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Earlier this month the Google Open Source Programs office welcomed eight* of the ten Grand Prize winners of the Google Code-in 2011 contest, a contest designed to introduce pre-university students (age 13-17) to the many ways they can contribute to open source software development. There were 18 open source mentoring organizations that the students were able to work with on a variety of tasks. Tasks included everything from writing and refactoring code to providing documentation for the organizations to outreach and marketing to quality assurance testing. Students earned points for each task they successfully completed and the 10 students with the highest number of points at the end of the contest won a trip for themselves and a parent or guardian to the Googleplex in Mountain View, California for four nights.

Day 1
The week started off with a meet and greet dinner at the hotel near Google where the students who had spent many hours together in chat finally were able to meet each other. This was also the start to the four day food and swag fest. The evening ended early so everyone could try and get over their jet lag: our attendees flew from Romania, India, Canada and the northern midwest of the USA.

Day 2
The next morning started off at the Googleplex with a discussion on the history of the Google Code-in program and a bit about the goals of the program. Next, Carol Smith chatted about the Google Summer of Code program for university students, a natural next step for many of the students heading off for college in the next year or two.

The morning concluded with Chris DiBona, Open Source Programs Director at Google, leading an awards ceremony for the students where they received their plaques and certificates showing their achievements as grand prize winners. We were excited to welcome back one student for his second awards ceremony for Google Code-in as he was a grand prize winner in 2010 and 2011. Chris wrapped up the morning session with a discussion on open source at Google and capped his talk off with a few pointers for the students and parents on how to successfully ride a segway for their adventures the next day.

After a tour around the Google campus with a stop at the popular Android building with its fun Android release statues, the group loaded up on lunch at Google’s largest cafe.

After lunch, the group headed over to the Computer History Museum just down the street for a docent led tour. There was so much to see the hour long tour wasn’t nearly enough time to absorb the magnitude of the contributions made by the pioneers in the computer science industry over the decades.

Back at Google, there were more members of the Open Source Programs Office awaiting our arrival, including Shawn Pearce who gave a talk on Gerrit Code review. Making sure the students didn’t fall into a late afternoon stupor, Jeremy Allison engaged the group in an interactive tutorial on how to design a file server.  David McLaughlin, Global Programs Lead for Google’s Developer Relations team discussed how there are many paths for software engineers to take in their careers including becoming developer advocates. Next Tiffany Montague (with perhaps the coolest title at Google - ‘Intergalactic Federation King Almighty and Commander of the Universe’) discussed the Google Lunar X Prize and the many exciting things going on with the private sector’s race to the moon. Our final speaker of the day, Joshua Bloch, tested the group with a couple of Java Puzzlers and shared an amazing pic from the recent transit of Venus.

Day 3
The busiest and most action filled day of the trip started off bright and early with the first stop a must for every visitor to San Francisco - a trip to the Golden Gate Bridge (which just celebrated its 75th anniversary a few weeks ago), complete with a walk to the first pillar of the bridge and some windy and sunny group shots.

Then a quick drive across the Golden Gate Bridge to meet the yacht for a tour of the San Francisco Bay complete with a trip under the Bridge, around Alcatraz and up along the edge of the city. The weather was stunning and perfect for a couple of hours in the sun on the Bay.


Next up, a guided segway tour of Golden Gate park, including some exciting off-roading on a few dirt trails. After everyone safely disembarked from their segways, they all boarded onto a motorized cable car and took a two hour tour of the city with stops at Twin Peaks with amazing views of the entire city and then by the Painted Ladies, and through Chinatown and North Beach, ending at Pier 39 on Fisherman’s Wharf. By the time everyone sat down for dinner it was a true test of wills to not do a face-plant into their dinner after the long day of adventures.

Day 4
The final morning of the trip group everyone headed to breakfast at the new cafe in the San Francisco Google office and they received their final swag bags complete with a selection of San Francisco goodies and the favorite swag from the trip - a Samsung Galaxy Android phone.


All of us at the Google Open Source Programs Office felt honored to spend a few days with these bright, talented young coders. In conversations with the students we were excited to learn that many had never worked on open source software before they started participating in the Google Code-in contest, so it truly was their introduction to the open source community. One student is already participating in this year’s Google Summer of Code and another student became a project committer as a result of his Google Code-in experience. 

We look forward to seeing these students at future open source events in the years to come. Keep up the amazing work!

By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs

* We were disappointed that two of the students were unable to make the trip due to mandatory tests in their countries during the scheduled week of the trip.

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Over the last few weeks we have been posting a collection of numbers on this year’s Google Summer of Code program. Our last post focused on the students that have participated in the program for multiple years. Now we’d like to look at the number of past students who return to participate as mentors in the program. The numbers clearly indicate that many students become active contributors in various open source communities after their projects conclude; in Google Summer of Code terms we could call this transition graduation.

Some numbers on the student to mentor transition to consider:
  • 61 current mentors participated as students last year and for 37 of that group, 2011 was their first Google Summer of Code experience. 
  • 131 of this year’s mentors have worked on their own student projects in at least one past Google Summer of Code
This is a very respectable result and shows that more than 11.5% of this year's 1,121 mentors with assigned projects have experienced the program from both perspectives.

