Bio4j goes to GSoC mentor summit 2014

I just got home yesterday from San Francisco after attending together with @eparejatobes to the 10th edition of the Google Summer of Code mentor summit. It’s been a great experience that I would like to share with you all in this blog post ;) For those of you who still don’t know what GSoC is, here’s a debrief:

Google Summer of Code is a program that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source projects. We work with many open source, free software, and technology-related groups to identify and fund projects over a three month period.

This was Bio4j’s first year as a GSoC organization and we got three students who worked in the following projects:

It also was my first experience as a mentor and I must say that I both learned and enjoyed it a lot during the process.

The events started on Friday with a complimentary visit to the theme park Great America, nice! followed by a really cool dinner reception at the San Jose Tech Museum of Innovation where we had surprise speakers such as Linus Torvals plus the opportunity of exploring the geeky exhibits from the museum while having some drinks.

We were supposed to dress smart for a change, which was interesting, seeing all these people wearing nice clothes :)

I must say that I had to watch around 20 minutes of youtube videos before I managed to get the knot tie right… xD

Sessions started early the next day with more than eight simultaneous rooms (without taking into account the impromptu sessions that were organized at the ballroom from time to time) and went on till the evening.

It was the first time that I went to an unconference and I just loved it. It is actually great to have the opportunity to explore the different sessions and meet up with people on the way spontaneously, without all the rigidity that so many times comes with “standard” conferences.

Meeting in person people from the Reactome database project was cool since we plan to include this data source into Bio4j in the near future. It was also nice to see in person some of the guys that I’ve been following on twitter for a while like @braincode among others. I also found a good idea the fact of having both the sticker exchange table and the tea-room filled with chocolates from all over the world! The day ended with a quiz show that I unfortunately couldn’t join but, I read on twitter that it was quite funny.

On Sunday we opened the day with a trip to Googleplex where we could see the actual place where the Google folks work on.

There was some time left for a couple more sessions and then we unfortunately had to say bye to all the new acquaintances we made after attending the closing session at the hotel.

I would like to end this post by thanking all the people that helped out on the organization of this awesome summit. Also a special thanks to @fossygirl, great job!

Stay tuned for the next post, we will be releasing a shiny new version of Bio4j based on Titan very soon ;)