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Posts from June 2020

Expanding our Differential Privacy Library

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

All developers have a responsibility to treat data with care and respect. Differential privacy helps organizations derive insights from data while simultaneously ensuring that those results do not allow any individual's data to be distinguished or re-identified. This principled approach supports data computation and analysis across many of Google’s core products and features.

Last summer, Google open sourced our foundational differential privacy library so developers and organizations around the world can benefit from this technology. Today, we’re announcing the addition of Go and Java to our library, an end-to-end solution for differential privacy: Privacy on Beam, and new tools to help developers implement this technology effectively.

We’ve listened to feedback from our developer community and, as of today, developers can now perform differentially private analysis in Java and Go. We’re working to bring these two libraries to full feature parity with C++.

We want all developers to have access to differential privacy, regardless of their level of expertise. Our new Privacy on Beam framework captures years of Googler developer experience and efficiency improvements in a comprehensive and easy-to-use solution that handles computation end-to-end. Built on Apache Beam, Privacy on Beam can reduce implementation mistakes, and take care of all the steps that are essential to differential privacy, including noise addition, partition selection, and contribution bounding. If you’re new to Apache Beam or differential privacy, our codelab can get you started.

Tracking privacy budgets is another challenge developers face when implementing differential privacy. So, we’re also releasing a new Privacy Loss Distribution tool for tracking privacy budgets. With this tool, developers can maintain an accurate estimate of the total cost to user privacy for collections of differentially private queries, and better evaluate the overall impact of their pipelines. Privacy Loss Distribution supports widely used mechanisms (such as Laplace, Gaussian, and Randomized response) and can scale to hundreds of compositions.

We hope these new languages, tools, and features unlock differential privacy for even more developers. Continue to share your stories and suggestions with us at dp-open-source@google.com—your feedback will help inform our future differential privacy launches and updates.

Acknowledgements

Software Engineers: Yurii Sushko, Daniel Simmons-Marengo, Christoph Dibak, Damien Desfontaines, Maria Telyatnikova
Research Scientists: Pasin Manurangsi, Ravi Kumar, Sergei Vassilvitskii, Alex Kulesza, Jenny Gillenwater, Kareem Amin


By: Miguel Guevara, Mirac Vuslat Basaran, Sasha Kulankhina, and Badih Ghazi – Google Privacy Team and Google Research

Welcoming 1,000+ Interns to Open Source at Google

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

One of the core tenets of open source is about finding ways for people to build great things by working together, regardless of location. This summer, through our intern program we’re gathering incredible talent from schools around the world, Googlers with a passion for open source, and project maintainers both inside and outside of Google to see what we can build together. 

Onboarding that many interns and turning them into new open source contributors was no easy task. So in partnership with the Intern Programs team and engineering teams across Google, we’ve grounded our planning by answering four key questions. 

How can we make our internship program a force for good in the open source ecosystem?

We knew that having more than a thousand interns contribute to open source projects could have a huge impact, however, many projects aren’t set up to onboard dozens of new contributors at one time and many maintainers can’t take on hundreds of new pull requests. Early on, we established best practices for intern placement and support. We committed to:
  • Aligning interns’ work with project priorities to advance the project while also allowing the interns to learn and grow their skills.
  • Proactively communicating with project maintainers and contributors, keeping them in the loop on timelines and logistics.
  • Looking beyond Google. While we prioritized projects that have full-time Google engineerings support. That includes Google-owned projects like Go, TensorFlow, and Chromium, as well as Google-created projects we invest heavily in, such as Kubernetes, Apache Beam, and Tekton. But Google also has full-time engineers working on outside projects we rely on, so our interns will also be working on projects like Envoy, Rust, and Apache Maven.

How can we introduce the interns to open source at Google?

We are determined to support and empower the interns as they become lifelong contributors to open source. Every Noogler in engineering learns about using and contributing to open source in a training run by our Open Source Programs Office. With an unprecedented number of interns working on open source projects, we are also providing additional resources; from offering a platform for questions, office hours, enrichment talks, and partnerships with external open source organizations.

