Open Source Research Experience at UC Santa Cruz

Information on the Summer 2021 program is now available.


Inspired by Google Summer of Code, CROSS launched the Open Source Research Experience (OSRE) in the summer of 2020, a marketplace for open source project ideas that matches students to mentors, and engages members of industry to fund and participate in open source based summer internships. The goal of this program is to increase student capabilities in working in open source, add productive contributors to on-going projects, and further promote open source at UC Santa Cruz. The benefits for industry partners include the identification of potential recruits, the encouragement of open source practices in academic research, and early access to technologies in research prototypes. The benefits for participating students include the opportunity to work with mentors who are genuinely interested in outcomes and exposure to technologies that can significantly improve their job opportunities. OSRE rounds out the mission of CROSS to educate students by supporting their contribution to developer communities in open source projects and providing highly relevant open source experiences to undergrads.

CROSS values diversity and inclusion in all our projects. We invite students from traditionally underrepresented groups in tech and open source communities to apply to this program. Due to the open source nature of all CROSS projects, contributions are welcomed from both UC Santa Cruz and non-UC Santa Cruz students.

CROSS also accepts project ideas from mentors (UC Santa Cruz faculty, researchers and PhD students) not currently supported by CROSS. All projects must be open source to be considered for this program. See information for interested mentors below. 

Industry partners and other sponsors are welcome to support this program by signalling their interest in particular project idea portfolios. Sponsors support is used directly to fund these student summer internships. CROSS fellows will invite sponsoring organizations to participate in a blend of open source software strategies with graduate-level research in a concentrated environment of mentorship, including the opportunity to meet and interact with students and mentors, and an invitation to an end-of-summer presentation where they will show off the results of their work.

An overview of the sponsorship framework the upcoming 2021 program now is available.


Highlights from the Summer 2020 OSRE Program

In the summer of 2020, CROSS mentors supported 11 OSRE Summer Contributors:


School affiliation

Project name

Yotam Golan


Building a synthetic inconsistent database generator for CAvSAT

Max Tiao


LiveHD - LNAST Check Pass

Nicole Castillo


Reproducible Machine Learning Popper Workflows

Fernanda Dominguez


Reproducible SPDK, Seastar Popper Workflows

Edidiong Etuk

University of Uyo (Nigeria)

Add support for Podman Engine in Popper

Anders Poirel


Computational Science Reproducibility Guide & Associated Popper Workflows

Jayjeet Chakraborty*

NIT Durgapur (India)

SkyhookDM Large-scale Reproducibility Study Using Popper

Aditi Gupta**

NIT Karnataka (India)

Extend Skyhook with in-object aggregations, statistics, & table compaction for Arrow tables

Xiongfeng Song*

Rice University

Columnar op processing & Apache Arrow Dataset integration into Skyhook objects

Matthew Rhea


Python SQL client interface

Nathaniel Tjandra


Row, column, and date-based data partitioners for Arrow tables

* Student supported by IRIS-HEP fellowship              ** Student supported by GSoC internship

The OSRE student contributors presented their research at the CROSS 2020 Symposium; their lightning talks and posters are available via the Symposium website at Many students also authored reports on their summer work; these reports are available via the CROSS Blog at


Launch of OSRE program, June 2020


00:00 Introduction and Overview (Carlos Maltzahn) (see also blog post)
17:30 A Productive Open Source Hardware Flow (Jose Renau)
29:36 CAvSAT: Consistent Answers via Satisfiability (Akhil Dixit)
39:56 SkyhookDM: Storage and Management of Tabular Data in Ceph (Jeff LeFevre)
49:48 SkyhookDM/HDF5 (Quincey Koziol, LBNL)
56:33 The Popper Container-native Workflow Engine (Ivo Jimenez)
1:10:10 Tracery 2 & Chancery (Kate Compton)


 Information for interested Participants


Information for Undergraduate Students Interested in Applying

Why should I apply?

  • The summer project is aimed to increase a student’s real-world coding and developer skills. Selected students benefit from direct mentorship to guide their work and improve their technical abilities. 


What skills do I need to apply?

