Google Summer of Code/Application 2017

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Why does your org want to participate in Google Summer of Code?
  • Apertium likes GSoC: it is a programme that supports free/open-source (FOS) software as much as we do!
  • Apertium needs GSoC: it offers an incredible opportunity (and resources!) allowing us to spread the word about our project, to attract new developers and consolidate the contribution of existing developers through mentoring and to improve the platform in many ways: improving the engine, generating new tools and user interfaces, making Apertium available to other applications, improving the quality of the languages currently supported, adding new languages to it.
  • Apertium is committed to the advancement of less-resourced languages and GSoC gives an opportunity for computer-literate students speaking those challenged languages to generate FOS language technologies for them.

By participating we will gain: more students getting to know FOS software and the ethos that comes with it, contributing to it and, very especially students who are passionate about languages and computers.

How many potential mentors have agreed to mentor this year?
How will you keep mentors engaged with their students?

We select our mentors among very active developers, with long-term commitment to this decade-old project — they are people we know well and whom we have met face-to-face at conferences, workshops or even in daily life; some of them teach and do research at universities or work at companies using Apertium. For this reason, it is quite unlikely for mentors to disappear, since of them are well embedded in our community. However, there is always the possibility that some problem comes up, so we also assign backup mentors to all students, in many cases more than one backup. If a mentor cannot continue for whatever reason, one of the backup co-mentors will take over, and one of the organisation administrators will take on the role of second backup mentor.

How will you help your students stay on schedule to complete their projects?

We will only accept applications that contain a well-defined weekly schedule, with clear milestones and deliverables and, if possible, with a section on risk management (risks, their probability, their severity, and mitigating actions). Applications should also plan for holidays and try and plan for other absences. Students will be encouraged to let us know if they need to reschedule or take a break, should the need arise. Students may also need consultation when they are stuck, or personal matters interfere with their work: we will try our best to reach out for them, be open and friendly, and provide as much support as we can to help them out. We've been students too! Detailed scheduling 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, to proceed according to the rules of GSoC.

How will you get your students involved in your community during GSoC?

First, we encourage all of our students visit our IRC channel (#apertium @ freenode) as often as possible, even before the start of the program, since that would help them find a suitable mentor and a useful project that they can work on. We advice them strongly to read our Wiki pages and manuals, use our system, try to break it and fix it, and finally tell us about it. As a result, students get familiar with Apertium before the coding period starts, which increases their chances of ending up with a successful project. In addition, we define coding challenges for each of the proposed projects, which serve both as an entry task, and as means for getting our students familiar with Apertium and involved in our community in the early stages of the program. Finally, during the coding stage, we are available to talk to our students on a daily basis and give them suggestions and advice when they get stuck.

How will you keep students involved with your community after GSoC?

We have found that the following has helped us have quite a high retention rate in previous years: Helping students out publishing papers for conferences, or assisting with academic work. Organising workshops (such as FreeRBMT) or courses (such as where students can present their work to the wider community. Encouraging students to get involved in mentoring themselves, through the Google Code-In programme. Passing on information about MSc and PhD positions, and academic and other grants.

Has your org been accepted as a mentor org in Google Summer of Code before?

Yes: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016.

What year was your project started?