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The purpose of this page is to organize the organization application of the Jikes RVM to the Google SoC.

Describe your organization.

Jikes RVM (Research Virtual Machine) provides a flexible open testbed to prototype virtual machine technologies and experiment with a large variety of design alternatives. It differs from other JVM projects in that it is written in Java whilst having a full adaptive optimization framework. It is a vehicle for testing a wide range of ideas including compiler research, memory management research, Java operating systems, computer architecture, and aspect oriented programming to name a few. Over 150 research papers have been published which use Jikes RVM.

Why is your organization applying to participate in GSoC 2008? What do you hope to gain by participating?

We hope to participate in the GSoC so that we can attract new contributors, ane make them familiar with the system. We are offering a wide range of projects, some involve very novel ideas, others involve interesting engineering, while others require more straightforward coding. We hope that fixes and improvements can occur in some of the neglected parts of the source code.

Did your organization participate in past GSoCs? If so, please summarize your involvement and the successes and challenges of your participation.

We participated for the first time in the GSoC 2007. We were very successful in creating project ideas and were able to attract mentors from around the world, in both academia and industry. We were able to select 6 projects:

  1. graph colouring register allocator
  2. instruction scheduling
  3. Java management API
  4. vectorization
  5. JDWP
  6. MC2 Garbage Collector

these projects had their source code made available and have, or are being, integrated into Jikes RVM projects or the main code base.

We faced a number of challenges last year, a common challenge being with communication. This year we will use an application template so that problems we identified last year can be ironed out at the application stage.

If your organization has not previously participated in GSoC, have you applied in the past? If so, for what year(s)?

We have participated in the past.

Who will your organization administrator be? Please include Google Account information.

Dr. Ian Rogers (TODO: add details)

What license(s) does your project use?

The Common Public License (CPL) version 1.0

What is the URL for your ideas page?

Project Proposals 2008

What is the main development mailing list or forum for your organization?

jikesrvm-researchers@lists.sourceforge.net is our main user list.

jikesrvm-core@lists.sourceforge.net is our main development list.

What is the main IRC channel for your organization?

irc://irc.codehaus.org/jikesrvm

although more commonly our developers are found on GNU Classpath's IRC channel

irc://irc.gnu.org/classpath

Does your organization have an application template you would like to see students use? If so, please provide it now.

Yes, Application Template

Who will be your backup organization administrator? Please include Google Account information.

Steve Blackburn

Who will your mentors be? Please include Google Account information.

Peter Barth (JNode)
Michael Bond
Tim Ellison (Harmony)
Robin Garner
Tony Hosking
Andrew Hughes
Richard Jones
Kathryn McKinley
Eliot Moss
Ian Rogers

More mentors please volunteer! TODO: get more mentors

What criteria did you use to select these individuals as mentors? Please be as specific as possible.

Ideally mentors are members of the Jikes RVM core development team and therefore proven experts in the Jikes RVM, JVM and Garbage Collection technologies. It is a requirement of core team members that they have made contributions to Jikes RVM. As with last year we'd like to recruit mentors who are familiar with the Jikes RVM from their own industrial and academic work but who aren't core development team members. Last year we were very successful in attracting pledges of being a mentor from notable members of the research community. As some of the projects wish to integrate the Jikes RVM with other open source projects, we have mentors from those projects.

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students?

Our experience from last year is that communication is key in understanding the students needs. Its a requirement for students to communicate with mentors and explain problems they are having. These may often not be technical problems. In the case that a student isn't communicating then primarily the mentor and when appropriate the administrator are responsible for chasing the student up. By friendly and timely mentoring we hope to help students deal with the steep learning curves they may face on their project, or how to carry out changes within the community for maximum benefit.

As with last year, we aim not have inter-dependent projects, so the impact of a student leaving is limited to the missing student and the project they were engaged in.

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors?

The Jikes RVM core team (from which most of the mentors are drawn) is very well established and stable, indeed last year we had no problems with core team member mentors disappearing. For each project there will be at least one mentor from the Jikes RVM core team. As established members of the Jikes RVM community, we expect mentors will be fully available to aid students during the GSoC. Each of the mentors has overlapping skill sets. We assign back up mentors to aid the primary mentor in the case that a student faces a problem outside the mentors skill set. In the unlikely event that a mentor is unable to help a student then we will shift responsibility for that student on to another mentor with similar skills to the mentor who has become unavailable.

What steps will you take to encourage students to interact with your project's community before, during and after the program?

The primary means of communication for the project are via e-mail, messaging, IRC and bug trackers. We will give all students a warm welcome on all of our forums. As a student working on the project they will rapidly get the skills where they can be full members of the development community. Mentors will be encouraged to let students report on their work and engage the community as a whole. If appropriate different forms of communication can be used, such as telephone and skype. We hope students will be proud of their work and supportive of the project. The skills they learn can be stepping stones to their future career. The more they can understand about the system the more people they can interact with and the better they can improve their own skills.

What will you do to ensure that your accepted students stick with the project after GSoC concludes?

We hope to continue to engage the students with the many bugs and improvement requests the project gets. We hope the students will have the confidence to look at our trackers and contribute as they feel best. As a development community we will continue to be supportive of their contributions. We also hope this year that students can let us know how we can be more supportive and how they would like to engage with the development community in the longer term.

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