Writing a Phyloinformatics Project Idea

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A critical part of an organizational application to the Google Summer of Code is the list of project ideas. Here are some guidelines for prospective mentors about writing a suitable and well-scoped project idea:

  • The problem should be scoped so that it is tractable by a student (who may not know all the technologies yet) over a period of 12 weeks of programming.
  • Projects need not require ninja programming skills. Less technical projects are a good opportunity to introduce aspiring programmers to the phyloinformatics community. You may want to suggest some ways that your idea can be modified for students with various levels of programming skill.
  • Students will be working remotely the entire time. Project ideas requiring face-to-face contact or a nearby office with the student are unsuitable for GSoC (although such projects may arise, and are acceptable, if you get an application from a student in your local grad student community).
  • Google stipulates that the project be about programming (and not documentation, or wet-lab experiments, or research in computational biology).
  • The code that the student writes (as well as the software project that is the context) needs to be open-source licensed (with an OSI-approved license), and its source code needs to be publicly downloadable (or, better yet, already in a publicly accessible source code repository).
  • Team up with others who may be interested in co-mentoring a student on your project idea. Empirical evidence suggests that at least 2 mentors (one primary, one backup) per student are best. We will eventually need someone to be designated as the primary mentor among a group of co-mentors, but this need not be decided until the stage in which student applications are ranked.
  • Enter your project idea on the Ideas page before the mentoring organization application is submitted. If we are accepted, you can add details and refine the project later.
  • Keep in mind that the students will write the project proposals, not you. A project idea should be just that - an idea, albeit well thought through.
  • Absolutely use the wg-phyloinformatics@nescent.org mailing list to get feedback about your project idea, or offer feedback on other ideas.

Project ideas from previous years