Below is a detailed table showing how many former students, who participated in particular editions of the program, are currently mentoring a project for Google Summer of Code 2012.


Student 2009
Student 2010
Student 2011
Mentor 2012

X
X
37
X
X
29
X
X
29
X
X
X
17
X
X
X
1
X
X
X
12
X
X
X
X
6

The table shows that 95 of the mentors participated as students only once; 30 more became mentors having worked on two student projects. There were 6 students who converted to mentorship after three consecutive years as students. These numbers also show that for a large number of students Google Summer of Code is not a one-time adventure. There are many who return to implement new projects by themselves or to give a hand to other students and mentor their work. Let’s hope this trend will continue for as long as the program continues to run!

By Daniel Hans, Google, Melange Developer

Important note: all the statistics are calculated based on data gathered since 2009. Previous editions are not taken into consideration.

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Google Summer of Code is in full swing and, besides all the coding, participants are also organizing meetups all over the world. These meetups allow Google Summer of Code students and mentors to meet in person and talk about the awesome contributions they will be making to open source projects over the summer.

Nathaniel Manista welcomes Chicago-area students to Google’s Chicago offices

One of the longest-running meetups is the one held each spring in Chicago. This meetup started in 2008 after five University of Chicago students were accepted to Google Summer of Code. The university’s ACM Student Chapter approached Google’s Chicago office about hosting a meetup for them, which was attended by around 30 students.

The following year, we opened up the event to students in all of Chicago’s major universities and since then, the Chicago meetup has been getting bigger and bigger each year. A few weeks ago, we held the fifth annual Chicago-area meetup and we had more than 160 students sign up for it!

As usual, the meetup revolved around a series of lightning talks delivered by accepted Google Summer of Code students and by Google engineers. Google Chicago hosts the event, providing dinner for all attendees. The dinner’s theme seems to change every year and, as a Spaniard, I was thrilled to walk into Google Chicago’s conference room this year to find big trays of paella, croquetas, and flan waiting for me.

Jacob Walker shares details on his upcoming summer work for Shogun

This year, four of the Google Summer of Code students that attended the meetup gave lightning talks on their upcoming summer work:
We also had a chance to hear from several Google engineers who shared some interesting (and often amusing) perspectives on various topics:
  • Robin Anil, a former Google Summer of Code student himself, told us about doing machine learning on a mammoth scale with Apache Mahout.
  • J.J. Lueck told us about the awesome stuff the Data Liberation Front is up to.
  • Nathaniel Manista, our gracious host for the evening, told us about inheritance, and why he no longer uses it.
  • Jeremy Wall told us about some of his favorite idioms in Go.
J.J. Lueck tells students about the Data Liberation Front

As usual, a great time was had by all. Many thanks to Google for continuing to host this event, and congratulations to all the Chicago-area students who will be participating in this year’s Google Summer of Code!


By Borja Sotomayor, Lecturer, University of Chicago and Google Summer of Code Organization Administrator (Globus Alliance, 2008-2011)

Photos by Ge Yang and Nathaniel Manista

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When a country is unable to hold regular elections, how do people make their voices heard? That’s the challenge today in Somalia, which hasn’t had a permanent government since 1991. Somalia is in the middle of drafting a new provisional constitution which will be ratified later this summer, and with this process has come new opportunities to increase citizen engagement.

As the draft constitution has undergone revisions in recent months, Google Ideas developed a pilot project with the Somali service, Africa Division of Voice of America (VOA) to help Somalis register their opinions. Using Google App Engine, Google Voice, and Google Docs, we built an internal site for VOA to conduct public opinion polling:


Starting in April, with just a few clicks, VOA pollsters could call and survey Somalis for their thoughts on a new constitution, asking questions such as: Should there be a strong central government? Should Sharia law be the basis of the constitution? And should there be a requirement that women be included as elected officials? Over three rounds of polling, VOA used the internal site to collect the survey results. The last round concluded last week, and VOA published the aggregate results across the country on its new radio program, “Constitution Square.”


We’re pleased to make this small contribution in helping Somalis participate as they draft a new constitution, and hope that others might benefit from this as well. This open source project can be modified for use in any country or context, and anyone interested in downloading the source code can click here.

By Brendan Ballou and Yasmin Dolatabadi, Google Ideas

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We have just completed our fourth year of the UCOSP (Undergraduate Capstone Open Source Projects) program and are already planning for a fifth. In this multi-university collaboration, students from across Canada - 13 schools this past year - participate in industry-mentored open source projects for course credit. Almost a year ago, we wrote an overview of the program including the practical details around the program organization and the rationale that led us to develop it. As a high-level description, suffice it to say that this unique program - to the best of our knowledge there is no similar program anywhere else in the world - was conceived to provide students with a very realistic experience of software engineering and to fundamentally enhance their school learning. The feedback we are getting from our students provides strong evidence that we are meeting these objectives.

