Entries tagged with “gsoc” from Computer Science Department News

Five students from the Institute for Visualization and Perception Research (IVPR) at UMass Lowell were accepted into the Google Summer of Code program this summer.

Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is an international program that awards stipends to software developers to write code for open-source software projects. GSoC pairs students with mentors who are experienced in real-world software development. At the end of the summer, source code created during the program is released as open-source.

Each student worked to improve Weave, the free open-source data visualization and analysis platform that was developed by the IVPR and released in 2011:

  • Sanjay Anbalagan (doctoral student): Extending the Open-source Weave Analysis and Visualization Platform for the Biological Community. Sanjay designed a process that accesses multiple publicly available gene expression data sets, imports that data into Weave and uses Weave analysis features to examine, visualize and compare gene expression profiles.
  • Andrew Dufilie (doctoral student): Asynchronous Rendering to Support Large Data Sets in Weave. Andy improved Weave performance by developing a threading system for its single-threaded ActionScript code base. This means the interface remains highly responsive even when visualizing large data sets of 300,000 records or more.
  • John Fallon (senior): Collaboration in Visualization. John created, implemented and tested the first version of collaboration in the Weave environment, allowing multiple users to work together, simultaneously and remotely, when creating visualizations and performing data analysis in Weave.
  • Heather Granz (doctoral student): An Accessibility Module for Visualizations Using Weave, an Open- source Visualization Platform. Heather developed and tested a Weave-to-JAWS interface that provides descriptions of Weave visualizations in text format. This work is a first step in a larger, more ambitious project that will eventually allow Weave to generate natural language text descriptions of interactive visualizations that are compatible with the JAWS screen-reading system.
  • Sebastin Kolman (doctoral student): InfoMaps: A Tool for Personal Information Management and Analysis. Sebastin implemented InfoMaps, a visualization tool for personal information management, in the Weave environment and extended its support for document visualization and analysis including local file systems.
All five students felt they had benefited from the Google program.

According to senior John Fallon, “It was a positive experience -- getting to contribute to an open-source project, working with experienced programmers and having a professor as a mentor the whole way through”.

Doctoral student, Andy Dufilie, the Weave project engineer, noted, “The major architectural changes I made produced unexpected consequences, requiring much more work than originally planned. The takeaway is to always expect the unexpected when estimating development time.”

The Institute for Visualization and Perception Research at UMass Lowell is led by Prof. Georges Grinstein.

GSOC  IVPR students.jpg
(L-R) 2012 Google Summer of Code alumni Sanjay Anbalagan, Sebastin Kolman, Andy Dufilie, Heather Granz and John Fallon. Their work expanded and improved Weave, the open-source data visualization and analysis platform.

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