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Subject: Re: [boost] [gsoc15] Attn: We need 2015 mentors and project ideas for Boost!
From: Niall Douglas (s_sourceforge_at_[hidden])
Date: 2015-02-12 08:27:42

On 12 Feb 2015 at 9:47, Thorsten Ottosen wrote:

> >> So each proposal needs a seperate competency test?
> >
> > Not necessarily. If the student has already written a library
> > exceeding 1000 lines then we can examine that in lieu of an exam. The
> > library just needs to be verifiable as not copy and pasted from
> > someone else. Past GSoCs count too of course.
> >
> > Usually for the competency test one asks for some small part of the
> > overall proposal. You're basically just checking if they can figure
> > out on their own how to build Boost, how to use Boost.Test etc. and
> > to get some look at their C++ ability e.g. do they understand
> > exception safety? If they can't manage that on their own, the chances
> > are low they would complete a GSoC anyway.
> I think if they cannot show code that have already made as students, it
> doesn't make much sense to expose them to a competency test, does it?

The submission of an existing library in lieu of a competency test is
only there for the 15% of applicants who have been actively
contributing to open source separately and independently from their
studies for a period long preceding their application to GSoC (a rule
of thumb is 12 months). It would be considered an extraordinary
rather than ordinary competency test. Typical coursework would not

We'll even take existing *library* code not written in C++. If, for
example, a student have five years worth of verified contributions to
the Linux kernel we would not ask for a competency test, even if they
are brand new to C++. All we really care about is if you can program,
if you have evidence of self motivation, and a work ethic. It also
helps if we see proof that you can differentiate between asking for
help when you really need it versus using advice as a crutch for

The competency test was brought in to address a mismatch of
expectations between students and mentors. This was leading to
disappointment for both sides in some cases. It is also in fact
optional, though those GSoC applications with a competency test or
equivalent will be completely recommended to Google for selection
before any applications without.

That said, setting a competency exam now rather than at the last
minute helps prospective students find out if a Boost GSoC is right
for them before application. Historically half to two thirds of
applications we receive every year stand no chance of selection, and
filtering those out costs us considerable time and effort.


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