Let me share a few stories from some of the 71 undergraduate students who participated this year:
"[UCOSP] was the first time I realized how a team located in different areas can integrate and work together. The IRC channel is the place we have the most fun.  I am very thankful to this project because I got an insight and have experienced  how an open-source project operates."
From another undergraduate whose UCOSP experience led to her Google summer internship:
"My UCOSP project was Groovy, a plugin for Eclipse that provides IDE support for the dynamically typed language Groovy. Some time after I started working on my UCOSP project, I applied to Google for a summer internship. After making it through the first round of technical interviews, I found myself being interviewed over the phone by a senior developer for Google. He asked, a little apprehensively, what I knew about Eclipse plugins. I described my work for UCOSP to him. He was audibly relieved - he was looking for someone to work on an Eclipse plugin that provides IDE support for JavaScript. I got a phone call with an offer an hour later and I'm working there now."
Another student comments on what he learned by reflecting through his learning experience:
"The most important things you learn during the project are about yourself: how disciplined you are, your time management skills and how to work independently. In particular, I've discovered that I need structure to be productive."
The project mentors have also commented positively on various aspects of the project. For example, the Umple project mentor comments on the use of Google tools for managing his distributed team.
"It is a nice fit that Google is a key sponsor of UCOSP: Umple's development is hosted on Google Code, and we make extensive use of Google Groups and Google+, particularly the excellent ‘Hangouts with extras' multi-party video conferencing feature. Weekly Hangouts turned out to be almost as effective as in-person meetings with my local students at fostering a sense of community among UCOSP students from several campuses." 
Finally, one of the home-faculty members whose student was on the ReviewBoard team, says:
"...[my student] had a fantastic experience with UCOSP. He doesn't understand why all of the students aren't beating down the doors trying to get into the course."
As a steering committee we are thrilled with the continued success of UCOSP and are happy to talk to anyone about it. We want to thank Google for their support and to publicly thank the dedicated open source project mentors who are training tomorrow's leaders. For all of us who are involved with UCOSP, it is clear that this is a valuable program for our students and that our projects make useful, even valuable, contributions to the open-source projects that participate in it. We are excited to be planning our next year and we are thankful to the sponsorship of our supporting organizations.

By Karen Reid, Senior Lecturer University of Toronto, UCOSP Steering Committee Member

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In this year’s Google Summer of Code, there are 227 students from India participating in the program. In order to engage with this year’s Google Summer of Code students we are organizing a series of five meetups over the summer for the participants from India.

We held the first meetup on May 22nd at Jadavpur University Kolkata. This was the first major Google Summer of Code event held in that part of the country even though Kolkata/Calcutta is one of the five largest cities in India.

Approximately 150 students attended the four hour event with multiple sessions focusing on Free and Open Source Software and the Google Summer of Code program. I gave a 40 minute presentation covering the Google Summer of Code program and community related DevRel initiatives in India. I also introduced the developers.google.com site to the crowd. There was a panel discussion on Google Summer of Code with previous and current program participants with about 15 questions being answered during the session.


There are four more meetups planned in the coming weeks in other parts of the country: Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai and in the New Delhi region in Gurgaon. After the event I was contacted by a senior faculty member at Jadavpur University to do a similar session in other colleges in Q3/Q4 in anticipation for next year’s Google Summer of Code program should it be run again.


We were very pleased with the turnout and the engagement of the students and hopefully we motivated even more students to participate in future editions of the Google Summer of Code.

By Uttam Tripathi, Google Developer Relations - India

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One of the most important goals of Google Summer of Code is to give students the experience of working in an open source environment and encourage them to stay involved even after the program concludes. A meaningful value to measure future commitment is the number of recurring students who decide to take up another challenge and participate in the program again. We see returning students who decide to take up another challenge and participate in the program multiple times as a healthy sign of future commitment and engagement in the open source community. This year we proudly welcome 176 “sophomores", approximately 14.5% of students, participating in their second Google Summer of Code.

Below is a detailed table showing how many students have taken part in previous editions of the program.


Student 2009
Student 2010
Student 2011
Student 2012
Total Number of Students
X
X
152
X
X
19
X
X
5
X
X
X
33
X
X
X
4
X
X
X
4
X
X
X
X
7

As you can see, there are more than 40 veterans who have participated in three of the last four years. Seven other students have spent every summer since 2009 writing code for their amazing Google Summer of Code projects.

Now let’s investigate how multi-year students migrate between organizations over the years. Let us take into consideration only the students who have participated in the program at least three times. Over 75% of these serial Google Summer of Coders have worked with only one or two different organizations, while exactly one third of them have worked with just one. There are even two students who have been with us for the last four years and have always been accepted by the same organization - one with Samba and one with OpenICC. The table below presents more details.


3rd Time Students4th Time Students
1 organization142
2 organizations192
3 organizations82
4 organizations1

These figures show that the engagement rate among our recurring students is high which translates to more dedicated and enthusiastic developers. We give a big thanks to all the mentors and administrators who put such a great deal of effort into the program each year. It is your hard work and commitment to the students and your projects that encourage the students to apply again!

Stay tuned for another post in the coming weeks regarding the student to mentor transition and other fun numbers for this year's Google Summer of Code.

By Daniel Hans, Google engineer and Melange core contributor