Posts from June 2013

Who is New in Google Summer of Code - Part 2

Friday, June 28, 2013

This is the 9th year of Google Summer of Code and we are excited to welcome over 40 new open source organizations into the Google Summer of Code community. Last Friday we started our summer series of weekly posts describing some of these open source organizations and the projects their students are working on this summer. We have three more organizations featured below.
Cesium is a JavaScript library for creating 3D globes and 2D maps in a web browser without a plugin. It uses WebGL for hardware-accelerated graphics, and is cross-platform, cross-browser, and tuned for dynamic-data visualization. Cesium is open source under the Apache 2.0 license.

We're thrilled to have two students working with us on Cesium this summer. André Nunes will be adding client-side support for the KML standard, allowing users to easily visualize the many geographic feature data sets which are widely available in KML files. Ravi Agrawal will be adding a Navigation Widget, providing on-screen camera controls to give users another way to interact with the globe in addition to our current click-and-drag mouse controls.

By Scott Hunter, Cesium Organization Administrator 
mlpack is a recent effort to provide a "swiss army knife" of fast implementations of machine learning methods, with a focus on tree-based algorithms. It has been shown to be faster than other similar toolkits in a recent paper. Some important issues we are focusing on are the breadth of the algorithms offered, the accessibility of mlpack methods from languages other than C++, and the automatic publication of accurate and relevant timing information for mlpack. 
Three projects were accepted for our inaugural year in Google Summer of Code and each of these addresses one of the three points listed above.
  • Addition of two new collaborative filtering methods to improve the breadth of the algorithms mlpack implements (QUIC-SVD and ALS-WR); this will be done by Mudit Raj Gupta.
  • The development of a system for the automatic generation of bindings for various languages with minimal maintenance requirements; this will be done by Nick Johnston.
  • The creation of a system for automatic benchmarking of mlpack methods and comparisons with other libraries, to be integrated into our Jenkins build server setup.  This project will be done by Marcus Edel.
We are grateful to have been accepted into Google Summer of Code 2013 and look forward to this wonderful opportunity to contribute open-source code into the machine learning world. 
By Ryan Curtin, mlpack Organization Administrator 
DUNE, the "Distributed and Unified Numerics Environment" is a modular toolbox for solving partial differential equations, like they arise when simulating weather, oil fields, biomechanics, air flow around your car, etc. DUNE was initiated in 2002 and has since evolved to a rather complete toolbox that provides slim templated C++ interfaces allowing efficient use of legacy and/or new libraries. 
We are very excited to have two students contributing to DUNE during Google Summer of Code 2013. Miha Čančula will work on a performance testing framework that will allow us to assess the impact on performance of recent changes. Xiaoxue Gong will help us to visualize surfaces, constructed by bisecting triangles, with Paraview. 
By Markus Blatt, DUNE Organization Administrator
These are only a few of the new organizations participating in Google Summer of Code this year. Stay tuned for more of the 40+ new organizations as they are highlighted next Friday. A complete list of the 177 organizations mentoring students this year and the program timeline are available on the Google Summer of Code program site.

By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs

Get coding faster thanks to little green buttons

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cross-posted from the Google Cloud Platform Blog

On the Google Cloud Platform team we're always looking for ways to make developers' lives easier, so you can focus on building interesting applications instead of worrying about managing infrastructure. We also want you to be as productive as possible when you're busy writing code. We provide an SDK which offers access to production APIs, in a way that's compatible with a local development environment.

But sometimes you just want to dip your toes in the water, and the prospect of setting up a local development environment seems daunting. What if you just want to try out some sample code? What if you want to see how the actual production APIs will behave? What if you could share a code snippet with a colleague and your entire environment came along for the ride? What if there was a playground where you could try out APIs, all from within your web browser? We asked ourselves these same questions and decided to try an experiment: we created a Cloud Playground, a place for you to quickly test production APIs you're interested in using. Note: the Cloud Playground is currently limited to Python 2.7 App Engine apps. To get you started, we added little green buttons to our getting started documentation, which take you straight to the Cloud Playground where you can edit and run the guestbook sample code as it appears in the documentation.
In addition, the main Cloud Playground page offers easy access to many more samples. There's even an option to clone other open source App Engine Python 2.7 template projects from Github.
How does it work? The Cloud Playground is itself an open source project and consists of two modules:
  • mimic is a regular Python App Engine app, which serves as a development server (similar to the App Engine SDK "dev_appserver"), but which runs in the production App Engine environment, providing you access to the production APIs and environment while still offering a quick and easy way to test out bits of code.
  • bliss is a trivial browser-based code editor which lets you edit code in the mimic virtual file system (backed by the App Engine datastore), providing you with a user interface so you can see what the mimic app can do for you.
We previously blogged about DevTable which also uses mimic to speed up refresh cycles for their App Engine developers.

