Difference between revisions of "Summer of Code - Getting Started"

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The following is distilled from the [[Projects]] page for the benefit of potential [http://code.google.com/soc/Google Summer] [http://sophia.estec.esa.int/socis2012/?q=node/13 of Code] students. Although students are welcome to attempt any of the projects in that page or any of their own choosing, here we offer some suggestions on what good student projects might be.
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{{Note|GNU Octave [https://summerofcode.withgoogle.com/organizations/5849336744771584/ has been selected] as mentoring organization for GSoC 2021.}}
  
= General Guidelines =
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Since 2011 the GNU Octave project has mentored 38 students in [[Summer of Code]] (SoC) programs by [https://summerofcode.withgoogle.com/ Google] and [https://socis.esa.int/ ESA].  Those programs aim to advertise open-source software development and to attract potential new Octave developers.
  
Octave is mostly written in (sadly, mostly undocumented) C++ and its own scripting language (m-scripts), which includes (or should include) most of the Matlab language as a subset. We generally prefer a different Octave house style to the usual Matlab style for m-scripts, but it's primarily a superficial stylistic difference. Additionally, 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/or Octave or Matlab's scripting languages, you should probably be familiar or learn about Octave's infrastructure:
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= Steps toward a successful application =
  
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_build_system The GNU build system] is used to build Octave. While you generally don't need to understand too much unless you actually want to change how Octave is built, you should be able to understand enough to get a general idea of how to build Octave. If you've ever done a <tt>configure && make && make install</tt> series of commands, you have already used the GNU build system.
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# 😉💬 '''We want to get to know you (before the deadline).  Communicate with us.'''
* [http://mercurial.selenic.com/ Mercurial] (abbreviated hg) is the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributed_Version_Control_System distributed version control system] (DVCS) we use for managing our source code. You should have some basic understanding of how a DVCS works, but hg is pretty easy to pick up, especially if you already know a VCS like git or svn.
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#* Join [https://octave.discourse.group/ '''Octave Discourse'''] or our [https://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=#octave '''IRC channel''']. Using a nickname is fine.
* You should also read the same [http://www.gnu.org/software/octave/doc/interpreter/Contributing-Guidelines.html#Contributing-Guidelines contributing] [http://hg.savannah.gnu.org/hgweb/octave/file/tip/etc/HACKING guidelines] we have for everyone.
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#* Show us that you're motivated to work on Octave 💻.  There is no need to present an overwhelming CV 🏆; evidence of involvement with Octave is more important.
* We primarily use [https://mailman.cae.wisc.edu/listinfo/octave-maintainers mailing lists] for communication. You should follow basic mailing list etiquette. For us, this mostly means "do not [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_posting#Top-posting top post]".
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#* '''<span style="color:darkblue;">If you never talked to us, we will likely reject your proposal</span>''', even it looks good 🚮
* We also have [http://www.gnu.org/software/octave/chat.html an IRC channel]. The atmosphere is more relaxed, and we may talk about things that are not at all related to Octave.
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# 👩‍🔬 '''Get your hands dirty.'''
* [http://octave.sf.net Octave-Forge] is a project closely related to Octave where packages reside. They are somewhat analogous to Matlab's toolboxes.
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#* We are curious about your programming skills 🚀
* In addition, you probably should know '''some''' mathematics, engineering, or experimental science or something of the sort. If you've used Matlab before, you probably have already been exposed to the kinds of problems that Octave is used for.
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#** Your application will be much stronger if you [https://savannah.gnu.org/bugs/?group=octave fix Octave bugs] or [https://savannah.gnu.org/patch/?group=octave submit patches] before or during the application period.
 +
#** You can take a look at the [[short projects]] for some simple bugs to start with.
 +
#* '''Use Octave!'''
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#** If you come across something that does not work the way you like ➡️ try to fix that 🔧
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#** Or if you find a missing function ➡️ try to implement it.
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# 📝💡 '''Tell us what you are going to do.'''
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#* Do not write just to say what project you're interested in. Be specific about what you are going to do, include links 🔗, show us you know what you are talking about 💡, and ask many [http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html smart questions] 🤓
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#* Remember, '''we are volunteer developers and not your boss''' 🙂
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# 📔 '''Prepare your proposal with us.'''
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#* 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 😓
 +
#* Try to show us as early as possible a draft of your proposal 👍
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#* Then submit the proposal following the applicable rules, e.g. for [https://google.github.io/gsocguides/student/writing-a-proposal GSoC].
  
= Suggested projects =
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= How do we judge your application? =
  
The following projects are broadly grouped by category and probable skills required to tackle each. Remember to check [[Projects]] for more ideas if none of these suit you, and your own ideas are always welcome.
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Depending on the mentors and SoC program there are varieties, but typically the main factors considered would be:
  
== Numerical ==
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* '''You have demonstrated interest in Octave and an ability to make substantial modifications to Octave'''
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*: 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.
  
These projects involve implementing certain mathematical functions in Octave.
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* '''You showed understanding of your topic'''
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*: 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.
  
'''Required skills''': You should understand quite a bit of mathematics. Words like "eigenvalue", "analytic", and "Taylor series" shouldn't scare you at all. There is probably little C++ experience required, and probably many of these problems can be solved with m-scripts.
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* '''Well thought out, adequately detailed, realistic project plan'''
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*: "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.
  
'''Difficulty''': Mid-to-hard depending how much mathematics you know and how well you can read numerical analysis journal articles.
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= What you should know about Octave =
  
'''Potential mentor''': Carlo de Falco, Nir Krakauer, Fotios Kasolis, Luis Gustavo Lira
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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 😇
  
=== Incomplete sparse factorizations ichol, ilu ===
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You should know:
 +
# How to build Octave from it's source code using [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_build_system the GNU build system].
 +
#* Read in this wiki: [[Developer FAQ]], [[Building]]
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#* Tools to know: [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Compiler_Collection gcc], [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Make_(software) make]
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# How to submit patches (changesets).
 +
#* Read in this wiki: [[Contribution guidelines]], [[Mercurial]]
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#* Tools to know: [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercurial Mercurial (hg)], [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Git git]
  
Implement incomplete Cholesky and LU factorization for sparse matrices. These functions are [http://www.mathworks.it/it/help/matlab/matrix-decomposition.html available in Matlab] as cholinc/ichol and luinc/ilu. Incomplete factorizations are useful as preconditioners
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= Suggested projects =
for iterative solvers such as [http://hg.savannah.gnu.org/hgweb/octave/file/119ce9f5e1a3/scripts/sparse/gmres.m gmres] and
 
[http://hg.savannah.gnu.org/hgweb/octave/file/119ce9f5e1a3/scripts/sparse/gmres.m gmres] or [http://hg.savannah.gnu.org/hgweb/octave/file/119ce9f5e1a3/scripts/sparse/pcg.m pcg].
 
The classic book [http://netlib.org/linalg/html_templates/node81.html Templates for the Solution of Linear Systems: Building Blocks for Iterative Methods] has a [http://netlib.org/linalg/html_templates/node100.html#SECTION00933000000000000000 chapter] describing the
 
ILU algorithm in detail, though the algorithm described there should be adapted to Octave's internal Sparse Matrix file format which is [http://netlib.org/linalg/html_templates/node92.html#SECTION00931200000000000000 CCS] rather than [http://netlib.org/linalg/html_templates/node91.html#SECTION00931100000000000000 CRS]. The implementation of ILU in Octave has been recently discussed in the maintainers list and initial implementations were posted in this [http://octave.1599824.n4.nabble.com/Ilu-function-tp4648677.html thread]. In another [http://octave.1599824.n4.nabble.com/Re-Octave-maintainers-Digest-Vol-80-Issue-15-tp4646303.html thread] it was suggested to implement the ILU by interfacing Octave to [http://www-users.cs.umn.edu/~saad/software/ITSOL/ ITSOL]
 
 
 
=== Improve logm, sqrtm, funm ===
 
 
 
The goal here is to implement some missing Matlab functions related to matrix functions like the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrix_exponential matrix exponential]. There is [http://octave.1599824.n4.nabble.com/matrix-functions-td3137935.html a general discussion] of the problem.
 
 
 
=== Generalised eigenvalue problem ===
 
 
 
[http://www.mathworks.com/help/techdoc/ref/eig.html Certain calling forms] of the <tt>eig</tt> function are missing. The problem is to understand what those missing forms are and implement them.
 
 
 
=== Various sparse matrix improvements ===
 
 
 
The implementation of sparse matrices in Octave needs several improvements. Any of [[Projects#Sparse Matrices|these]] would be good. The paper by [http://arxiv.org/abs/cs.MS/0604006 Bateman & Adler] is good reading for understanding the sparse matrix implementation.
 
 
 
=== Implement solver for initial-boundary value problems for parabolic-elliptic PDEs in 1D ===
 
 
 
The project will deliver a solver for initial-boundary value problems for parabolic-elliptic PDEs in 1D similar to Matlab's function <tt>pdepe</tt>. A good starting point is the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Method_of_lines method of lines] for which you can find more details [http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Partial_Differential_Equations/Method_of_Lines here] and [http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Method_of_lines here], whereas an example implementation can be found [http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Method_of_Lines/Example_Implementation here]. In addition, [http://www.pdecomp.net/ this page] provides some useful material.
 
 
 
== GUI ==
 
 
 
Octave is currently working on a new native GUI. It is written in Qt, but it is still not ready for production. There are various ways in which it could be improved.
 
 
 
'''Required skills''': C++ and Qt. Whatever tools you want to use to write Qt code are fine, but Qt Creator is a popular choice nowadays.
 
 
 
'''Difficulty''': Mostly medium, depending if you've had Qt or GUI development experience before.
 
 
 
'''Potential mentor''': Jordi Gutiérrez Hermoso, Michael Goffioul
 
 
 
=== Finish the Octave GUI ===
 
 
 
The GUI is currently on its own branch in hg. It is not stable enough and its design is still in flux. It is in a very alpha stage and needs to be turned into a real usable product. At the moment, it consists of the basic building blocks (terminal window, editor, variable browser, history, file browser) that are put together into a main interface. The GUI uses the Qt library. Among the things to improve are:
 
* define and implement a flexible docking system allowing to place any subwindow at any location
 
* improve integration with octave: variable browser/editor, debugger, profiler...
 
* define and implement an option/preferences dialog
 
* improve additional components like the embedded [http://code.google.com/p/qirc/ IRC client] or the documentation browser
 
 
 
=== Integrate the GUI with the Octave build system ===
 
 
 
The current GUI build system is independent of Octave. First one builds and installs Octave, and then the GUI. The goal of this project is to integrate the GUI and make it all build together. Good understanding of both the GNU build system and Qt's ([http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qmake qmake] and the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meta-object_System meta-object compiler])  will be necessary here.
 
 
 
=== Implement a Qt widget for manipulating plots ===
 
 
 
Octave has had for some time a native OpenGL plotter. The plotter requires some user interaction for manipulating the plots, and it's been using fltk for quite some time. We want to replace this with Qt, so it fits better with the overall GUI look-and-feel and is easier to extend in the future.
 
 
 
[https://github.com/goffioul/QtHandles QtHandles] is a current work in progress integrating the octave OpenGL renderer plus good support for GUI elements (uicontrol, uimenu, uitoolbar...). This project may initially consists of integrating the existing QtHandles code base into Octave. Then if time permits, further improvements can be made to QtHandles.
 
 
 
=== Create a better (G)UI for the profiler ===
 
 
 
During GSoC 2011, Daniel Kraft successfully implemented a profiler for Octave. It needs a better interface and a way to generate reports. This may be done with Qt, but not necessarily, and HTML reports might also be good.
 
 
 
=== Create a graphical design tool for tuning closed loop control system (control pkg) ===
 
 
 
When tuning a SISO feedback system it is very helpful to be able to grab a pole or a zero and move them by dragging them with the mouse. As they are moving the software must update all the plotted lines. There should be the ability to display various graphs rlocuse, bode, step, impulse etc. and have them all change dynamically as the mouse is moving. The parameters of the compensator must be displayed and updated.
 
Potential mentor: Doug Stewart
 
 
 
== Graphics ==
 
 
 
Octave has a new native OpenGL plotter (currently via [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fltk fltk], but we want to move away from that). There are several possible projects involved with it. Michael Goffioul has expressed interest in mentoring these projects.
 
 
 
'''Required skills''': C++ and OpenGL. General understanding of computer graphics.
 
 
 
'''Difficulty''': Medium, depending on your previous understanding of the topic.
 
 
 
'''Potential mentor''': Michael Goffioul
 
 
 
=== Lighting ===
 
 
 
Implement transparency and lighting in OpenGL backend(s). A basic implementation was available in [http://octave.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/octave/trunk/octave-forge/extra/jhandles/ JHandles]. This needs to be ported/re-implement/re-engineered/optimized in the C++ OpenGL renderer of Octave.
 
 
 
=== Object selection in OpenGL renderer ===
 
 
 
This project is about the implementation of a selection method of graphics elements within the OpenGL renderer [http://glprogramming.com/red/chapter13.html]
 
 
 
=== Non-OpenGL renderer ===
 
 
 
Besides the original gnuplot backend, Octave also contains an OpenGL-based renderer for advanced and more powerful 3D plots. However, OpenGL is not perfectly suited for 2D-only plots where other methods could result in better graphics. The purpose of this project is to implement an alternate graphics renderer for 2D only plots (although 3D is definitely not the focus, extending the new graphics renderer to support basic 3D features should also be taken into account). There is not fix constaints on the toolkit/library to use, but natural candidates are:
 
* [http://qt.nokia.com Qt]: the GUI is currently written in Qt and work is also in progress to provide a Qt/OpenGL based backend [https://github.com/goffioul/QtHandles]
 
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairo_%28software%29 Cairo]: this library is widely used and known to provides high-quality graphics with support for PS/PDF/SVG output.
 
 
 
=== TeX/LaTeX markup ===
 
 
 
Text objects in plots (like titles, labels, texts...) in the OpenGL renderer only support plain text mode without any formatting possibility. Support for TeX and/or LaTeX formatting needs to be added.
 
 
 
The TeX formatting support actually only consists of a very limited subset of the TeX language. This can be implemented directly in C++ into Octave by extending the existing text engine, avoiding to add a dependency on a full TeX system.
 
 
 
On the other hand, the LaTeX formatting support is expected to provide full LaTeX capabilities. This will require to use an external LaTeX system to produce text graphics in some format (to be specified) that is then integrated into Octave plots.
 
 
 
The matplotlib project [http://matplotlib.sourceforge.net/users/usetex.html has already done this in Python] and might be used as an example of how to do this in Octave.  Mediawiki has also also done [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Texvc something similar].
 
 
 
== Interpreter ==
 
 
 
The interpreter is written in C++, undocumented. There are many possible projects associated with it.
 
 
 
'''Required skills''': ''Very good'' C and C++ knowledge, possibly also understanding of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnu_bison GNU bison] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flex_lexical_analyser flex]. Understanding how compilers and interpreters are made plus being able to understand how to use a profiler and a debugger will probably be essential skills.
 
 
 
'''Difficulty''': Mid hard to very hard. Some of the biggest problems will probably be the interpreter.
 
 
 
'''Potential mentors''': John W. Eaton, Jordi Gutiérrez Hermoso
 
 
 
=== Implement (or improve?) JIT compiling ===
 
  
Octave's interpreter is ''very'' slow on loops. Implementing JIT compiling would dramatically speed up execution of these loops. This is a very big project, but a dedicated student might make a good attempt of doing this over a summer. There may be some work already in place by the time the summer comes along. The idea is to probably use [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llvm LLVM] to aid with the JIT compilation.
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The following suggested projects are distilled from the [[Projects]] page for the benefit of potential SoC students. You can also look at our [[Summer of Code|completed past projects]] for more inspiration.
  
=== Improve memory management ===
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{{Note|Do you use Octave at your university or 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.}}
  
From profiling the interpreter, it appears that a lot of time is spending allocating and deallocating memory. A better memory management algorithm might provide some improvement.
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== ode15{i,s} : Matlab Compatible DAE solvers ==
  
=== Implement classdef classes ===
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An initial implementation of Matlab compatible Differential Algebraic Equations (DAE) solvers, {{manual|ode15i}} and {{manual|ode15s}}, based on [https://computing.llnl.gov/projects/sundials SUNDIALS],
 +
was done by [https://gsoc2016ode15s.blogspot.com/ Francesco Faccio during GSoC 2016].  The code is maintained in the main Octave repository and consists mainly of the following three files: [https://hg.savannah.gnu.org/hgweb/octave/file/tip/libinterp/dldfcn/__ode15__.cc {{path|libinterp/dldfcn/__ode15__.cc}}], [https://hg.savannah.gnu.org/hgweb/octave/file/tip/scripts/ode/ode15i.m {{path|scripts/ode/ode15i.m}}] and [https://hg.savannah.gnu.org/hgweb/octave/file/tip/scripts/ode/ode15s.m {{path|scripts/ode/ode15s.m}}].
  
Matlab has two kinds of classes: old style @classes and new style classdef. Octave has only implemented the old style. Although the lexer and parser have been updated to recognise the syntax for the new style classdef declarations, they currently do nothing with it. A successful project would design and implement the necessary functionality for these classes. This project is somewhat simpler than others in the interpreter group.
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The {{manual|decic}} function for selecting consistent initial conditions for ode15i can be made more Matlab compatible by using [https://faculty.smu.edu/shampine/cic.pdf another algorithm]. Another useful extension is to make ode15{i,s} work with datatypes other than double and to improve interpolation at intermediate time steps.
  
== Infrastructure ==
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* '''Required skills'''
 +
: Knowledge of Octave, C/C++; familiarity with numerical methods for DAEs
 +
* '''Potential mentors'''
 +
: Francesco Faccio, Carlo de Falco, Marco Caliari, Jacopo Corno, Sebastian Schöps
  
There are several projects closely related to Octave but not exactly core Octave that could be worked on. They are mostly infrastructure around Octave, stuff that would help a lot.
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== Using Python within Octave ==
  
'''Required skills''': Various. See below.
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[[Pythonic]] allows one to call Python functions and interact with Python objects from within Octave .m file code and from the Octave command line interface.  Pythonic may eventually not be a separate package, but rather a core feature of Octave.  This project aims to improve Pythonic with the goal of making the package more stable, maintainable, and full-featured.
  
'''Difficulty''': Various. See below.
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Based on a previous summer project related to Pythonic, this work will consist of fast-paced collaborative software development based on tackling the [https://gitlab.com/mtmiller/octave-pythonic/issues Pythonic issue list]. You would also be expected to participate in software design decisions and discussion, as well as improve documentation, doctests, and unit tests.  As an example of the sorts of decisions being made, note that Octave indexes from 1 whereas Python typically indexes from 0; in which cases is it appropriate to make this transparent to the user?
  
'''Potential mentor''': Jordi Gutiérrez Hermoso, Carlo de Falco
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* '''Required skills'''
 +
: Knowledge of Octave, C/C++, Python
 +
* '''Potential mentors'''
 +
: Mike Miller, Colin B. Macdonald, Abhinav Tripathi
  
=== Finish the Agora website ===
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== Improve TIFF image support ==
  
In 2009, the Mathworks decided to restrict the terms of use Matlab Central, a place dedicated to Matlab collaboration. The Mathworks forbade copyleft licenses and using the "free" code found in Matlab central on anything other than Mathworks products (e.g. forbidding from using it on Octave, even if the authors of the code wanted to allow this). Thus Octave users have no place to centrally, quickly, and conveniently share Octave code. See the [[FAQ#Why_can.27t_I_use_code_from_File_Exchange_in_Octave.3F_It.27s_released_under_a_BSD_license.21|FAQ]] for more details.
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[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TIFF Tag Image File Format (TIFF)] is the de facto standard for scientific images. Octave uses the [http://www.graphicsmagick.org/ GraphicsMagic] (GM) C++ library to handle [http://www.graphicsmagick.org/formats.html TIFF and many others image formats]. However, GM still has several limitations:
  
In response to this, a website started to form, [http://agora.octave.org/ Agora Octave].
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* GM has build option {{codeline|quantum}} which defines the bitdepth to use when reading an image:
 +
** Building GM with '''high quantum''' means that images of smaller bitdepth will take a lot more memory when reading.
 +
** Building GM with '''low quantum''' will make it impossible to read images of higher bitdepth. It also means that the image needs to always be rescaled to the correct range.
 +
* GM supports unsigned integers only, thus incorrectly reading files such as TIFF with floating-point data.
 +
* GM hides details of the image such as whether the image file is indexed. This makes it hard to access the real data stored on file.
  
This should be relatively easy webdev in Python using [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Django_%28web_framework%29 Django].
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This project aims to implement better TIFF image support using [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libtiff libtiff], while leaving GM handle all other image formats.  After writing a [https://octave.org/doc/v6.1.0/classdef-Classes.html classdef] interface to libtiff, improve the Octave functions {{manual|imread}}, {{manual|imwrite}}, and {{manual|imfinfo}} to make use of it.
  
=== Give maintenance to the Emacs octave mode ===
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* '''Required skills'''
 +
: Knowledge of Octave, C/C++
 +
* '''Potential mentors'''
 +
: Carnë Draug
  
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emacs Emacs] has an octave-mode that requires a lot of maintenance. This should also be an easy project if you already use Emacs and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elisp elisp].
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== PolarAxes and Plotting Improvements ==
  
=== Improve binary packaging ===
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Octave currently provides supports for polar axes by using a Cartesian 2-D axes and adding a significant number of properties and callback listeners to get things to work.  What is needed is the implementation of a dedicated "polaraxes" object in C++.  This will require creating a new fundamental graphics object type, and programming in C++/OpenGL to render the object.  When "polaraxes" exists as an object type, then m-files will be written to access them, including polaraxes.m, polarplot.m, rticks.m, rticklabels.m, thetaticks, thetaticklabels.m, rlim.m, thetalim.m.  This relates to bug {{bug|49804}}.
  
We would like to be able to easily generate binary packages for Windows and Mac OS X. Right now, it's difficult and tedious to do so. Any way to help us do this in a faster way would be appreciated. Required knowledge is understanding how building binaries in Windows and Mac OS X works. Medium difficulty.
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* '''Required skills'''
 +
: Knowledge of Octave, C/C++; optional experience with OpenGL programming
 +
* '''Potential mentors'''
 +
: Rik
  
=== Installation of packages ===
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== Table datatype ==
We would like to enhance the management of Octave-forge packages from within Octave environment. Currently there is a working (but rather monolithic) function that is used to do the job. The work would be to improve the way Octave interacts with the package server. Since the functionality is already sketched by the current function, the most important skill is software design.
 
  
'''Minimum requirements''': Ability to read and write Octave code. Minimal FTP/HTTP knowledge.
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In 2013, Matlab introduced a [https://www.mathworks.com/help/matlab/tables.html new table datatype] to conveniently organize and access data in tabular form.  This datatype has not been introduced to Octave yet (see bug {{bug|44571}}).  However, there are two initial implementation approaches https://github.com/apjanke/octave-tablicious and https://github.com/gnu-octave/table.
  
'''Difficulty''': Easy
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Based upon the existing approaches, the goal of this project is to define an initial subset of [https://www.mathworks.com/help/matlab/tables.htmlMatlab's table functions], which involve sorting, splitting, merging, and file I/O and implement it within the given time frame.
  
== Octave-Forge packages ==
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* '''Required skills'''
 +
: Knowledge of Octave, C/C++
 +
* '''Potential mentors'''
 +
: [[User:siko1056|Kai]]
  
=== Rewrite symbolic package ===
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== Adding functionality to packages ==
Octave's current [http://octave.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/octave/trunk/octave-forge/main/symbolic/ symbolic] package for symbolic computation is outdated, fragile and limited in its capabilities. The new symbolic package should offer better Matlab compatibility, for example handling of symbolic matrices. Like the current symbolic package, the new package could use the proven [http://www.ginac.de/ GiNaC] library for symbolic computations.
 
  
The work would be to integrate GiNaC by using Octave's objects and classes. This can be done in C++ in a way similar to Michele Martone's new [http://octave.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/octave/trunk/octave-forge/main/sparsersb/ sparsersb] package.
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=== OCS package ===
  
'''Required skills''': C++. Ability to understand Octave and GiNaC API documentation.
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The [[Ocs package | OCS package]] is a circuit simulator. The objective of this project is to increase compatibility with [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SPICE SPICE] and improve compatibility with other Octave packages, e.g. the [[Control package]].  Please study the [https://octave.sourceforge.io/ocs/overview.html available functions] of this package.  
  
'''Difficulty''': medium.
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* '''Required skills'''
 +
: Knowledge of Octave, C/C++; FORTRAN API knowledge
 +
* '''Potential mentors'''
 +
: Sebastian Schöps, Carlo de Falco
  
'''Potential mentor''': Lukas Reichlin
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=== Symbolic package ===
  
=== Low-Level I/O ===
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The [[Symbolic package]] provides symbolic computing and other [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_algebra_system computer algebra system] tools.  The main component of Symbolic is a pure m-file class "@sym" which uses the Python package [https://www.sympy.org SymPy] to do (most of) the actual computations.  The package aims to expose the full functionality of SymPy while also providing a high level of compatibility with the Matlab Symbolic Math Toolbox.  The Symbolic package requires communication between Octave and Python.  In 2016 another GSoC project successfully re-implemented this communication using the new [[Pythonic|Pythonic package]].
  
Octave currently provides file I/O and sockets for communicating with the outside world. Also, the [[instrument control package]] provides basic interfaces for RS232, I2C and the Parallel port.  The project would extend the current communication interfaces in octave, allowing octave to directly communicate with measurement systems, data acquisition systems, sensors, robotic systems and the like.  
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This project proposes to go further: instead of using Pythonic only for the communication layer, we'll use it throughout the Symbolic project. For example, we might make "@sym" a subclass of "@pyobject".  We also could stop using the "python_cmd" interface and use Pythonic directly from methods.  The main goal was already mentioned: to expose the ''full functionality'' of SymPy.  For example, we would allow OO-style method calls such as <code>f.diff(x)</code> instead of <code>diff(f, x)</code>.
  
Potential interfaces to support could, for example, be GPIB, USB HID, USBTMC, CAN, LIN, SPI. One initial task of the student would be to select a subset of these standards to support, taking, for example, existing drivers into account.
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* '''Required skills'''
 +
: Knowledge of Octave, C/C++, Python; object-oriented programming (OOP) in Octave
 +
* '''Potential mentors'''
 +
: Colin B. Macdonald, Mike Miller, Abhinav Tripathi
  
'''Required skills''': C++, system programming knowledge, knowledge of Octave's current handling of file descriptors.
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=== TISEAN package ===
  
'''Difficulty''': Mostly medium, depending depending on existing driver support and experience with the protocols
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The [[TISEAN package]] provides an Octave interface to [https://www.pks.mpg.de/~tisean/Tisean_3.0.1/index.html TISEAN] is a suite of code for nonlinear time series analysis.  In 2015, another GSoC project started with the work to create interfaces to many TISEAN functions, but [[TISEAN_package:Procedure | there is still work left to do]].  There are missing functions to do computations on spike trains, to simulate autoregresive models, to create specialized plots, etc.  Which are of importance for many scientific disciplines involving statistical computations and signal processing.
 +
 +
* '''Required skills'''
 +
: Knowledge of Octave, C/C++; FORTRAN API knowledge
 +
* '''Potential mentors'''
 +
: [[User:KaKiLa|KaKiLa]]
  
'''Potential mentors''': Michael Godfrey(?), Andrius Sutas(?), Juan Pablo carbajal
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[[Category:Summer of Code]]
 +
[[Category:Project Ideas]]

Latest revision as of 02:08, 24 August 2021

Info icon.svg
GNU Octave has been selected as mentoring organization for GSoC 2021.

Since 2011 the GNU Octave project has mentored 38 students in Summer of Code (SoC) programs by Google and ESA. Those programs aim to advertise open-source software development and to attract potential new Octave developers.

Steps toward a successful application[edit]

  1. 😉💬 We want to get to know you (before the deadline). Communicate with us.
    • Join Octave Discourse or our IRC channel. Using a nickname is fine.
    • Show us that you're motivated to work on Octave 💻. There is no need to present an overwhelming CV 🏆; evidence of involvement with Octave is more important.
    • If you never talked to us, we will likely reject your proposal, even it looks good 🚮
  2. 👩‍🔬 Get your hands dirty.
    • We are curious about your programming skills 🚀
    • Use Octave!
      • If you come across something that does not work the way you like ➡️ try to fix that 🔧
      • Or if you find a missing function ➡️ try to implement it.
  3. 📝💡 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 🔗, show us you know what you are talking about 💡, and ask many smart questions 🤓
    • Remember, we are volunteer developers and not your boss 🙂
  4. 📔 Prepare your proposal with us.
    • 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 😓
    • Try to show us as early as possible a draft of your proposal 👍
    • Then submit the proposal following the applicable rules, e.g. for GSoC.

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 😇

You should know:

  1. How to build Octave from it's 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 students. You can also look at our completed past projects for more inspiration.

Info icon.svg
Do you use Octave at your university or 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.

ode15{i,s} : Matlab Compatible DAE solvers[edit]

An initial implementation of Matlab compatible Differential Algebraic Equations (DAE) solvers, ode15i and ode15s, based on SUNDIALS, was done by Francesco Faccio during GSoC 2016. The code is maintained in the main Octave repository and consists mainly of the following three files: libinterp/dldfcn/__ode15__.cc, scripts/ode/ode15i.m and scripts/ode/ode15s.m.

The decic function for selecting consistent initial conditions for ode15i can be made more Matlab compatible by using another algorithm. Another useful extension is to make ode15{i,s} work with datatypes other than double and to improve interpolation at intermediate time steps.

  • Required skills
Knowledge of Octave, C/C++; familiarity with numerical methods for DAEs
  • Potential mentors
Francesco Faccio, Carlo de Falco, Marco Caliari, Jacopo Corno, Sebastian Schöps

Using Python within Octave[edit]

Pythonic allows one to call Python functions and interact with Python objects from within Octave .m file code and from the Octave command line interface. Pythonic may eventually not be a separate package, but rather a core feature of Octave. This project aims to improve Pythonic with the goal of making the package more stable, maintainable, and full-featured.

Based on a previous summer project related to Pythonic, this work will consist of fast-paced collaborative software development based on tackling the Pythonic issue list. You would also be expected to participate in software design decisions and discussion, as well as improve documentation, doctests, and unit tests. As an example of the sorts of decisions being made, note that Octave indexes from 1 whereas Python typically indexes from 0; in which cases is it appropriate to make this transparent to the user?

  • Required skills
Knowledge of Octave, C/C++, Python
  • Potential mentors
Mike Miller, Colin B. Macdonald, Abhinav Tripathi

Improve TIFF image support[edit]

Tag Image File Format (TIFF) is the de facto standard for scientific images. Octave uses the GraphicsMagic (GM) C++ library to handle TIFF and many others image formats. However, GM still has several limitations:

  • GM has build option quantum which defines the bitdepth to use when reading an image:
    • Building GM with high quantum means that images of smaller bitdepth will take a lot more memory when reading.
    • Building GM with low quantum will make it impossible to read images of higher bitdepth. It also means that the image needs to always be rescaled to the correct range.
  • GM supports unsigned integers only, thus incorrectly reading files such as TIFF with floating-point data.
  • GM hides details of the image such as whether the image file is indexed. This makes it hard to access the real data stored on file.

This project aims to implement better TIFF image support using libtiff, while leaving GM handle all other image formats. After writing a classdef interface to libtiff, improve the Octave functions imread, imwrite, and imfinfo to make use of it.

  • Required skills
Knowledge of Octave, C/C++
  • Potential mentors
Carnë Draug

PolarAxes and Plotting Improvements[edit]

Octave currently provides supports for polar axes by using a Cartesian 2-D axes and adding a significant number of properties and callback listeners to get things to work. What is needed is the implementation of a dedicated "polaraxes" object in C++. This will require creating a new fundamental graphics object type, and programming in C++/OpenGL to render the object. When "polaraxes" exists as an object type, then m-files will be written to access them, including polaraxes.m, polarplot.m, rticks.m, rticklabels.m, thetaticks, thetaticklabels.m, rlim.m, thetalim.m. This relates to bug #49804.

  • Required skills
Knowledge of Octave, C/C++; optional experience with OpenGL programming
  • Potential mentors
Rik

Table datatype[edit]

In 2013, Matlab introduced a new table datatype to conveniently organize and access data in tabular form. This datatype has not been introduced to Octave yet (see bug #44571). However, there are two initial implementation approaches https://github.com/apjanke/octave-tablicious and https://github.com/gnu-octave/table.

Based upon the existing approaches, the goal of this project is to define an initial subset of table functions, which involve sorting, splitting, merging, and file I/O and implement it within the given time frame.

  • Required skills
Knowledge of Octave, C/C++
  • Potential mentors
Kai

Adding functionality to packages[edit]

OCS package[edit]

The OCS package is a circuit simulator. The objective of this project is to increase compatibility with SPICE and improve compatibility with other Octave packages, e.g. the Control package. Please study the available functions of this package.

  • Required skills
Knowledge of Octave, C/C++; FORTRAN API knowledge
  • Potential mentors
Sebastian Schöps, Carlo de Falco

Symbolic package[edit]

The Symbolic package provides symbolic computing and other computer algebra system tools. The main component of Symbolic is a pure m-file class "@sym" which uses the Python package SymPy to do (most of) the actual computations. The package aims to expose the full functionality of SymPy while also providing a high level of compatibility with the Matlab Symbolic Math Toolbox. The Symbolic package requires communication between Octave and Python. In 2016 another GSoC project successfully re-implemented this communication using the new Pythonic package.

This project proposes to go further: instead of using Pythonic only for the communication layer, we'll use it throughout the Symbolic project. For example, we might make "@sym" a subclass of "@pyobject". We also could stop using the "python_cmd" interface and use Pythonic directly from methods. The main goal was already mentioned: to expose the full functionality of SymPy. For example, we would allow OO-style method calls such as f.diff(x) instead of diff(f, x).

  • Required skills
Knowledge of Octave, C/C++, Python; object-oriented programming (OOP) in Octave
  • Potential mentors
Colin B. Macdonald, Mike Miller, Abhinav Tripathi

TISEAN package[edit]

The TISEAN package provides an Octave interface to TISEAN is a suite of code for nonlinear time series analysis. In 2015, another GSoC project started with the work to create interfaces to many TISEAN functions, but there is still work left to do. There are missing functions to do computations on spike trains, to simulate autoregresive models, to create specialized plots, etc. Which are of importance for many scientific disciplines involving statistical computations and signal processing.

  • Required skills
Knowledge of Octave, C/C++; FORTRAN API knowledge
  • Potential mentors
KaKiLa