Report on Grace Hopper Open Source Day

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If it is the Saturday after the Grace Hopper Conference then it has been a given for the past 4 years that a Sahana team has been a sponsor of the very popular Open Source Day (OSD) event.  October 5 found Louiqa, Pat and three University of Maryland undergraduate student facilitators – Deonna Hodges, Naomi Wilcox and Aboli Kumthekar – at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Needless to say, a virtual Fran also participated.

We chose social media as our theme for this year. Pat kicked off the event with some recollections of supporting several human intelligence applications including translating and geo-coding tweets after the 2010 Haiti earthquake and recent election monitoring in Kenya. This struck a chord with several participants. Quoting Selvi, a graduate student at the University of Florida, “I have used FOSS in the fields of high-performance computing, machine learning, MapReduce .. but I just found out about HFOSS today – and this to me is a category [where] I am much more excited to be contributing …” Nabila is from Bangladesh and she will try to find us a student team from her undergraduate university to host a Sahana localization.

The codeathon was off to a bumpy start; installing either the virtual machine or the manual install of Eden gave several errors for Mac users. Once this was accomplished, we  worked on setting up authentication to get tweets from Twitter. Deonna and Neetu extended the msg table and the controllers and views to perform a simple human intelligence task to classify the tweet into one of 5 categories. We borrowed the civic incident related categories from the Incident reporting menu. Due to our delayed start, the team continued to finish the code while the OSD organizers kept urging us to return to the main assembly for demonstrations and a wrap up session.  We presented the first demo in this session which was good timing since later teams included some adorable and very excited high school students.

While OSD is well attended, this year we had to compete with almost a dozen open source projects to attract participants. Other popular projects included cloud and mobile application projects, as well as projects sponsored by Microsoft and Google. We were excited to welcome Professor Patricia Ordonez from the University of Puerto Rico and she plans to include Sahana programming into one of her courses in the coming year.

I hope that we will continue the tradition … Grace Hopper 2014 is scheduled to be held in Phoenix, Arizona.

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