We look forward to seeing what you're able to build.

By Fred Sauer, Developer Advocate

Who is New in Google Summer of Code - Part 1

Friday, June 21, 2013

This is the 9th year of Google Summer of Code and we are excited to welcome over 40 new open source organizations into the Google Summer of Code community. This summer we will run a series of posts every Friday describing these open source organizations and the projects their students are working on this summer.

Ruby has for some lacked the professional-quality scientific, numeric, and visualization
libraries of other languages in its class. The SciRuby community believes that the time for a Ruby science and visualization package has come. Our basic packages include statistical tools (statsample, distribution), numerical algorithms (minimization, integration), visualization tools (rubyvis), and matrices (NMatrix). We are funded in part by the Ruby Association, which manages the development of the Ruby language. 
One of our students is working to improve our statistics functionality, which we see as essential in achieving our organizational goals. A second student is writing a Ruby D3 library to replace rubyvis (which is based on protovis), so that our users can write portable, interactive visualization code quickly and easily -- and in Ruby, no less. Our third student is developing a semantic web gem, useful for informatics in nearly any field, which goes beyond what we consider to be basic tools and implements something that few languages have. 
We are pleased to have so many wonderful mentors and students this year, and thank the members of the BioRuby project for their incredible contributions. 
By John Woods, SciRuby Organization Administrator 
Public Lab is not your typical open source project -- we do combined open hardware and software, and have a focus on environmental issues. We were founded during the BP oil disaster and developed a technique for collecting aerial images of spill sites using cameras hung from balloons and kites. We developed MapKnitter, a web-based open source image stitcher which enables community members to flatten their aerial images manually over a reference map, and outputs GeoTiffs. The images from this system are published under open content licenses and are also represented in Google Earth and Maps, for whom we are a data provider. 
Open source has been a central principle of ours since the beginning, and we've tackled a range of new initiatives to create open source spectrometers, infrared cameras, and other tools, released under the CERN Open Hardware License.  
This year our students are tackling three exciting projects related to three distinct initiatives. Bharat Bhushan is developing a web-based tool for compositing infrared photosynthesis imagery as part of our Infragram project. Mohit Meena is working on an Android app to take aerial images from kites or balloons with some advanced new features, and Sreyanth Mora is developing a system to find closely matched spectra on our Spectral Workbench platform, which drives our open source spectrometry project.  
We're excited for our first year of Google Summer of Code!  
By Jeff Warren, Public Lab Organization Administrator 
 MuseScore is a leading free and open source music notation software for Windows, Mac and Linux. It is easy to use and makes beautiful sheet music. MuseScore is cross-platform, multi-lingual, open source and licensed under GPLv2. It features an easy to use WYSIWYG editor with audio score playback for results that look and sound beautiful. It supports unlimited staves with up to four voices each, dynamics, articulations, lyrics, chords, lead sheet notation, import/export of MIDI and MusicXML, export to PDF and WAV, plus online score sharing. 
We have two students working with us this summer.   
  • Improved MIDI import - Andrey Tokarev will work on more accurate, assisted MIDI importing in MuseScore.   
  • MuseScore in the browser - Kyle Messner will work on compiling the MuseScore core library with Emscripten to visualise and transpose scores in the browser. 
By Thomas Bonte, Co-founder & CEO MuseScore
These are only a few of the new organizations participating in Google Summer of Code in 2013. More of the 40+ new organizations will be highlighted next Friday, stay tuned. A complete list of the 177 organizations mentoring students this year and the program timeline are available on the Google Summer of Code program site.

By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs

You've Got CFF!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Seven weeks ago today, Google along with Adobe and the FreeType project, released a new CFF rasterizer into FreeType for beta testing. Well, it’s been put through its paces and is ready for release. In the latest version of FreeType, build 2.5, the new Adobe CFF rasterizer will now be on by default. This means that products using FreeType, such as Chrome OS, Android, and Linux, will have better looking CFF fonts.  The new CFF rasterizer in FreeType has already been made available in the dev channel build of Chrome OS.
FreeType Using the Old CFF Rasterizer with Light Auto Hint (most common setting)
FreeType Using the Adobe CFF Rasterizer (now the default CFF rasterizer)
The open source community has helped us find and fix several issues during this beta period and we are now ready for a stable release. The Adobe CFF rasterizer will continue to spread to new products. This work paves the way for FreeType-based platforms to provide users with richer and more beautiful reading experiences. This is only the start!

