Google Summer of Code 2013

I am excited to announce that I have been accepted into a program that I have long been interested in: Google Summer of Code (GSoc). GSoC is a program where Google will provide money to student developers in order to contribute to open-source software. Many popular open-source projects are sponsored by the project, and each successful student is paired up with a (few) mentor(s). The student then works for the summer contributing code and advancing the project, and receives a cheque at the end of the summer (and a t-shirt).

Whether it’s because Google’s name is in the title, or because many people want to contribute to open-source software and get paid, or because big-name open-source projects participate, the project is very popular. In order to be accepted, students must submit an application to the (Google approved) open-source project of their choice. The application usually requires an outline of its goals or usefulness, a timeline, and expected deliverables. I suppose really good applications would go above-and-beyond this, and I would like to think, that to some extent, mine did as well (after all, it was accepted), but I’m not sure what I wrote which may not fall into one of these categories. That being said, my application was to NASA’s Java Pathfinder project, a Java-based model checker that is now being used to check Android software, but also includes a significant amount of work with the PRISM model checker. The idea is to leverage the strengths of both model checkers in order to verify probabilistic programs (e.g., programs that exhibit randomness).

I’m not quite sure I’m comfortable talking about the project in greater detail yet, mostly because I’m not sure how many of those details I’m sure of at this moment. That being said, I am really excited about the project, and I have been spending my days getting familiar with the various code structures that I’ll be working with, in addition to reading papers that are related to the work, or that aren’t but still look interesting. I have also started a blog that I’m going to post project-specific updates to daily, mostly to track my projects, but also to explain ideas to an imaginary crowd in order to make sure that I understand them. Feel free to check it out, but if you’re less concerned with the details, wait until the end of the summer, when I will post a summary of the project on this blog. Regardless, I hope the project goes well and relates back to my more academic goals (as opposed to my “develop software” goals, if I really have any). In particular, I would love to get a research paper out of the work, rather than simply contributing code. Assuming things go well, I am hard pressed as to come up with reasons why this would not be the case; certainly model checking is a very active area of research, and one that I am not entirely new to (not that I want to imply I’ve had any real results in proper model checking). I’m hoping there will be be something to publish somewhere, as that would be really great.

Leave a Reply