How can we learn from our interns about the experience of contributing to open source at Google and beyond?

We see a huge opportunity to listen to our interns this summer. By meeting with interns and hosts—as well as surveying the entire class of interns at the end of the summer—we can look for ways to improve open source at Google and the contributor experience for projects they’re working on. We’re excited to learn from the internship program and from interns’ perspectives working in and contributing to open source.

How can we have an impact on these students that carries on throughout their careers?

One of my favorite questions to ask Googlers who are active in open source is how they were first introduced to open source. There’s a well-trodden path of a developer fixing an annoying bug, then a few more bugs, then adding small features, becoming a core contributor, and eventually a project maintainer. That process requires persistence and patience, and projects lose a lot of great developers along the way.

But... What if your first experience with open source is being welcomed into a large and thriving community of contributors? What if you get to contribute to open source full time, mentored by creators and maintainers of the project you’re working on, collaborating across organizations and across time zones? Our hope is that this kind of experience will leave a lasting impression on this summer’s interns and that they’ll continue to contribute to open source for a long time to come.

By Jen Phillips, Google Open Source

COVID-19: How Google is helping the open source community

Monday, June 22, 2020

COVID-19 has affected so much of the world around us, and open source is no exception. Project resilience is being challenged by COVID-19. Community members have even less time to contribute. Event cancellations are impacting networking, collaboration, and fundraising.


Google wants to do everything it can to help. This means that it’s even more important for the Google Open Source Programs Office to step up our commitment to citizenship. We’re taking several steps to support industry organizations and the projects that we participate in to help them operate during this time.

Virtual Events Support

  • Participating in talks internally and externally to Google to share knowledge and insight into open source projects and practices with the wider open source communities.
  • To support the shift from an offline to online events model, we created an online guide to share resources and event planning knowledge: Open Source Virtual Events Guide.

Talent

  • COVIDActNow is a multidisciplinary team working to provide disease intelligence and data analysis on COVID in the U.S. Google contributed to this project by improving their data pipeline allowing for county level data visualization, providing more localized insight for crisis planning.
  • Nextstrain is a platform for real-time tracking of pathogen evolution. Google contributed engineering, design, and translation resources to help scientists conduct research into real-time tracking of pathogen evolution.
  • Schema.org - Google led Schema.org rapid response designs for structured data markup to contribute to the COVID-19 global response, leading to the UK making similar announcements.
  • Google’s annual internship program was converted to a digital program where interns will focus on open source projects, allowing projects to gain new contributors in a non-traditional environment.
  • Google Summer of Code brings over 1100 university students from around the world together with open source communities, many of which are working on various humanitarian efforts related to COVID-19. The program is completely online so students can work with their mentors remotely, allowing all organizations to continue receiving the support they need.
The impact from COVID-19 will have long-term effects on many organizations and projects that may not be immediately apparent. In the coming months, we will monitor the needs of projects and organizations across open source. We understand the value of open source not just to the tech world, but the impact it has on bringing communities together; Google has a long standing history in open source and we will continue supporting our community to stay strong during and after the passing of COVID-19.

We encourage folks who have the time and ability to support open source communities to do so by getting involved and reaching out directly to organizations that interest you. This is a time for all of us to come together and lift up each other and open source.

By Megan Byrd-Sanicki and Radha Jhatakia, Google Open Source

Tsunami: An extensible network scanning engine for detecting high severity vulnerabilities with high confidence

Thursday, June 18, 2020

We have released the Tsunami security scanning engine to the open source communities. We hope that the engine can help other organizations protect their users’ data. We also hope to foster collaboration, and encourage the security community to create and share new detectors on top of Tsunami.

When an attacker begins to exploit security vulnerabilities or security misconfigurations, such as weak passwords, an organization needs to react quickly in order to protect potentially vulnerable assets. With attackers increasingly investing in automation, the time window to react to a newly released, high severity vulnerability is usually measured in hours. This poses a significant challenge for large organizations with thousands or even millions of internet-connected systems. In such hyperscale environments, security vulnerabilities must be detected and, ideally, remediated in a fully automated fashion. To make this possible, information security teams need to be able to roll out detectors for novel security issues at scale in a very short amount of time. Furthermore, it is important that the detection quality is consistently very high. To handle these challenges, we created Tsunami: an extensible network scanning engine for detecting high severity vulnerabilities with high confidence.

