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HFOSS awarded National Science Foundation Grant

We are happy to announce that the HFOSS project has received another round of funding from the National Science Foundation to support our activities through August 2011. The NSF awarded approximately $800,000 (the maximum for this type of CPATH II grant) to the three sponsoring schools, Trinity College, Wesleyan University, and Connecticut College. This will enable HFOSS to pursue its three main goals over the next two years:

  • Expanding the HFOSS Chapter model to include new colleges and universities for the project, initially through the summer internship program.
  • Developing an HFOSS Certificate program to recognize and certify the educational achievements of students that participate in a significant way in the program.
  • Establishing a sustainable organizational and financial model that will allow the project to function at a national level in subsequent years.
Category: announcement
Posted by: Trishan


ABSTRACT: Free and open source software (FOSS) is software that can be freely shared, modified, and redistributed.  FOSS is developed by collaborative communities and distributed under licenses that permit its sharing and redistribution. Humanitarian FOSS (H-FOSS) is FOSS software that is developed specifically to benefit the local and global community. The key concepts underlying FOSS and H-FOSS are its collaborative development process and community ownership.  These concepts provide the underpinnings for many remarkable software projects, such as free and open repositories of general knowledge (Wikipedia), standard DNA parts (The BioBricks Foundation), and scientific research (PLoS).

This project uses the H-FOSS model to help revitalize undergraduate computing education by getting students engaged in building free and open software that benefits the community.  During the project's first three years, students from Trinity College, Wesleyan University, Connecticut College,  and elsewhere have developed H-FOSS in traditional and video-conference courses, independent studies and capstone projects, and in sponsored summer internships.  Working collaboratively with FOSS practitioners in real and virtual communities, students have developed software that directly supports a variety of global and local humanitarian efforts, ranging from disaster management to health care delivery to volunteer management to search and rescue operations.

During the next two years, this project will have three major goals:

(1) to extend  the H-FOSS educational community by creating new H-FOSS Chapters at a wide range of undergraduate institutions, including community colleges, women's colleges, and traditionally black schools

(2) to create an H-FOSS Certificate Program that will recognize student achievement in the study and practice of H-FOSS development

(3) to develop a sustainable infrastructure and funding model, along with industry and community partners, that will enable the H-FOSS effort to be expanded to a national scope.

By getting computing students and faculty involved in building FOSS  that serves the community, this project will thereby help transform the nature and enhance the attractiveness of undergraduate computing education itself.