Undergraduate Research Experience in Open Source Projects at UCSC

The Center for Research in Open Source Software (CROSS) teaches students how to productively engage in open source communities, funds high-impact research with potential of creating successful open source projects, and incubates developer communities around research prototypes. As part of this, CROSS supports a number of research and incubator fellows and their open source projects on a varying range of topics at the UCSC Baskin School of Engineering. There are a number of ways in which undergraduate students can get involved in these projects including: senior or capstone projects; class projects; and summer projects. Students can also choose to contribute independently of specific coursework in order to build developer experience under the exceptional mentorship of CROSS fellows in technologies that are highly valued in the job market (e.g. Ceph and DevOps).

CROSS has created a list of project ideas that can be used as a basis for project proposals. Due to the open source nature of all CROSS projects, contributions are welcomed from everyone, including non-UCSC students.

Each listed project idea includes a mentor (usually the project fellow or associated faculty) and a general indication of the project requirements. Most project ideas assume a project length of one or two quarters, although other durations are possible depending on the specifics of the actual project proposal. Project fellows, in coordination with a student’s academic advisor or course instructor, will mentor students on how to adjust aspects of the project proposal to fit their academic/course work needs while still keeping the contribution valuable for the open source project.

Research Experience Opportunities:

Summer Projects. Project ideas can also be the basis for summer project proposals. For the summer of 2020, CROSS announced its first Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Open Source Projects at UCSC – which plans to provide stipends for undergraduate summer programs. Read this for more information. Similar to the Google Summer of Code, students should coordinate with associated mentors. For past examples of GSoC summer projects at CROSS, see the ones from 2018 and 2019.

Senior Thesis and Capstone Projects. Upper division students can select a project idea as the basis for their final projects in both Senior Thesis and Capstone coursework. Students should reach out to project mentors early in the thesis or capstone design process to assure the selected activity is appropriate for the student’s ability level and the project’s overall needs.

Class Projects. Students at all levels are encouraged to use project ideas for courses throughout their time as undergraduates. A class project proposal should coincide with a student’s class requirement as well as make a valuable contribution. The mentor associated with a project idea can provide some guidance on what makes a contribution valuable.

Independent Student Contributors. Students generally interested in open source can also contribute in order to build experience working on open source projects and interacting in open source communities. Students who are interested in particular project ideas should propose a scope of work to associated mentors.

For more information on CROSS projects in general please email cross-info@ucsc.edu; for information on specific CROSS projects, email the mentors listed on the project list or at https://cross.ucsc.edu/projects/index.html.