James Pallister

This year Embecosm attended FOSDEM again, in full force. I gave a main track talk onon Superoptimization in the Performance strand, following on from the TSB funded Superoptimization feasibility study. Superoptimization is a technique to search for the best possible program, achieving the fastest, most energy-efficient or smallest code. I covered how superoptimization works and why it can be very slow. I then went on to show how we could speed it up to get useful results in a reasonable timeframe, and gave a short tutorial on how to use the GNU Superoptimizer — adding your own goal functions and architectures. The talk proved popular, was well attended and many people were interested in how they could start superoptimizing, and came up with ideas for using it by the end of the talk.

See my previous blog post and for more information. The video of the talk should be up eventually, at

Apart from my talk there was much to see at FOSDEM 2015. I particularly enjoyed “The Story of Rust“, a brief history of how Rust came into being. Also the track on typesetting, which was particularly relevant since I’m currently writing up my PhD thesis. Another enjoyable talk was the lightning talk on the Crazyflie, an extremely small quadcopter. This talk saw a demo of the very capable quadcopter sent flying above the audience, to much applause.

Overall FOSDEM 15 was an interesting and successful trip. I hope to be back next year!

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