ESA Summer of Code in Space/Project Ideas

If you want to work on computer-aided design (CAD), geometry, simulation, analysis, or graphics, you've come to the right place! Help us improve open source CAx.

BRL-CAD_gear_logo_w_name_256.png Under development for 30+ years, it's big, it's complicated, it's powerful. BRL-CAD will consider just about any project that relates to computer graphics or existing infrastructure.

We consider proposals for all skill levels ranging from simple to crazy hard and everything in between. Introduce yourself, and we'll help you plan one right for you.

Remember that project descriptions are just initial ideas. You must expand with considerably more detail. Change the goals to fit your experience and interests. See our checklist to get started.

Project titles link to a page with more details.

BRL-CAD Projects

Web Development

Languages Difficulty Contacts
Benchmark Performance Database: BRL-CAD's Benchmark has been used for two decades to compare performance across configurations. Build a database website. Depends (likely PHP or Python) EASY Morrison
Synchronize Wiki with Docbook: We use Docbook for most of our user documentation but find editing a wiki page much easier to use. Set up a system so the two are always in sync. Depends (likely PHP or Python) MEDIUM Yapp
Online Geometry Viewer Interface: Continuation of existing work, improve our interface for viewing geometry online. Focus on the front-end usability. Depends (likely PHP or Python) MEDIUM Morrison
Online Geometry Viewer Back-end: Continuation of existing work, improve our interface for viewing geometry online. Focus on the back-end infrastructure. Depends (likely PHP or Python) HARD Morrison
Mediawiki 3D Geometry Extension: Write an extension for Mediawiki that will visualize our .g files. Maybe leverage LLVM C->Javascript translation. Depends (likely PHP or Python) HARD Morrison
Materials Database: Create a Materials Database web site for collecting, managing, and providing programmatic interfaces to material properties. Depends (likely PHP or Python) MEDIUM Morrison, Yapp

Geometry

Languages Difficulty Contacts
NURBS Editing Support: BRL-CAD doesn't currently have support for editing NURBS primitives. Fix that. C/Tcl MEDIUM Yapp
Overlap tool: Resolving geometric interferences (aka overlaps) is a common geometry editing activity. Design an awesome GUI for resolving conflicts. Tcl EASY Yapp, Morrison, Greenwald
Vector Drawings from NURBS: Huge impact here if you can update one or more of our raytracers to provide vector output instead of raster. Perhaps render directly to PDF or SVG. C and/or C++ EASY Rossberg
NMG Editing: Our structured polygonal mesh geometry (N-Manifold Geometry = NMG) is a common export format, but our NMG edit support is non-existent. We need something. C HARD Morrison, Rossberg
Visualizing Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG): CSG forms a directed acyclic graph. Tree view widgets show a simple hierarchical representation, but we need something better. C/C++ EASY Morrison
Plate Mode NURBS raytracing: Imported NURBS geometry often does NOT enclose space (i.e., not solid), so add support for specifying an implicit thickness. C/C++ HARD Morrison
STEP exporter: We have an importer, we need a comprehensive exporter with support for implicit CSG, NURBS, or polygonal mesh geometry. C/C++ EASY Yapp, Morrison
STEP importer improvements: We have an importer, but it's preliminary. Add support for importing hierarchy information, polygonal geometry, and implicit geometry. C/C++ MEDIUM Yapp
STEP AP 242 Parser: We already parse a subset of AP203, but the new kid on the block is AP242. Make AP242 work with BRL-CAD's step-g importer. C++ HARD Mark, Charlie, Yapp
Convert BoT to Pipe: Command line interface to convert facetted fluid/electrical line geometry into BRL-CAD native pipe solids. C/C++/Tcl MEDIUM Morrison
IGES import improvements: We have extensive support for the International Geometry Exchange Standard (IGES) with our g-iges and iges-g converters, but they need updating. C MEDIUM Morrison
Geometry Conversion Library: Probably our biggest open source asset is our extensive collection of importers and exporters. Turn them all into a universal conversion library. C/C++ EASY Greenwald, Morrison, Rossberg
Voxelize command: Convert geometry into voxel data sets by shooting a grid of rays. The finite element analysis and volumetric rendering folks will love you. C EASY Greenwald, Morrison, Rossberg
COLLADA Importer: Create an importer for the COLLADA file format. C/C++ MEDIUM Morrison
X3D Importer: Create an importer for the X3D file format. C/C++ MEDIUM Morrison
OpenSCAD Importer: Create an importer for OpenSCAD's format. C/C++ EASY Morrison
OpenSCAD Exporter: Create an exporter for OpenSCAD's format. C/C++ EASY Morrison
Python Geometry: Wrap BRL-CAD's primitives in Python, make it easier to script geometry creation. Python Easy Morrison
Perl Geometry: Wrap BRL-CAD's primitives in Perl, make it easier to script geometry creation. Perl Easy Browder