By Stuart Gill, Font and Text Team, Internationalization Engineering

Google Summer of Code coding starts today!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Today is the first day of coding for our 9th year of the Google Summer of Code program. This year 1,192 students will spend the next 12 weeks writing code for 177 different open source organizations.

We are excited to see the contributions this year’s students will make to the open source community.

For more information on important dates for the program please visit our timeline. Stay tuned as we will highlight some of the new mentoring organizations over the next few months.

Have a great summer!

By Carol Smith, Open Source Programs

Google Summer of Code 2013 Full of Stats: Part 1

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It’s time for our annual two part post where we share the breakdown of students accepted into this year’s Google Summer of Code program.

For our 9th year of Google Summer of Code, we decreased the number of applications that each student could submit to 5 (in previous years it was 20). We wanted to encourage students to focus on each application and to spend quality time talking to the organizations that they were interested in to find the best match for their skills and interests. While this did result in a lower total number of applications, the mentoring organizations reported that the overall quality of applications was better than in years past. We were very pleased to have 5,999 applications submitted by 4,151 students from 94 countries for Google Summer of Code 2013.

With so many great applications, the 177 mentoring organizations had a tough time deciding, but ultimately 1192 students from 70 countries were accepted into Google Summer of Code 2013.

The 10 countries with the largest number of accepted students are:

# of 2013 Accepted Students
United States
Sri Lanka
Russian Federation
United Kingdom

We are excited to have three students accepted from two African countries that have never been represented in Google Summer of Code before, Cameroon and Tunisia.

This year we set a record for the highest percentage of women accepted into the program: 9.5% compared to our previous high last year of 8.3%. Each year the percentage of women accepted in Google Summer of Code has continued to rise since 2006.

Students are currently in the middle of the community bonding period of the program where they become familiar with the projects, mentors, and community practices before they start coding on Monday, June 17th. Good luck everyone!

You can visit our program site and timeline for more information and look for part 2 of the “Google Summer of Code 2013 Full of Stats” post in the coming weeks detailing the universities represented in this year’s program.

By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs

Google Code-in Grand Prize Winners visit Google

Friday, June 7, 2013

In late April, the Google Open Source Programs Office hosted the 20 grand prize winners of the Google Code-in (GCI) 2012 contest. From November 2012 - January 2013, 334 students from 36 countries completed coding, documentation, user interface, quality assurance, research, outreach and training tasks for ten open source organizations. At the conclusion of the contest, the 10 open source organizations each chose two students as their grand prize winners based on the student’s comprehensive body of work.

The 20 grand prize winners received a five day trip for themselves and a parent to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. These students traveled from 12 countries (Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, China, India, Ireland, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, Uruguay and the midwestern and eastern USA) to enjoy some northern California hospitality.
Grand Prize Winners in front of Android statues at Google
Day 1: Meet and Greet Dinner Party
The first event of the trip, a meet and greet party at our hotel near Google’s campus, was designed to break the ice and get the students talking to one another and to shake off a bit of their jet lag. With two students from each of the organizations the students had already virtually ‘met’ at least one other student before they arrived in California. Students immediately started sitting around the tables and introducing themselves while enjoying a variety of appetizers. We handed out the first batch of swag items and enjoyed an ice cream cake before heading off to catch some sleep before a full day at the Googleplex.

Day 2: Googleplex
The morning started with a short introduction about the Google Code-in program (for the parents) and the distribution of some Google Code-in attire for the students. Students were excited to get started with the day to hear from a variety of Google engineers and to have the opportunity to ask them questions.

Next, Chris DiBona, Director of Open Source Programs at Google, talked about the history of open source at Google and how the GCI program started. Chris then led the award ceremony where he distributed plaques to the winners and posed for pictures with the students. We had two students who were Grand Prize Winners in previous Google Code-in programs who were back for their second trip to the Googleplex. Chris wrapped up by answering questions the group had about Google in general.

Students were then treated to an interactive tutorial by Jeremy Allison on how to design a file server. Justin Mattson gave a talk about life as an engineer at Google and what it is like working on the Android team. We then broke for lunch at the nearest Google cafe where Googlers from many of the student’s home countries sat with the students to chat with them over lunch.
Students in front of self-driving car

After lunch students were treated to a short video and a talk by Dmitri Dolgov about Google’s self-driving cars, complete with a trip to the parking lot where the group could see a self driving car in person, posing for some pretty cool pictures. 

Next up, Nathaniel Manista talked to the students about physical spaces that foster creativity and life as an engineer. Then Mark Diaz discussed Google life and working as a Field Tech at Google. Shawn Pearce wrapped up the afternoon with a chat about Git and Gerrit Code Review.

