Summer of Code - Getting Started

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Since 2011 the GNU Octave project has successfully mentored:

in Summer of Code (SoC) programs by Google and ESA.

Those SoC programs aim to advertise open-source software development and to attract potential new Octave developers.

Steps toward a successful application[edit]

  1. ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ’ฌ We want to get to know you (before the deadline). Communicate with us.
    • Join Octave Discourse or IRC for general discussion and to ask questions (Please do not use the bug tracker for general GSOC inquiries unrelated to specific bugs found with Octave.) Using a nickname is fine.
    • Show us that you're motivated to work on Octave ๐Ÿ’ป. There is no need to present an overwhelming CV ๐Ÿ†; evidence of involvement with Octave is more important.
    • If you never talked to us, we will likely reject your proposal, even it looks good ๐Ÿšฎ
  2. ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ”ฌ Get your hands dirty.
    • We are curious about your programming skills ๐Ÿš€
    • Use Octave!
      • If you come across something that does not work the way you like โžก๏ธ try to fix that ๐Ÿ”ง
      • Or if you find a missing function โžก๏ธ try to implement it.
  3. ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ’ก Tell us what you are going to do.
    • Do not write just to say what project you're interested in. Be specific about what you are going to do, include links ๐Ÿ”—, show us you know what you are talking about ๐Ÿ’ก, and ask many smart questions ๐Ÿค“
    • Remember, we are volunteer developers and not your boss ๐Ÿ™‚
  4. ๐Ÿ“” Prepare your proposal with us.
    • Try to show us as early as possible a draft of your proposal ๐Ÿ“‘
    • If we see your proposal for the first time after the application deadline, it might easily contain some paragraphs not fully clear to us. Ongoing interaction will give us more confidence that you are capable of working on your project ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ‘
    • Then submit the proposal following the applicable rules, e.g. for GSoC. ๐Ÿ“จ

How do we judge your application?[edit]

Depending on the mentors and SoC program there are varieties, but typically the main factors considered would be:

  • You have demonstrated interest in Octave and an ability to make substantial modifications to Octave
    The most important thing is that you've contributed some interesting code samples to judge your skills. It's OK during the application period to ask for help on how to format these code samples, which normally are Mercurial patches.
  • You showed understanding of your topic
    Your proposal should make it clear that you're reasonably well versed in the subject area and won't need all summer just to read up on it.
  • Well thought out, adequately detailed, realistic project plan
    "I'm good at this, so trust me" isn't enough. In your proposal, you should describe which algorithms you'll use and how you'll integrate with existing Octave code. You should also prepare a project timeline and goals for the midterm and final evaluations.

What you should know about Octave[edit]

GNU Octave is mostly written in C++ and its own scripting language that is mostly compatible with Matlab. There are bits and pieces of Fortran, Perl, C, awk, and Unix shell scripts here and there. In addition to being familiar with C++ and Octave's scripting language, you as successful applicant will be familiar with or able to quickly learn about Octave's infrastructure. You can't spend the whole summer learning how to build Octave or prepare a changeset and still successfully complete your project ๐Ÿ˜‡

You should know:

  1. How to build Octave from its source code using the GNU build system.
  2. How to submit patches (changesets).

Suggested projects[edit]

The following suggested projects are distilled from the Projects page for the benefit of potential SoC participants. You can also look at our completed past projects, or the current | Octave Development Roadmap for more inspiration.

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Do you use Octave at your working place or university? Do you have some numerical project in mind? You are always welcome to propose your own projects. If you are passionate about your project, it will be easy to find an Octave developer to mentor and guide you. Please note that for such a proposal to be successful it will almost certainly involve initiating pre-proposal discussion over at the Octave Discourse forum.

Adding more Classification classes and implementing missing methods in statistics package[edit]

Although a ClassificationKNN class was added in the latest statistics release (1.6.1), it still lacks several methods (only `predict` is available at the moment). This GSoC project aims at implementing more methods, such as crossval, cvloss, lime, loss, margin, partialDependence, plotPartialDependence, etc., as well as adding more classdefs related to classification classes, such as ClassificationGAM, ClassificationDiscriminant, ClassificationSVM, ClassificationNeuralNetwork, ClassificationNaiveBayes, etc. The statistics package, although heavily developed during the past years, still lacks a lot of classdef functionality. The scope is to implement classification classdef objects and their relevant methods in a MATLAB-compatible way.

  • Project size [?] and Difficulty
~350 hours (hard)
  • Required skills
Octave, classdef, good knowledge of statistical methods
  • Potential mentors
Andreas Bertsatos

Custom re-implementation of the texi2html (v.1.82) command line tool[edit]

Implement a compiled .oct function to relax the dependency of the pkg-octave-doc package on texi2html (v.1.82) command line tool, which is no longer maintained or further developed but also not readily available to all linux distributions. The idea is to have a `texi2html` function within the pkg-octave-doc package that will replace the functionality of the texi2html (v.1.82) command line tool. This will also help improve the speed of pkg-octave-doc processing large packages, which contain specific tags (such as @math) which are currently handled within Octave code.

  • Project size [?] and Difficulty
~350 hours (hard)
  • Required skills
Perl, C++, Octave, Texinfo, HTML
  • Potential mentors
Andreas Bertsatos

Port Chebfun to Octave and improve classdef support[edit]

Chebfun uses interpolation to approximate functions to very high accuracy, giving numerical computing that feels like symbolic computing. The software is implemented as collection of "classdef" classes and is Free and Open Source Software. However, Chebfun does not yet work with Octave, largely due to differences and issues with Octave's classdef implementation. This project has two aims: (1) make changes to the Chebfun code to make it work on Octave and (2) improve Octave's classdef functionality. Some initial steps toward to first goal can be found on this octave_dev branch. The second goal will likely involve a collaborative effort because classdef is a priority on | Octave's Development Roadmap and because other proposed projects also involve classdef.

  • Project size [?] and Difficulty
~350 hours (hard)
  • Required skills
Octave, object-oriented programming, polynomial interpolation and approximation theory, C++.
  • Potential mentors
Colin B. Macdonald

Project sizes[edit]

As of 2024, possible project sizes are 90 (small), 175 (medium), or 350 hours (large) [1].


See also[edit]