Posts from December 2012

Google Code-in 2012 - Halfway Home

Friday, December 21, 2012

We are at the halfway point of the Google Code-in 2012 contest and we wanted to share some exciting stats with you. The contest is designed to introduce 13-17 year old pre-university students to the world of open source software development. During the first few weeks we have had 297 students complete at least one task in the contest. For many students this is their first introduction to the open source community.

Along with striving for certificates and t-shirts, many students are working toward the grand prize trip to Google’s Mountain View, California Campus for 20 hard working contestants next spring.

Google Code-in 2012 by the numbers

Registered Students 
  • Currently over 1900 students from 81 countries have registered for the contest. 
  • There are two new countries to add to the list this year- United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe
  • The countries with the most registered students are (in order): 
United States    877
India                 208
Canada               92
Bulgaria              81
United Kingdom 72
Romania              68
Australia              35
Poland                 29
South Korea        29
Spain                   29

Students who have already completed tasks
  • We are excited to announce we have students completing tasks for the first time from the following countries: China, Kenya (6 students so far), Kuwait, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay
  • For the following countries the student participation in 2012 has already at least doubled from earlier years: Argentina, Australia, Ireland, Singapore, and South Korea. 
Students still have plenty of time to participate in the contest. The last day to register as a student and claim a task is January 13, 2012 and all work must be submitted by January 14, 2012 at 17:00 UTC

Students can join the Google Code-in discussion list to ask questions of other students and program administrators.  We have a short screencast that describes the details of the contest and you can check out the Frequently Asked Questions and Contest Rules on the program site for more details.

Good luck and have fun!

By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs

CERN Summer Thrills

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

For the physics software development group at CERN, our second year of Google Summer of Code couldn’t have come at a better time. Motivated by CernVM's awesome experience in 2011, our colleagues from the Geant4 and ROOT software projects joined us as mentors this summer. And while physicists around the world snatched the first evidence of a long-sought Higgs boson from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), our seven Google Summer of Code students worked on core parts of the open source software engine that makes LHC data processing possible.

Two of our students worked with the Geant4 team at CERN. Geant4 is a toolkit for the simulation of the response of a material when high-energetic particles are passing through it. Geant4 can be used to model a gas detector, a gamma-ray telescope, an electronic device next to an accelerator or the inside of a satellite. In order to keep up with the rate of real data coming from the LHC detectors, Geant4 has to be both accurate and fast.

  • Stathis Kamperis improved the speed of Geant4 by re-ordering the simulation of particles according to particle type. By simulating, for instance, first all electrons, than all photons, and so on, the number of instruction cache misses decreases. In the course of this work, Stathis also ported Geant4 to Solaris which gives us access to the very powerful DTrace profiling machinery.
  • Dhruva Tirumala Bukkapatnam contemplated Geant4 pointers and data structures. He developed code for a particle navigation algorithm optimized for use on GPU architectures.

Two more students were working together with the ROOT team. The ROOT framework is the main working horse for LHC experiments to store, analyze, and visualize their data.

  • Omar Zapata Mesa worked on an MPI interface for ROOT. On a cluster of machines, the MPI interface enables ROOT to toss around its C++ objects from node to node while also integrating with ROOT's C++ interpreter.
  • Eamon Ford worked on the CERN iOS App.The App brings CERN news and information on an iPad or iPhone. In case you can’t sleep at night, you can now peek at the live display of particle collisions from inside the LHC.
For the CernVM base technology, we had three more students working with us this summer. CernVM provides a virtual appliance used to develop and run LHC data processing applications on the distributed and heterogeneous computing infrastructure that is provided by hundreds of physics institutes and research labs around the world.

  • Josip Lisec, back for his second Google Summer of Code, worked on the log analysis and visualization of CernVM Co-Pilot, the job distribution system which powers the LHC@home Test4Theory volunteer computing project. Want to see the world map of active volunteers from the 19th of November at 3:07pm?  Check out the Co-Pilot dashboard.
  • Francesco Ruvolo worked on broken network services, such as misconfigured DNS or HTTP servers. Breaking such services in a controlled way comes in handy when simulating the behavior of a CernVM running on a hotel WiFi.
  • Rachee Singh programmed maintenance tools for the content distribution network that is used by the CernVM File System to distribute terabytes of experiment software to all the worker nodes. All the proxy servers of the content distribution network can now be plotted on a map and every CernVM can automatically find a close proxy by means of a Voronoi diagram produced by Rachee's code.