Google leverages Google's Kubernetes Engine (GKE) to continuously scan and protect all of our externally facing systems with the Tsunami scanning engine. When scanning a system, Tsunami executes a two-step process:
  1. Reconnaissance: In the first step, Tsunami detects open ports; then subsequently identifies protocols, services, and other software running on the target host using a set of fingerprinting plugins. To avoid reinventing the wheel, Tsunami leverages existing tools such as nmap for some of these tasks.
  2. Vulnerability verification: Based on the information gathered through reconnaissance, Tsunami selects all vulnerability verification plugins matching the identified services. To confirm that a vulnerability indeed exists Tsunami executes a fully working, benign exploit.
In its initial version, Tsunami ships with detectors for the following security issues:
  • Exposed sensitive UIs: Applications such as Jenkins, Jupyter, and Hadoop Yarn ship with UIs that allow a user to schedule workloads or to execute system commands. If these systems are exposed to the internet without authentication, attackers can leverage the functionality of the application to execute malicious commands.
  • Weak credentials: Tsunami uses other open source tools such as ncrack to detect weak passwords used by protocols and tools including SSH, FTP, RDP, and MySQL.
In the coming months, we plan to release many more detectors for vulnerabilities similar to remote code execution (RCE). Furthermore, we are working on several other new features that will make the engine more powerful and easier to use and extend.

In order to make contributions easy, we split our codebase into two Github Repositories:
  1. A repository for the main scanning engine
  2. A repository for Tsunami scanning plugins
If you have any questions or if you would like to contribute, don't hesitate to reach out to us.

By Guoli Ma, Claudio Criscione & Sebastian Lekies, Vulnerability Management Team

Three opportunities to connect with Google Open Source in June

Monday, June 15, 2020

One of our biggest challenges this year has been finding opportunities to stay connected with the many open source communities that we collaborate with across projects. As we continue to develop new ways of creating convenings with our different stakeholders, here are three opportunities to connect with Google Open Source later this month.

24 hours of Google Cloud Talks by DevRel

When: June 23, 2020
What: This is a free, digital series, organized by Google Developer Relations team, offering practitioners an opportunity to connect with our technical experts and deepen their awareness and knowledge of a variety of Google Cloud solutions including ML/AI, Serverless, DevOps, and many more.

Talks by Google Open Source:

June 23

OpenJS World

When: June 23-24, 2020
What: Organized by The Linux Foundation, and sponsored by Google, this annual event brings together the JavaScript and web ecosystem including Node.js, Electron, AMP and more. In 2020, we’re going virtual to learn and engage with leaders deploying innovative applications at massive scale.

Talks by Google Open Source:

June 23
June 24

Open Source Summit North America

When: June 29 – July 2, 2020
What: Organized by The Linux Foundation, and sponsored by Google, this event connects the open source ecosystem under one roof, summoning over 2,000 participants across 15 conference rooms. It’s a unique environment for cross-collaboration between developers, sysadmins, devops, architects, program and product managers and others who are driving technology forward.

Talks by Google Open Source:

June 29
June 30
If you attend any of these talks, and plan to share, you can tag @GoogleOSS on Twitter. We hope to see and connect with many of you at these virtual events!

By María Cruz, Google Open Source

Google Summer of Code 2020 Statistics: Part 1

Friday, June 12, 2020

Since 2005, Google Summer of Code (GSoC) has been bringing new developers into the open source community every year. This year, we accepted 1,199 from 66 countries into the 2020 GSoC program to work with 199 open source organizations over the summer. Students began coding June 1st and will spend the next 12 weeks working closely under the guidance from mentors from their open source communities.

Each year we like to share program statistics about the GSoC program and the accepted students and mentors involved in the program. 6,626 students from 121 countries submitted 8,903 applications for this year’s program.

