Google Summer of Code/Application 2011
- The Apertium project develops a free/open-source platform for machine translation and language technology. We try to focus our efforts on lesser-resourced and marginalised languages, but also work with larger languages.
- The platform, including data for a large number of language pairs, a translation engine and auxiliary tools is being developed around the world, largely in universities and companies (e.g. Prompsit Language Engineering), but also independent free-software developers play a huge role.
- There are currently 27 published language pairs within the project (including a number of "firsts" — for example Spanish—Occitan, Breton—French, and Basque—Spanish among others), and several more in development.
- Main Organization License
GNU General Public Licence version 2.0 (GPL2)
- Why is your organization applying to participate in GSoC 2011? What do you hope to gain by participating?
- We are very interested in seeing Apertium improve as both a research and development platform, and also as a platform for spreading free/open-source software in the translation world. As a whole, as in GSoC 2009, GSoC 2010, and GCI, we will benefit from increased participation from outside the core group of developers: we will get new or improved resources which will help to improve translation quality for users and developers alike.
- We have found that although it is possible to attract developers interested working on language pairs, it is more difficult to find developers who are interested in work on the engine, so we would hope to find students interested in "diving a bit deeper".
- If accepted, would this be your first year participating in GSoC?
- Did your organization participate in past GSoCs? If so, please summarize your involvement and the successes and challenges of your participation.
- Apertium took part in GSoC in 2009 and 2010. We received 9 slots in 2009, and 9 again in 2010, and are very happy with the results of our participation. Our main successes and challenges are described below:
- Getting useful results: 8/9 of our GSOC projects last year were successful.
- Getting maintainable results: 5/9 of our GSOC projects from last year have had developers from outside the original project.
- Finding new developers: 3/9 of our GSOC students are still (a year later) regular committers, and all have started to work outside their original projects.
- Selecting applicants: Our selection process left room for improvement, with some mentors being more involved than others. This year we aim to get over this.
- Getting the final furlong: Many of our GSOC projects were successful, in that the code worked, but they needed some finishing touches to be release-worthy. Encouraging students to do this proved in some cases difficult.
- Persuading students to publicise their results, we got around half of our students to present their work to the wider community, but some either didn't plan to have the time or we weren't persuasive enough.
- If your organization participated in past GSoCs, please let us know the ratio of students passing to students allocated, e.g. 2006: 3/6 for 3 out of 6 students passed in 2006.
- 2009: 8/9
- 2010: 8/9
- What is the URL for your ideas page?
- What is the main development mailing list for your organization? This question will be shown to students who would like to get more information about applying to your organization for GSoC 2011. If your organization uses more than one list, please make sure to include a description of the list so students know which to use.
- What is the main IRC channel for your organization?
- Does your organization have an application template you would like to see students use? If so, please provide it now. Please note that it is a very good idea to ask students to provide you with their contact information as part of your template. Their contact details will not be shared with you automatically via the GSoC 2011 site.
- We expect students to contact us using IRC or e-mail; we will make sure we get the following information from all applicants:
- Name, e-mail address, and other information that may be useful for contact
- Why is it you are interested in machine translation?
- Why is it that you are interested in the Apertium project?
- Which of the published tasks are you interested in? What do you plan to do?
- Applicants should also include a two- to eight-page proposal, including a title, reasons why Google and Apertium should sponsor it, a description of how and who it will benefit, and a detailed work plan including, if possible, a schedule with milestones and deliverables. Include time needed to think, to program, to document and to disseminate.
- List your skills and give evidence of your qualifications. Tell us what is current field of study, major, etc.
- Convince us that you can do the work. In particular we would like to know whether you have programmed before in open-source projects.
- Please list any non-Summer-of-Code plans you have for the Summer, especially employment and class-taking. Be specific about schedules and time commitments. we would like to be sure you have at least 30 free hours a week to develop for our project.
- What criteria did you use to select the individuals who will act as mentors for your organization? Please be as specific as possible.
Mikel L. Forcada is a professor of Computer Science and has led all of the research that has been done at the Universitat d'Alacant in the field of machine translation. He is responsible for much of the current design of Apertium. Mikel was mentor for the successful dictionary interface project in last year's GSoC.
Jacob Nordfalk is an associate professor of Computer Science and author of several books on programming in Java in Danish. He is the primary developer on the English--Esperanto pair and has also done a lot of work on apertium-dixtools. He was mentor for the successful Swedish--Danish project in 2009's GSOC, and the successful Java port of Apertium in 2010.
