Who’s New in Google Summer of Code 2012: Part 2

Friday, August 17, 2012

This is our second post in our summer series highlighting new organizations participating in this year’s Google Summer of Code. Three of the organization administrators give a brief description of their projects below. promotes localization and internationalization with the specific aim of improving usage of Bengali in Free and Open Source Software projects. The group is involved in internationalization and localization efforts, especially content development, translations, and the development of tools, utilities, widgets and APIs that help facilitate a wider community of like minded collaborators to participate in a community building process.  
Our contributions to localization and internationalization have been primarily in the area of making sure that as a language Bengali is easy to use. This has led to devising new keyboard layouts, new input methods, testing fonts, contributing to user interface and document translations and so forth. 2012 is the first time that we have participated in the Google Summer of Code as a mentoring organization and, our project ideas reflect our strengths and our assessment of the work that remains to be done.  
The Google Summer of Code experience has been fascinating for us - from an organization perspective we received a tremendous amount of valuable guidance and support from the Program Administrators and the mentors from other organizations who have been participating for a number of years. The response to our project ideas from the students was very high and the majority of the proposals were well thought out and high quality. Based on extensive conversations with the applicants the organization decided to go forward with four project ideas:
- A translation editor for DTD resources
- New Visual Keyboard for Bengali
- Develop a system with multi-lingual capabilities in order to receive answers to user specific queries.
- Improve the accuracy of OCR tools for Bengali language to 98% 
The mid-term evaluations revealed the need for some course corrections but overall the projects have been very positive. The intensity of engagement of the students to learn and contribute has been really interesting to observe and participate in. We are looking forward to a strong finish for all of the projects. 
By Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay, Organization Administrator 
For 10 years, Cidadania Cooperative has been promoting and carrying participative democracy to every place that we could. Starting this summer we wanted to take that real life experience to the internet with the e-cidadania project. We are very excited to participate in the Google Summer of Code. We didn't expect to be participating this year since we don't have a proper community yet, but we are very glad that Google gave us this opportunity to push the platform forward. Since the start of the this year’s Google Summer of Code both Brazil and Macedonia have become interested in using the platform in their countries. 
The work from our four students has been great, their main job was to finish some important parts of the platform so the first public beta can be released. Their work included a rebuilt proposal system, creating a secure voting module, making a test framework for the platform and of course, some optimizations related with caching and queries. We are proud to say that we have achieved all that in what has been a short, but productive summer. 
By Oscar Carballal Prego, e-cidadania Organization Administrator 
The Concord Consortium is a non-profit R&D organization dedicated to transforming education through technology. Our deeply digital tools and learning activities capture the power of curiosity and create revolutionary new approaches to science, math and engineering education that bring out the inner scientist in everyone.
We were thrilled to have two Google Summer of Code students help us with a couple of sticky problems. 
* First, we're excited to be converting much of our Java-based software to HTML5 so it can run directly in modern Web browsers. In December, funded the conversion of our Molecular Workbench software. Now Google Summer of Code student Piotr Janik is extending a converted version of our original Energy2D software, which simulates all three aspects of thermodynamics: conductivity, convection, and radiation. Piotr is optimizing the computational fluid dynamics algorithms in a JavaScript implementation of this software, since JavaScript in modern browsers is now capable of running these kinds of computational physics simulations at reasonable speeds. He's also taking advantage of new WebGL browser capabilities and investigating how the algorithms in Energy2D can be effectively parallelized so the calculation and rendering power of computer graphics processors can speed the JavaScript versions of these simulations. 
* Second, we've created a number of portals allowing teachers and students to access hundreds of our free models, activities and student reports, but each requires a separate login. Thanks to Google Summer of Code student Vaibhav Ahlawat, we're developing a single sign-on authentication system for accessing all the portals, this will also make it easier to embed our materials in learning management systems.
Our goal with both projects is to make it easier for teachers and students to access our free resources and run them on whatever device they choose. 
By Cynthia McIntyre, The Concord Consortium Organization Administrator
These are just three of the 45 new organizations participating in their first Google Summer of Code. Stay tuned next Friday for our third edition of this series where we will spotlight more new organizations in the program.

By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs