As a PhD student at INI, I have had the pleasure this summer to participate to the Google Summer of Code 2012 (http://code.google.com/soc/), a worldwide program run by Google that funds students to work for three months for open source organisations as software developers. Among the participating 180 open source organisations this year, there have been many projects related to the development of tools for scientific purposes, such as bioinformatic software, crowdsourcing biological games to involve the general public, libraries for hardware and sensors, and even the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (http://www.incf.org/) has hosted 6 interesting projects. Personally I have contributed to the development of an application for Cytoscape 3.0 (http://www.cytoscape.org/) to support visualisation and analysis of dynamic networks. Cytoscape is a powerful tool to visualise network data in the form of graphs with nodes, edges, and attributes, but until now focused mainly on static data. Developing the software infrastructure to deal with dynamic data, that is graphs that change in time, while the main code of Cytoscape 3.0 was under active development, has been an interesting - and successful- challenge. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6RkMQpOmDs The ability to visualize and understand dynamic data is very important in our own research, which addresses how genetic regulatory programs orchestrate the development of cortical architectures in different species. The development of open source tools to address this type of data is not only of personal interest, but is also directed to reach a broader scientific community, and possibly involve more people in the future of this project. I'm looking forward to what the next Google Summer of Code has to bring!
- S. Pfister