Accepted Students

  • 86.6% are participating in their first GSoC
  • 71.7% are first time applicants to GSoC

Degrees

  • 77.4% are undergraduates, 16.8% are masters students, and 5.8% are in PhD programs
  • 72.5% are Computer Science majors, 3.6% are Mathematics majors, 23.9% are other majors including many from engineering fields like Electrical, Mechanical, Aerospace, etc.
  • Students are studying in a variety of fields including Atmospheric Science, Finance, Neuroscience, Economics, Biophysics, Linguistics, Geology, Pharmacy and Real estate.

Proposals

There were a record number of students submitting proposals for the program this year:
  • 6,626 students (18.2% increase from last year)
  • 121 countries
  • 8,902 proposals submitted

Registrations

We had a record breaking 51,244 students from 178 countries(!) register for the program this year—that’s a 65% increase in registrations from last year’s record numbers!

In our next GSoC statistics post, we will do a deeper dive into the schools and mentors for the 2020 program.

By Stephanie Taylor, Google Open Source

Season of Docs now accepting technical writer applications

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The technical writer applications for Season of Docs are now open.

Technical writers can submit project proposals based on the project ideas of participating organizations, or propose their own ideas. Refer to the guidelines on the website for how to create a technical writer application. The technical writer application form is located here.

The deadline for technical writer applications is July 9, 2020 at 18:00 UTC.

What is Season of Docs?

Documentation is essential to the adoption of open source projects as well as to the success of their communities. Season of Docs brings together technical writers and open source projects to foster collaboration and improve documentation in the open source space. You can find out more about the program on the introduction page of the website.

During the program, technical writers spend a few months working closely with an open source community. They bring their technical writing expertise to the project's documentation and, at the same time, learn about the open source project and new technologies.

Mentors from open source projects work with the technical writers to improve the project's documentation and processes. Together, they may choose to build a new documentation set, redesign the existing docs, or improve and document the project's contribution procedures and onboarding experience.

How do I take part in Season of Docs as a technical writer?

First, take a look at the technical writer guide on the website, which includes information on eligibility and the application process.

Explore the list of participating organizations and their project ideas. When you find one or more projects that interest you, you should approach the relevant open source organization directly to discuss project ideas.

Then, read the information on creating a technical writing application and submit it via this form. The deadline for technical writer applications is July 9, 2020 at 18:00 UTC.

Is there a stipend for participating technical writers?

Yes. There is an optional stipend available to the accepted technical writers. The stipend amount is calculated based on the technical writer's home location. See the technical writer stipends page for more information.

What kind of mentor will I be working with?

Season of Docs mentors are not necessarily technical writers, and they may have little experience in technical communication. They're members of an open source organization who know the value of good documentation and who are experienced in open source processes and tools.

The relationship between you and your mentors is a collaboration. You bring documentation experience and skills to the open source organization. Your mentors contribute their knowledge of open source and code. Together, you can develop technical documentation and improve the open source project's processes.

What if I have a full time job and don't have many hours per week to devote to Season of Docs?

In the technical writer application, there is an option to apply for a long-running project, which allows technical writers to complete their project in five months instead of the standard three months. This must be agreed upon with the open source organization before work begins.

If you have any questions about the program, please email us at season-of-docs-support@googlegroups.com.

General timeline

June 9 – July 9Technical writers submit their proposals to Season of Docs
August 16Google announces the accepted technical writer projects
August 17 – September 13Community bonding: Technical writers get to know mentors and the open source community, and refine their projects in collaboration with their mentors
September 14 – December 5Technical writers work with open source mentors on the accepted projects, and submit their work at the end of the period
January 6, 2021Google publishes the list of successfully-completed projects
See the full timeline for details, including the provision for projects that run longer than three months.

Join us

Explore the Season of Docs website at g.co/seasonofdocs to learn more about participating in the program. Use our logo and other promotional resources to spread the word. Examine the timeline, check out the FAQ, and apply now!

By Kassandra Dhillon and Erin McKean, Google Open Source
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