development. In this talk, I will give an overview of the HBP, outline the goals of the Neurorobotics subproject, and sketch the work which is planned for the next two years.

BIO

Dr. Florian Röhrbein is a senior lecturer at the research group “Robotics and Embedded Systems” in TUM’s Informatics Department. He is managing director of the Neurorobotics subproject of the Human Brain Project flagship. He has international work experience in various projects on brain-inspired cognitive systems. Research stays include the MacKay Institute of Communication and Neuroscience (UK), the HONDA Research Institute Europe (Germany) and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (New York). He received his Diploma and PhD from TU München and the venia legendi for computer science from Universität Bremen. Prior to his involvement in the Human Brain Project, he was member of the executive committee of the ECHORD project and was responsible for the structured dialogue between industry and academia in European robotics.