GSoC 2016 application

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Octave's application for GSoC 2016.

Why does your org want to participate in Google Summer of Code?

We hope to establish collaborations with talented new contributors. We also want to raise awareness of Octave in the free software community.

Google Summer of Code represents a unique opportunity to bring new perspectives to the Octave community. As a somewhat older project, we benefit from having new and younger contributors among our developers. We have been able to retain several GSoC participants as contributors to the Octave project and we hope to improve in the future by engaging more effectively with students during both the application and mentoring processes, setting clear standards for what is required for acceptance, and maintaining those standards throughout the project.

How many potential mentors have agreed to mentor this year?


We have about 10 contributors who are potential mentors. They have participated in previous SoC projects, either as students or mentors, and are all active participants in the Octave community. All have previously contributed code, have commit access to either the Octave or Octave Forge source tree, and are active in the mailing lists. Many also keep a constant presence in the IRC channel.

How will you keep mentors engaged with their students?

We will select mentors with proven involvement in Octave and free software and align project topics with the priorities of the core developer team. The vast majority of our mentors have been involved in Octave development for several years, and new mentors will be paired with more experienced ones.

Each project will include at least one core Octave developer as mentor. These are proven, veteran members of the project, active in its development, and familiar with the code base. GNU Octave is a project with applications in very diverse domains so each project should also include a mentor with expertise in the relevant field.

How will you help your students stay on schedule to complete their projects?

Previous contributions to Octave by the student will be a condition for acceptance. In this way, we hope to select students who are familiar with the Octave codebase and able to start with their project quickly.

A tentative project timeline is required as part of the application, and is checked by mentors for realism as part of the applicant evaluation process. Once a student is selected, the mentor will work with them to come up with a more detailed summer timeline, including clear expectations for progress by the midterm and final evaluation periods.

During the summer, mentors will check in with students at least weekly to make sure they are staying on schedule and help with any obstacles that might arise. Students are also expected to regularly update their mentors and the Octave maintainers community on their progress via e-mails and blog posts.

Overall, about 80% of previous SoC students have finished successfully, making substantive contributions to Octave that have been integrated into our code base.

How will you get your students involved in your community during GSoC?

Students will be urged to participate on our IRC channel and mailing list. We will set clear expectations on the minimum frequency of email progress updates, typically every two to three days. Students will also set up a blog for longer, weekly, updates which is aggregated at

Everything should be completely open. Almost all interactions with the student should be public, e.g. contacting the mentor should happen in the public IRC channel or copy the maintainers mailing list.

Finally, we organize a developers' summit, OctConf, during the summer and have in previous years provided support for GSoC students to attend and present. This strengthens relationships between community members and the new students.

How will you keep students involved with your community after GSoC?

We will typically merge their code into our codebase during or soon after the summer. GNU Octave is a project with many tester-users who give constant feedback on new features and report bugs. As participants in the mailing lists and bug tracker, students get the feeling of doing something that is useful to the community from the very start.

Many of our GSoC students use Octave during the academic year or in their professional careers. As such, they are prone to stay involved with its development, even if at a lower level than during the summer.

Several previous SoC students have continued with regular contributions to GNU Octave, and most remain available to help us with any problems related to the code they wrote for the project.

Has your org been accepted as a mentoring org in Google Summer of Code before?

Yes. We have a nice trajectory mentoring projects since 2011 (both as an independent organization and as part of GNU). This page lists the successful projects that have been executed under our mentoring.

Are you part of a foundation/umbrella organization?

Yes, we are affiliated with GNU.

What year was your project started?


Organization ID


Organization name

GNU Octave

Tagline (80 characters)

Free Your Numbers

Technology Tags (the primary specific technologies your organization uses)

C++, hg

Topic Tags

mathematics, math, numerical, matlab, scientific, computing

Organization home page url

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