Five Years of Summer Love in Chicago

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Google Summer of Code is in full swing and, besides all the coding, participants are also organizing meetups all over the world. These meetups allow Google Summer of Code students and mentors to meet in person and talk about the awesome contributions they will be making to open source projects over the summer.

Nathaniel Manista welcomes Chicago-area students to Google’s Chicago offices

One of the longest-running meetups is the one held each spring in Chicago. This meetup started in 2008 after five University of Chicago students were accepted to Google Summer of Code. The university’s ACM Student Chapter approached Google’s Chicago office about hosting a meetup for them, which was attended by around 30 students.

The following year, we opened up the event to students in all of Chicago’s major universities and since then, the Chicago meetup has been getting bigger and bigger each year. A few weeks ago, we held the fifth annual Chicago-area meetup and we had more than 160 students sign up for it!

As usual, the meetup revolved around a series of lightning talks delivered by accepted Google Summer of Code students and by Google engineers. Google Chicago hosts the event, providing dinner for all attendees. The dinner’s theme seems to change every year and, as a Spaniard, I was thrilled to walk into Google Chicago’s conference room this year to find big trays of paella, croquetas, and flan waiting for me.

Jacob Walker shares details on his upcoming summer work for Shogun

This year, four of the Google Summer of Code students that attended the meetup gave lightning talks on their upcoming summer work:
We also had a chance to hear from several Google engineers who shared some interesting (and often amusing) perspectives on various topics:
  • Robin Anil, a former Google Summer of Code student himself, told us about doing machine learning on a mammoth scale with Apache Mahout.
  • J.J. Lueck told us about the awesome stuff the Data Liberation Front is up to.
  • Nathaniel Manista, our gracious host for the evening, told us about inheritance, and why he no longer uses it.
  • Jeremy Wall told us about some of his favorite idioms in Go.
J.J. Lueck tells students about the Data Liberation Front

As usual, a great time was had by all. Many thanks to Google for continuing to host this event, and congratulations to all the Chicago-area students who will be participating in this year’s Google Summer of Code!

By Borja Sotomayor, Lecturer, University of Chicago and Google Summer of Code Organization Administrator (Globus Alliance, 2008-2011)

Photos by Ge Yang and Nathaniel Manista