We believe that it’s high time for a Ruby science gem. Sometimes when a solution of sugar and water becomes super-saturated, from it precipitates a pure, delicious, and diabetes-inducing crystal of sweetness, induced by no more than the tap of a finger. So it is, we believe, with the need for numeric and visualization libraries in Ruby. SciRuby is that library.
Let’s talk about NMatrix.
NMatrix is SciRuby’s linear algebra component, with support for dense and sparse matrices. The first commit for NMatrix was in December 2011; the first alpha was released in April 2012, and the second alpha at the end of August 2012.
We stumbled upon this great funding model. We support a graduate student for a single academic term. She or he gets a potential publication and a stipend. In return, we get features — but more importantly, we get someone who knows and cares about our code base and will likely donate time and energy in the future.
You basically can’t get a better return. The second alpha was largely the work of a SciRuby Fellow (sponsored by Brighter Planet), Chris Wailes, over the course of his three-month part-time summer fellowship (just $16 per day). Plus, Chris is sticking around and continuing to contribute.
We want to do it again. But this time, we want to provide enough support that NMatrix can be the primary focus for an entire academic term. No distractions. That means pay competitive with the student’s home higher education institution — still a bargain, at one-third the cost of a software engineer with similar experience.
- stipend competitive with those of research assistantships at public universities (typically between $1500 and 2000 per month);
- support periods compatible with academic terms at the fellows’ home institutions (typically three to four months); and
- eligibility for only one academic term (i.e., a semester or quarter)
It is our belief that fellows are more likely to donate time to the project even after their terms are up. Thus, by limiting eligibility to only one academic term, we ensure that as many future contributors as possible are trained on the SciRuby/NMatrix code base.
What can you do?
Help us support a fellow. That means as little as $4,500 or as much as $8,000 — or maybe far less than $4,500 if we can find matching funds. It’s okay if you can only give a few dollars. Every little bit helps.
We also need mentors. Please do contact us if you wish to volunteer, particularly if you’re a researcher or investigator.
If you’re a business interested in investing in SciRuby, don’t hesitate to reach out. We love to post links to sponsors on the website.