The Center for Research in Open Source Software (CROSS) is a cooperative research program at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) under the Baskin School of Engineering (BSOE). CROSS is modeled after the NSF Industry / University Collaborative Research Center (I/UCRC), one of the country’s largest cooperative research programs, recognized for its administrative, scientific, and technological successes. Similar to successful open source projects, the I/UCRC model represents a social technology that consists of a replicable set of structures, procedures, roles, and practices for linking industry and university research needs and activities. The core features include an organizational structure, a membership agreement (which mandates all CROSS project software to be shared with an open source license), and a set of standard procedures related to periodic meetings, project selection, etc. The collective format of CROSS ensures focus on projects that are of interest to multiple members or a whole industry and is a natural match to the goals of open source projects.
Much of the funding for CROSS projects from from our industry members. All members become part of the Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) which provides guidance for CROSS research areas and offer mentorship for open source projects led by students. The benefits of CROSS membership include: more direct access to talent, including potential future employees and customers knowledgeable in products and technologies of CROSS members; having constructive influence on the direction of CROSS open source software projects; and the ability to review and evaluate research and incubator projects.
CROSS has two types of projects – research projects and incubators.
Research Projects are lead by a principal investigator (typically a UCSC faculty member) who advises the student(s) involved in the project. Graduate students with an interest in open source software are highly encouraged to contact CROSS to see what opportunities may be currently available in current or prospective projects.
The CROSS Incubators are designed to support newly graduated PhD students from any institution make their projects sustainable. This program is similar to a post-doc position and proposals can be submitted by any recent PhD student with a relevant open source software project.
Proposal are considered at our regular Industry Advisory Board meetings. UCSC faculty, experts, or senior graduate students are welcomed to propose Research Projects to CROSS; UC faculty and recent PhD graduates from any institution are welcome to propose Incubator Projects. A call for proposal will be posted about six weeks prior to the IAB meeting with specific requirements for the application and proposed topics. Applicants who are short listed for consideration are expected to present their proposal at the IAB meeting, either in person or remotely. The IAB members make funding recommendations to the UCSC Advisory Committee. The Committee makes the final decision about which proposals will be funded. Final decisions are typically communicated to applicants within two weeks of the IAB meeting.
Open-source software (OSS) refers to computer software that is designed to be publicly accessible. OSS allows open collaboration on enhancement and modification of source code. OSS development benefits from having a diverse group of contributors. This open collaboration can help OSS projects progress at a faster pace than projects undertaken in a closed, proprietary setting. The OSS model can create force multipliers that makes software development more cost efficient and robust than other models.