Sergio Ortiz Rojas is the senior programmer at Prompsit Language Engineering and is responsible for most of the engine code in Apertium; he is, therefore, the developer of reference when it comes to develop new code for the platform. He was mentor for 2009's successful lttoolbox-java project, and 2010's unsuccessful VM project.
Juan Antonio Pérez Ortiz is a lecturer at the Universitat d'Alacant, he was a mentor for the Apertium project in 2009 and mentored the successful scalable web service project.
Gema Ramírez Sánchez is manager of Prompsit Language Engineering, a company providing services based on Apertium. She has worked on the project for many years, on pairs including Spanish--Catalan, French--Spanish, Spanish--Portuguese and French--Catalan. She is also our backup organisation administrator.
Jimmy O'Regan is based in Ireland, he is the instigator and developer of the English--Polish language pair, and also works on, well, almost everything. He was a mentor for 2009's successful apertium-service project, and 2010's successful Czech-Polish MT project.
Felipe Sánchez Martínez is an lecturer in Computer Science at the Universitat d'Alacant. He is responsible for coding the part-of-speech tagger of Apertium as well as the maintainer of packages apertium-tagger-training-tools and apertium-transfer-tools. He was mentor of the trigram tagger project in 2009, which was successful.
Kevin Scannell is head of Computer Science at Saint Louis University. He is known in the free software community for his work on Irish, and has been working on Irish--Scottish Gaelic in Apertium. He was a mentor in 2009, although his student was unsuccessful, we are happy to have him back this year.
Trond Trosterud is a lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Tromsø. He has worked on language technology for many years and was mentor on 2009's successful Norwegian Nynorsk--Norwegian Bokmål project, and acted as co-mentor on both the multiwords and Sámi-Finnish MT projects.
Francis Tyers is a graduate student of Computer Science at the Universitat d'Alacant. He is the main developer of several language packages and has worked on several more. He mentored 2009's successful multi-engine MT project, and 2010's successful French-Portuguese MT project.
Lluís Villarejo Muñoz is a project manager in natural language processing (NLP) at the Office of Learning Technologies of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. He leads the project integrating Apertium into their translation systems and has been involved in many other NLP development projects. He has a unique perspective as both a large-scale user and developer of Apertium. He mentored last year's successful 'Advanced Web Interface' project.
- What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students?
- Students will be encouraged to let us know how they want to break up their time, and to try and plan for holidays and absences. This will avoid both mentors and students wasting time. If a mentor reports the unscheduled disappearance of a student (72-hour silence), they will be contacted by the administrators. If silence persists, their task will be frozen and we will report to Google.
- What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors?
- It is quite unlikely, since all of the mentors are very active developers, with long-term commitment to the project — they are people we have met face-to-face at conferences, workshops or even in daily life. If a mentor fails to respond adequately to a student, they will have been instructed to contact the administrators. The administrators will examine the situation; if disappearance (48 hour silence) is confirmed, they will be assigned a different mentor and Google will be informed.
- What steps will you take to encourage students to interact with your project's community before, during and after the program?
- Developers who have been chosen as mentors will be available for as long as possible at the
#apertiumIRC channel — or another agreed on messaging system — so that the student may receive guidance with any problem they may have during development and before taking decisions on which task to select.
- As we did in 2009 and 2010, we will try to get them involved as early as possible in the project, by granting them developer status, so they can modify code and data as any other developer would.
- For the past two years, we have organised an academic workshop, FreeRBMT (FreeRBMT2009, FreeRBMT2011)
- If you are a small or new organization applying to GSoC, please list a larger, established GSoC organization or a Googler that can vouch for you here.
- Not applicable
- If you are a large organization who is vouching for a small organization applying to GSoC for their first time this year, please list their name and why you think they'd be good candidates for GSoC here
LanguageTool is an open source grammar checker for (among others) OpenOffice/LibreOffice. They have a strong tradition of mentoring within their community, which would translate well to GSoC.
GrammarSoft ApS is the company behind the Constraint Grammar (CG) software. The main developer of the project, Tino Didriksen, has been in contact with Apertium for a number of years, and has always been keen to help, implement new feature improvements, and debug changes that we have made.
HFST is based at the University of Helsinki. A PhD student in their project, Tommi Pirinen mentored last year for Apertium, and his project was a great success. Their group is responsive to emails and very eager to help people use their software.
The Institute of Interdisciplinary studies, Warsaw University, Poland, are developing a range of tools for corpus linguistics. As educators, they are in constant contact with students.