Google Summer of Code 2016 wrap-up: NRNB

Monday, October 17, 2016

This post is part of our series of Google Summer of Code wrap-ups, guest posts from students, mentors and organization admins reflecting on Google Summer of Code 2016. Don't miss our first post and follow along for more wrap-up posts and announcements.

We were so excited to be a part of Google Summer of Code (GSoC) again after a year off, we pulled together over 50 project ideas and dozens of eager mentors to develop open source code for network biology research. Organized as the National Resource for Network Biology (NRNB), we selected 15 proposals that brought together well-matched students, mentors and project ideas.

All 15 students passed their midterm and final evaluations, resulting in a wide range of (mostly) production-ready code, covering algorithm, UI, importer and converter development for both web and desktop for Cytoscape, cytoscape.js, SBML, SBGN, cBioPortal, Cell Designer, GraphSpace and more.

We are proud of the technical accomplishments and productivity of our students, and we are also proud of the many important aspects of diversity our students represent in the GSoC program, including geographical, gender and academic. Here are some numbers and facts about our 15 students compared to overall GSoC 2016 student stats in parentheses:
  • 9 different countries, including 1 (of 2) from Croatia, 1 (of 3) from Armenia and 2 (of 12) from Turkey
  • 20% female (compared to 12% overall)
  • 67% Computer Science (compared to 78% overall), including PhD students in Biological Oceanography and Medical Biochemistry & Biotechnology, an MS student in Bioinformatics, and a pre-med undergraduate.

Here are some quotes and blogs from our students this year. If you are considering applying as student (or mentor) next year, here is some inspiration:

“I had the opportunity to learn and practice JavaScript with a very interesting project and having a mentor available was great for getting help when needed. The program seemed extremely well run and I would strongly recommend it to anyone interested.”

“Working in an NRNB [GSoC] training program helped to strengthen my resume and introduced me to the idea of combining a career in medicine with computer-based research.”

“I love the friendly atmosphere and the way the team works together. From the very beginning I [felt] well integrated in the group. It was pure fun to work together on the same project and to see how it [has] grown over the time. I [would] recommend everybody try the NRNB training program.”

Some of our student blogs:
  • Hovakim Grabski – "Java support for Deviser, a code generation system for SBML libraries"
  • Kaito Ii – "Interconvertible Layout software for CellDesigner" 
  • Roman Schulte – "Offline SBML validation in the Java-based JSBML library"
  • Mridul Seth – "Import graphs in multiple formats and Cytoscape files into GraphSpace"

By Alex Pico and Kristina Hanspers, Organization Administrators for NRNB