Open source software is software with source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance. There are many institutions and individuals who write open software, mainly for research or free deployment purposes. Mostly these softwares, have only a few maintainers, and multiple people, writing and debugging the code, helps a lot. This is where Google Summer of Code
GSOC comes into the picture. It is a global, online program focused on bringing new contributors into open source software development. Many organisations float projects for the developers to take over the summer and Google mediates in the process, while also paying the contributors for their work over the summer.
Computer Science and Mathematics are two fields that I find to be most interesting. I first heard of Gsoc, when I was still finding my feet in the vast world of programming and computing. I was instantly sold to the idea of working for an organisation, and writing research code over summer. When I was searching for organisations and their project, I stumbled upon Open Astronomy, and in particular the project Searching for Quasi-Periodic Oscillations with Gaussian Processes, for the Stingray Library. The QPO project was an exceptional opportunity that aligned perfectly with my interests and aspirations. Utilizing the Gaussian Process, a sophisticated and effective mathematical tool for regression and classification problems, the project analyzed astronomical data from some of the universe’s most extreme sources, including quasars and neutron stars - areas of particular interest to me. Given my programming expertise, the project’s requirements were an ideal match, and I was eager to undertake it as a learning experience. Over the course of a month, I worked diligently to secure the project, confident that it was the ideal fit for my skillset and passion.
My learnings from Gsoc began even before the project started. I had never worked on an open source package and the experience of making pull requests and getting them merged was very enriching.
I must also add that through all this, my mentors helped me a lot in my project proposal as well as my code submissions. I would not have been able to make it this for without their help, and their patience in helping out with my amateur mistakes.