[llvm-dev] [lldb-dev] LLVM GSOC Projects Criteria Consultation (before 2/28)

Hal Finkel via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Fri Feb 17 08:36:53 PST 2017

On 02/17/2017 12:16 AM, Mehdi Amini via lldb-dev wrote:
> Hello all,
> GSOC is around the corner, and the LLVM projects plans to participate 
> again this year. For those who don’t know about GSOC, students are 
> proposing a project that they will work on for 3 months. Amongst 
> other, one goal for LLVM is to mentor students to become good 
> developers and also contributors to the LLVM project (or user/advocate 
> of LLVM for building other cool projects).
> A key part of the process is about how do we select the projects. The 
> way we’ve done it last year, is that the volunteer mentors shared an 
> email thread and ultimately each one individually ranked the projects. 
> We kept the average grading for each project to ranked them overall.
> In order to make the process more transparent to student applicants, 
> we want to formalize and announce the criteria for ranking and 
> selection project.
> The purpose of this email is to gather community feedback about the 
> criterion that mentors should apply when ranking projects, for example:
> - Should we favor a student which has past contributions to LLVM 
> compared to a newcomer? Is it more important or as equally important 
> as the quality of the proposal?

I think that the quality of the proposal is the most important thing, 
however, we should be realistic about the amount of time it will take to 
bring a newcomer up to speed on our coding conventions, quality 
standards, review process, etc. and factor that into the decision-making 

> - How should we rank (if any) “research or unbounded projects” vs 
> “project with an immediate application”? Should we strive to keep a 
> balance?

Given the short time period involved, I favor projects of more immediate 
utility. This does not mean that there can't be interesting open 
questions, but in our judgment, these should be answerable in a matter 
of weeks (i.e. choosing between clear alternatives, understood tuning 
parameters, and the like).

> - What about “projects that touch LLVM/Clang/…” vs “projects that are 
> building something on top of LLVM”? (For example this project was 
> first proposed to be selected by LLVM before being rejected and 
> finally picked by the Julia project directly: 
> https://summerofcode.withgoogle.com/archive/2016/projects/6197080536121344/ 
> )?

I think we need to base this on the overall benefit to the community. If 
working on a project built on top of LLVM will bring additional users, 
end up making LLVM more robust, etc. then there might be significant 
anticipated value. That having been said, in practice, justifying this 
value will probably be more difficult than for a project contributing to 
LLVM, Clang, etc.

> - Should we ask that the work is done upstream all along? In the past 
> there have been project developed on GitHub outside the community that 
> have never been merged. The LLVM developer policy has a full section 
> insisting on incremental development ( 
> http://llvm.org/docs/DeveloperPolicy.html#incremental-development ).

I think we should insist on incremental upstream development.

Thanks again,

> Hopefully we should be able to provide a set of guidelines to student 
> that would help them fill the best application, and avoid unfortunate 
> surprise at the end of the process.
> We should have this discussion before receiving the projects 
> proposals, which opens on 2/28.
> Best,
> -- 
> Mehdi
> _______________________________________________
> lldb-dev mailing list
> lldb-dev at lists.llvm.org
> http://lists.llvm.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/lldb-dev

Hal Finkel
Lead, Compiler Technology and Programming Languages
Leadership Computing Facility
Argonne National Laboratory

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