And next, one of the activities students had been waiting all day for — a tour of the Googleplex. The tour isn’t complete without a stop at the awesome Android statues depicting all of the Android releases, where the students and parents posed for a slew of pictures.
Grand Prize Winners and Parents at Google
After a walk in the fresh spring air around the main campus at Google, the students settled in for Grant Grundler’s talk about Chromium. Sudhakar Chandra chatted about the internationalization (i18n) efforts at Google, a perfect fit with this group speaking so many different languages.  

The final talks of the day were from Google Open Source Programs team members, Carol Smith and Mary Radomile. Carol talked about the Google Summer of Code program, our program for university students (18 years and older) where students spend an entire summer writing code for an open source project. The program is a natural next step for these students and, in fact, we have one Google Code-in Grand Prize winner who was recently accepted as a student for Google Summer of Code 2013. Mary Radomile wrapped up the talks at Google with answers to some general internship questions that students had been inquiring about.

Students went shopping at the onsite Google store then after a hearty dinner at Google everyone boarded the bus to San Francisco to get a good night’s sleep before a very full day 3.

Day 3: San Francisco Fun Day
Students in front of cable cars
The busiest day of our trip started off early with a third of the group boarding the ferry to Alcatraz for a self guided tour of the historic San Francisco prison and the other two thirds of the group heading off on segway tours of the Fisherman’s Wharf and North Beach neighborhoods of San Francisco.

After our morning adventures the group met up for a picnic lunch in Aquatic Park by Ghirardelli Square where we then boarded 2 motorized cable cars (we couldn’t all fit on one) for a tour of all of the highlights of San Francisco, including stops atop Nob Hill, Civic Center, and Twin Peaks. 
Students in front of Golden Gate Bridge

After a windy ride we stopped at the Golden Gate Bridge for everyone to tour the bridge on their own and take some classic San Francisco pictures.

The final activity of the day was a definite favorite, a dinner yacht cruise on the San Francisco Bay. Within the first 15 minutes of boarding the boat the students had pulled chairs and sofas together on the upper deck where they had their own ‘inner circle’ going on. The yacht traveled under the Golden Gate Bridge, around Alcatraz and we even saw a couple of dolphins playing near the boat. The cruise was a great opportunity for everyone to visit and hang out on the deck with amazing views of San Francisco.

Students on Yacht, final evening of trip

Day 4: Farewell brunch at Google San Francisco office
Our final morning allowed everyone to sleep in a little bit and then walk through the breakfast line at the Google San Francisco office. The smiles really got big when the students received their final gift, a Nexus 4 phone with the charging orb. Before leaving Google the students had time to say their goodbyes and to relax and visit with each other after three nonstop days. We practically had to kick the students out of the room because they were all having so much fun designing a file transfer protocol together that took up 4 entire whiteboards!

This was the largest group of Google Code-in winners that we have ever hosted. It was such a treat and privilege to chat with the students and to watch them engage with one another about ‘tricks of the engineering trade’ and make lasting friendships. For the majority of the students the Google Code-in contest was their first introduction to open source software development and now they are hooked!

Some fun quotes from the students:
“GCI (the contest itself) was easily the most rewarding experience I've ever had - coding for a FLOSS project, with mentors that were always there to help me was challenging and fun. And the best part was seeing the code I had actually written live on the official project repositories.  About the trip, it was amazing to be in the so-called "Silicon Valley", at the heart of one of the most important IT companies! The experience of visiting the Googleplex and attending speeches from experts will certainly last in my memory for my lifetime. I especially enjoyed "designing" a file transfer protocol with the other students on a whiteboard.”  --  Nicolás Satragno, Argentina 
"Most awesome birthday ever! One probably cannot imagine the feeling of celebrating a birthday at the other side of the globe, on a boat with Googlers, going beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, while speaking with 19 other cohorts about all kinds of top-tier computer-related stuff and them actually understanding it. It's amazing."  -- Vladimir Angelov, Bulgaria 
“Although it wasn't my first exposure to open-source development, it was the most rewarding open-source collaboration to date (not even considering the grand prize it resulted in). I met interesting and new people, and even learned an entirely new framework out of it (Qt). But then I had the grand prize trip. So far, it was the best four days of my life. I got to experience the headquarters of a company I've always loved and hope to work for one day. I met other kids like myself from all over the world. I listened to and spoke with brilliant and passionate engineers. So thank you for creating a program to get teens like me more involved with open-source development, and for creating such a fun and rewarding trip.”  -- Drew Gottlieb, USA
Congratulations to all 20 Grand Prize Winners and to all of the students who competed in the Google Code-in 2012 contest, we hope to continue to hear more great things from all of you in the years to come.

By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs