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Amod Mulay's Application

A: An introduction

I am a graduate student at Stony Brook University. I have a master's in Mechanical Engineering and am pursuing a second one in Computer Engineering and my primary research interest is robotics. I speak English, Hindi and Marathi. Quite honestly I wanted to contribute to a FOSS project for some time. I chose Octave because a lot of the work I do requires Matlab and Octave is the one open source alternative which is most compatible with Matlab. Participating in GSoC has the added bonus of getting paid for your work ;).

C: Contact

I usually use the nick "white" on IRC and other public forums. I live in the EST timezone(UTC-5) and will be here all of summer. I am usually more comfortable working at night but don't mind being active during the day(since most of the contributors are more active on IRC during work hours).

E: Coding experience


C/C++ was the first programming language I learnt. Have been using it on and off for various projects for a little more than 6 years. I am fairly comfortable with C/C++ code and am familiar(not an expert/advanced user) with the GNU build system however I don't have any experience working with a large code base.


I have used Matlab for various college projects for the last 5 years. I began using Octave as a Matlab replacement about 2 years ago. The main uses have been for simulation and image processing. I know most of the similarities and differences between Matlab and Octave.


I learnt python just for fun a few years ago. The only project that I have done using python is for my Computer Networks class. Other than that, I ported a few of my old college projects to python for practice but that's about it. I do like the language and would classify myself as an average user.


Other than the above three I have used some basic javascript & HTML. I am quite familiar with the Mediawiki framework and am one of the site maintainers for the Cyanogenmod wiki. I have used the CGal library for a graphics project. I have briefly dabbled with QT when we were experimenting with various frontend/interface for an embedded project which transmitted data on the serial port. I primarily used Labview for my Master's Thesis.

I am a bit familiar with mercurial(thanks to Jordi) and have submitted a couple of minor patches which fix Texinfo5 compatibility issues in Octave.

F: Feeling fine

  • IRC/mailing lists: familiar with using IRC.(IRC name: white) I have also used (subscribed and posted)the octave-maintainers list
  • Mercurial: new to using mercurial but I have the hang of it(thanks to Jordi)
  • Mediawiki: quite familiar with mediawiki including (slightly) advanced features such as templates
  • Average working knowledge of make and gcc. Haven't used gdb much.
  • I work much better in a group (of 2/3 than individually) and prefer to have regular (constructive) feedback. Since both of those are inherently a part of OSS I should be quite happy to continue contributing to Octave after GSoC during most of my free time.

O: Only out of interest

I guess I have covered most of the topics above. My two main gripes with octave are:

  • Not all of the image processing built-in functions are not supported including some of the more commonly used ones like the wiener filter
  • Octave is much slower than Matlab especially for non-vectorized code (which have many loops)

P: Prerequisites

My primary OS is linux (Arch linux distro if that matters). I also have access to Windows 7 professional. I should have access to the internet 24x7 unless I am on the road/travelling (which is a remote possibility). I have two computers (laptop + Desktop) and have complete access to them 24x7.

S: Self-assessment

  • I am quite capable of working alone for extended periods but I prefer working in small groups and periodic review/criticism. Also working alone(in a void) for a long time tends to get boring.
  • I prefer to have a sort of holistic view of the work ahead but prefer to write code iteratively/incrementally with small improvements and testing between each step. I usually jot down my algorithm and functional blocks on paper before I start writing the code. Also usually I tend to prefer simple working algorithms(even if they have poor performance) initially and to replace them, at a later time, with more complicated but efficient ones.
  • I don't mind throwing out chunks of my work if it doesn't fit with the overall project. I have worked in a student run lab for 5 years and we did on occasion have to chuck out weeks worth of work but what I learnt from it was that the effort is never wasted and that dumped code tends to find applications elsewhere later.

Y: Your task

I am interested in two tasks:

  • Expand the built-in image processing functions to support more/most of those already there in matlab.
  • Work on JIT compilation and expand it to work with matrices/other data types than scalars.

I am quite sure that I will have enough time for only one of the two and am leaning more towards JIT since that will be more useful in general.

My planned schedule is:

  • May 28 - June 16: Get acquainted with llvm and familiarize myself with Octave's Abstract Syntax Tree(AST) and Single Static Assignment(SSA) property of intermediate representation(IR). Also seperate the various parts of the code into smaller functional blocks and start on llvm 3.2 compatibility.(Some work has already been done on 3.2 compatibility)
  • June 17 - July 29: Make the current JITC code compatible with llvm 3.2 and work on making an llvm IR for a matrix.
  • July 30 - August 30: Convert an octave Matrix IR to llvm IR and work on getting everything together.
  • Sept 1 - Sept 14: Clean up the code, iron out the creases and work on final report.