GSoC 2012 Application Template

Aaron Meurer edited this page Apr 27, 2013 · 33 revisions

GSoC 2012 Application Template

Things to do

  • Join the SymPy mailing list and introduce yourself. Not only do we get to know you, but you can use the mailing list to get feedback on project ideas and get help as you start working with the codebase.
  • Write and submit a proposal to the Google Summer of Code website ( If you want to, you can draft your project proposal on our wiki ( This is not required, but if you do, we will help you proofread it. See the section below for how to name and link to your application so we can easily find it. You may take a look at the old applications to see how they did things, links to pages containing old applications can be found on the wiki main page.
  • You will need to create an account on GitHub and send a patch. See below.

Writing your proposal

To be considered, a GSoC application must have a written proposal submitted to

If you want, you can start a wiki page to work on your proposal at If you add your proposal there, we will help you edit it and provide feedback (though understand that we will not help you write it). You can add your application to our [[list of current applications|GSoC-2012-Current-Applications]]. To maintain a consistent naming scheme, title your application: "GSoC 2012 Application <Your Name>: <Project Name>". Old applications can be found either through the links on the main page of the wiki or by browsing through _pages.

Note that your final application must be submitted at, so do not worry about the formatting of your application on the wiki, as you will have to reformat it there. You should not be too concerned with the formatting in Melange either, as we understand that the text editor there is not the best for making things look nice formatting-wise. We are more concerned with the content of your application, and that it is readable.

You may be able to get equivalent formatting in Melange from the wiki by copying the webpage contents or messing with the html source, but you shouldn't worry about it too much.

You should include the following information in your proposal:

About You

Please put this information at the top of your proposal.

  • Name
  • University / current enrollment
  • Short bio / overview of your background
  • How can we contact you (email, IRC handle, GitHub username, Google Code username, etc.)? This information will help us associate all of your various usernames with you.

Your Coding Skills

In your project proposal let us know

  • What platform do you use to code?
  • How long have you been using Python? What would you consider your level of expertise in Python to be? Don't worry if you are not an expert. Python is an easy programming language to learn, so you can get up-to-speed very quickly.
  • Have you ever used git or another version control system? Don't worry if you haven't--we will teach you everything--we simply want to know about it if you have.

Your Project

Answer the following questions in your proposal:

  • What do you want to achieve?
  • If you have chosen an idea from our list, why did you choose this specific idea?
  • If you are proposing a project of your own, what is unique about it?
  • What qualifications do you have to implement your idea. For example, if you are implementing solvers for partial differential equations, what courses have you taken or books have you read on PDEs?
  • What makes you suited to do the project?
  • How much time do you plan to invest in the project before, during, and after the Summer of Code? (we expect full time 40h/week during GSoC, but better make this explicit) If you plan to take any vacations over the summer, let us know about it here.
  • Please provide a schedule of how this time will be spent on sub-tasks of the project over the period of the summer. While this is only preliminary, we will use it to help monitor your progress throughout the program. Also understand that during the project you will issue weekly progress reports against that plan on your blog.
  • In planning your project, it is good to note where along the way you could formulate a pull request. These would be points where you can have a self contained and well documented and tested piece of functionality. Doing this at several points during the summer helps to keep branch merges reasonable and code reviews manageable. A big code dump at the end of the summer will likely be hard to review and merge before the project deadline.

You do not need to format your application as a question/answer format for the above questions, but we expect to see all of the above questions answered in your application somewhere.

Patch requirement

In addition to the written proposal, we require every GSoC applicant to write a patch and get it pushed into our current master. To do this:

  • Set up your platform to develop with SymPy (install git, clone, execute tests). The page on our Development-workflow will walk you through setting up git and lays out our preferred way of development.
  • Create an account at GitHub and fork SymPy (
  • Find something in SymPy that doesn't work or needs improvement and send us a git patch fixing it (if you need inspiration, feel free to fix any issue from our easy to fix issues list. Aside from the issues, search for FIXME or TODO in the code. You can grep from the command line with the following: grep -r -H "TODO" . You could also search for NotImplementedErrors and XFAILs). You could also play with SymPy and find something that needs fixing or that could be implemented, and do it.
  • If your project will use a language other than Python (e.g., JavaScript), you should submit patches that use that language as well, so that we know that you know you are proficient in that language.
  • Report success on the SymPy list
  • Publish your patch for peer review by creating a pull request on GitHub. You must submit a patch that is successfully reviewed and pushed in to be accepted. We do not consider applications without patches. This shows us that you know Python and that you are able to interact with the community. Furthermore, your patch must go through a GitHub pull request (as opposed to a patch file on an issue, for example), as this is the easiest way for us to review your code.
  • If you need help with anything, ask on the sympy list or our IRC channel (#sympy on Freenode) (don't be afraid if you don't know git for example. We'll teach you everything that is needed, the only required thing from you is enthusiasm and willingness to learn new things)
  • In your application, please provide a brief summary of your contributions to SymPy so far, including unmerged work. At at least one link to a merged pull request proving that you satisfied the patch requirement.
  • Note that because we may be slow to review the pull requests, you do not have to have your request merged by the application deadline (though you should try to do it if you can!). But you do need to at least have one submitted by then. We will give priority to reviewing requests that are needed to satisfy patch requirements. It is up to you to respond to our feedback in a timely enough manner so that your patch gets merged before the acceptance deadline.
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