  • Each project idea has listed required skills needed for to contribute. If you see a project you are interested in, reach out to the mentors for specific questions about what capabilities you will need. 


How do I apply?

  • Look at the List of Project Ideas as well as the list of current CROSS projects. If you have your own ideas for productive contribution let us know. We may be able to find a mentor to work with you to create a project idea of your own.
  • Contact the relevant mentor and discuss the summer project and timeline to assure it is right for you. Complete the summer research experience application for students (see below) explaining your work plan for the summer. 
  • Send the final applications to the project mentor and


What are the application deadlines?

  • Applications deadlines will be posted towards the end of Winter quarter. The deadline for Summer 2021 OSRE slots will be end of April (exact date TBC).


What is the duration of the program?

  • Student summer experience runs for 10 to 12 weeks over the course of the summer. 


Does my project have to be open source?

  • Yes. All work under this program must be open sourced upon completion. 

    Note: All software created as part of a CROSS project must be released as free and open source under a license that is both approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and recognized as free by the Free Software Foundation (FSF). 


Do I have to be on-campus to do this program?

  • No. This program is expected to be done remotely. There is no requirement for students to come to campus. 


Is this program open to non-UC Santa Cruz students?

  • Yes. Any student over 18 can apply. This includes community college students. For students at non-U.S. universities, please reach out to CROSS ( to discuss your eligibility.

Summer Research Experience Application 

CROSS teaches students how to productively engage in open source communities, funds high-impact research with potential of creating successful open source projects, and incubates developer communities around research prototypes. As part of this, CROSS supports a number of research and incubator fellows and their open source projects on a varying range of topics at the UC Santa Cruz Baskin School of Engineering. If you don't see a specific topic or activity listed on our ideas page feel free to suggest your own idea. Check out our research and incubator lists for our on-going projects.

Our ideas page also gives the contact information for our mentors. Students are expected to reach out to these mentors early on in the proposals stage and should have had some interaction with them prior to finalizing their proposals. Please follow the template below to apply for the CROSS Summer Research Program.  If you have questions please feel free to reach out to your mentor or CROSS staff (


Proposal Template


  • Proposal Title

  • Define the problem you are trying to solve

  • Provide background about the current state of the problem and describe your solution

Project goals

  • Project objectives and expected deliverables

Implementation Plan

  • Project methodology (How will you work to meet your goals?)

  • Describe the project's technical elements

Project Timeline

  • Project plan and deliverables schedule 

Biographical information

  • Contact information: full name, email address, current academic affiliation 

    • Optional: Blog URL, github or twitter accounts; any additional contact information you think we need.

  • Relevant experience / previous work

  • Relevant education background; list relevant coursework if applicable.

  • Programming/development interests and strengths


Note to all applicants:

  • Seek out mentors and other relevant contributors to learn more about the communities you want to work in. You are encouraged to ask questions and mentors are here to help you improve your application.



Why should I be a mentor?

  • If you could use undergraduate research assistance over the summer with your on-going research, this is a great opportunity to get matched to tops students.

  • You get to decide which student projects sound interesting to you and who you want to work with.


Who can be a mentor?

  • UC Santa Cruz faculty, researchers or graduate students working on projects that are or will ultimately be part of an open source community.


Do the projects we want help with need to be open source?

  • Yes. All projects funded by CROSS or facilitated through this program must be open source projects.

Note: All software created as part of a CROSS project must be released as free and open source under a license that is both approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and recognized as free by the Free Software Foundation (FSF).

What kind of projects are you accepting? Are their specific technologies or topics that you prefer?

  • CROSS is interested in supporting a wide range of open source communities at UC Santa Cruz. We have no requirement for the type of technology being worked on so long as it is or ultimately will be part of an open source project or community.


Will CROSS provide funding for my selected student even if I am not affiliated with the Center?

  • CROSS is hoping to use various supplemental funding options to support as many projects as possible over the summer. If you have access to supplemental funding for undergraduate researchers, such as through an REU, CROSS can work with you to secure that supplemental funding and identify appropriate students. 

See Also