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

Anna Zaks via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Fri Feb 17 18:10:19 PST 2017

> On Feb 16, 2017, at 10:16 PM, Mehdi Amini via llvm-dev <llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org> 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?

While students with previous LLVM dev experience will be more productive, GSoC is a great way of attracting newcomers to the project! So if a proposal is scoped to be completed in time even by someone not familiar with LLVM, we should still accept it.

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

My preference would be to give priority to projects that are on a trajectory to have practical benefit. 

> - 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/ <https://summerofcode.withgoogle.com/archive/2016/projects/6197080536121344/> )?
> - 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 <http://llvm.org/docs/DeveloperPolicy.html#incremental-development> ).

An invaluable part of participating in GSoC is for students to learn about how open source projects work. Following the developer policy is one of the main aspects of development in these codebases. In addition, if a project is being developed on a branch it is likely not to get merged and the impact of the student, the mentor, as well as the GSoC budget will be minimal.

> 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
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