Overall, we were very glad to see so much interest and enthusiasm from the student programmers in LHC software tools. We'd like to congratulate all of our students on their hard work and on successfully completing the program!

By Jacob Blomer, CERN Organization Administrator

2's Company, 3+ is a Crowd

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Crowdsourcing Biology team at the Scripps Research Institute participated in the Google Summer of Code for the first time this year.  Five students contributed to efforts to harness the power of community intelligence to advance biomedical science.

Maximilian Ludvigsson took the first steps in the creation of Semantic BioGPS.  BioGPS is a user-extensible Web portal that provides easy access to information about genes from hundreds of different websites.  Maxmilian produced a tool that allows BioGPS users to annotate regions of gene-centric Web pages to state, computationally, what different areas of the page ‘mean’.  These semantic annotations enable scripts to extract structured content about genes from these Web pages, paving the way for a new version of BioGPS that provides integrated views across multiple data sources.

Karthik G developed an interactive network visualization for the data linking genes to diseases in the GeneWiki+.  The GeneWiki+ is a Semantic Media Wiki (SMW) installation that dynamically integrates data about human genes from Wikipedia and from SNPedia.  While SMW queries provide a great way for programmers and advanced wiki users to interact with data, the graphical network that Karthik created gives ordinary biologists a new, intuitive, and sometimes beautiful way to explore connections between genes and disease.

Clarence Leung began the development of a new version of the crowdsourcing game Dizeez.  In this new two-player game, players are challenged to get their partner to guess a particular disease by prompting them with related genes.  This game follows in the tradition of ‘games with a purpose’ such as Foldit and the ESP game by producing novel, validated gene-disease associations as a result of game play.

Shivansh Srivastava worked on migrating BioGPS’s gene report layout windowing system from ExtJS to both a jQuery windowing environment and a Yahoo User Interface-based approach.  This view in BioGPS provides biologists with a customizable environment for accessing gene-centric data from a diverse collection of sources.  Shivansh’s efforts provided BioGPS developers with insight into the technical limitations of each solution, as compared to the current BioGPS ExtJS codebase.

Kevin Wu developed a scalable and efficient system for storing and analyzing biologically meaningful sets of genes.  Accessible via a RESTful HTTP interface, the system uses MongoDB for storage and custom code for distributed computing that executes statistical comparisons across thousands of gene sets in parallel.  For any particular gene set, Kevin’s code makes it possible to rapidly identify similar gene sets and to calculate the ‘enrichment’ (a statistical measure of overlap) of that gene set with respect to any other.  This work will soon be integrated into BioGPS to allow users to save their own gene sets and to query for similar gene sets from others.

Thanks to all of our excellent students for their great contributions and to Google for sponsoring this unique program.  We are looking forward to participating in future editions of Google Summer of Code for many years to come!

By Benjamin Good and the Crowdsourcing Biology Google Summer of Code mentors

Eclipse Day at the Googleplex 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Here at Google, we use Eclipse every day to build our external and internal products, as well as building and releasing Eclipse tools. We are delighted to announce that we will be hosting Eclipse Day at Googleplex on December 12th, 2012. Hosting this event is one way to say “thank you” and contribute back to the developer community.

Eclipse Day is a great opportunity for both Eclipse users and contributors to network and share ideas. This year we have sessions that cover Orion, the Eclipse M2M tools, BIRT, Gerrit, CDT, Dart, WindowBuilder, performance tuning in Eclipse, and the future of ALM. During the one day conference, Eclipse projects and Eclipse-based products created here at Google will also be highlighted.

In previous years some of the most popular sessions have been our Eclipse Ignite talks: 5-minute, 20-slide presentations by attendees sharing what they are doing with Eclipse.

A big thank you to Ian Skerrett and everyone at the Eclipse Foundation for assembling this great event. We are happy to welcome the Eclipse community to our campus and are always looking for ways to make this conference better. Please share your ideas and let us know your thoughts about this year’s program.

Pre-registration, which includes a $40 contribution to the Eclipse Foundation, is required for attendance. You may pre-register until December 11, 2012, 2pm PST.

By Alex Ruiz, Google Engineering Tools