Performance & Quality

Languages Difficulty Contacts
OpenCL GPGPU Raytracing: We have about two dozen primitives that need to have a ray-object intersection function converted from C to OpenCL. C/C++ MEDIUM Morrison, Rossberg
Coherent Raytracing: Our current raytrace pipeline dispatches and processes one ray at a time. Send bundles and convert the pipeline into phases. C/C++ MEDIUM Morrison, Rossberg
NURBS Booleans: We have NURBS surface-surface intersections working. Now we're using them to create evaluated forms of our CSG geometry. Make it more robust and faster. C/C++ HARD Yapp, Rossberg
NURBS Optimization and Cleanup: We have a fantastic implementation of NURBS evaluation but haven't gone back to clean up or speed it up. Make it pretty and fast. C/C++ MEDIUM Yapp, Morrison
Fix Bugs: We take pride in our breadth of functionality and time-tested stability. We still have bugs. Identify some and fix them! C EASY Browder
NMG Raytracing Performance Improvement: BRL-CAD's structured mesh geometry (N-Manifold Geometry = NMG) needs some time in a profiler. Malloc during raytracing is bad. C HARD Morrison, Greenwald
Mesh library cleanup: BRL-CAD has an extensive n-manifold polygonal mesh library that needs some refactoring, testing, and optimization rework. C MEDIUM Morrison, Rossberg
Space Partitioning for Tessellation: Technically an optimization task, make our geometry converters run an order of magnitude faster by using spatial partitioning during tessellation. C HARD Greenwald, Yapp, Morrison
Code Reduction: BRL-CAD is more than 1M lines of code. Approximately 10% of that is duplication. Help reduce that percentage. C EASY Greenwald, Morrison
Header Restructuring: BRL-CAD has about two dozen libraries with a single header declaring the entire public API. Break up those monster headers into modular sub-headers. C EASY Greenwald, Morrison

Infrastructure

Languages Difficulty Contacts
New Cross-Platform 3D Display Manager: BRL-CAD uses display managers for visualizing 3D geometry in a window. We want one that uses a cross-platform toolkit such as Qt + OGRE. C/C++ MEDIUM Morrison
New Cross-Platform 2D Framebuffer: BRL-CAD uses framebuffers to display 2D imagery. The merits of having a single interface for most platforms is self-evident. C/C++ EASY Morrison, Yapp
Advanced Sketch Primitive Editor: BRL-CAD has a 2D sketch primitive, but our handling of editing sketches doesn't incorporate parametric constraints. There are potentially applicable codes in the open source community we can leverage for this, or we can roll our own solution. C/C++ MEDIUM Yapp
Geometric Constraint Solver: Our LIBPC parametric constraint library is the work-in-progress foundation of being able to validate and describe geometry relationships. C/C++ HARD Morrison
MGED to Archer Command Migration: Our next-generation editor (Archer) needs to have the same (700+) commands that are in MGED. Help make our next CAD interface awesome. C and Tcl EASY Yapp
General Tree Walker: We have a half dozen or more functions that will traverse a geometry hierarchy in different ways. There only needs to be one. C EASY Greenwald, Yapp, Morrison
Rework of libbu/libbn to not require Tcl: Tcl's C API is used throughout BRL-CAD providing great abstractions, but we want our basic utility and numeric libraries (LIBBU & LIBBN) to stand alone. C EASY Morrison, Yapp, Greenwald
Consolidate image processing: We have 100+ image processing tools that independently read and write file data. Needs much reuse love. C EASY Greenwald
GED Transactions: Migrating functionality from our MGED geometry editor into our LIBGED library provided excellent code reuse, but now we need transactions so that actions can be undone. C EASY Morrison
Add exec option to search: Our LIBGED library provides a search command very similar to the UNIX find command for scanning through geometry. Implement the -exec option. C EASY Yapp
Geometry Selection Functionality: Implement a new selection command that lets you temporarily group objects based on spatial, attribute, or geometric properties. C EASY Morrison
Astronomical units: We already go "big", but accurately modeling at a galactic scale redefines that notion... C EASY Morrison, Greenwald
Object-oriented C++ Geometry API: Extend our C++ library which provides a simple interface to BRL-CAD's core functionality. Kickstart start a new geometry kernel. C++ MEDIUM Rossberg
Point Clouds: BRL-CAD has a basic point cloud primitive. Beef it up, make it faster, maybe integrate with the Point Cloud Library (PCL) for evaluation. C/C++ MEDIUM Browder
Annotations: Implement support for 2D annotations, labels that can be added to geometry. Perl EASY Browder
Python Bindings: With or without SWIG, wrap BRL-CAD's command library API so you can issue our creation and editing commands from Python. Python EASY Morrison
Perl Bindings: With SWIG, wrap BRL-CAD's ray-tracing library API so you can issue calls to librt ray-tracing functions from Perl. Perl EASY Browder

Rendering & Scientific Analysis

Languages Difficulty Contacts
Shader Enhancements: We have a functioning custom shader system in BRL-CAD, but there are now folks that specialize and there's lot of room for improvements. C EASY Morrison, Greenwald
Material and Shader Objects: This one is a biggie but easy. Implement new object entities for describing shaders and material properties, use them during ray tracing. C EASY Morrison
GUI Integration of Analysis Tools: There are a lot of visualization tools in BRL-CAD, but most aren't integrated with the GUI. Visualizing directly within the GUI would improve usability. C MEDIUM Rossberg
Generalized abstracted spacial partitioning capability: Need more be said? If you're familiar with BSPs, KD trees, and grid structures, then this one is for you. C HARD Greenwald, Morrison
High Dynamic Range Support: We don't have displays supporting this yet, but that's never stopped us before. Implement support for images with more than 8-bits per channel. C and/or C++ EASY Greenwald, Yapp
Analysis Library: There are various tools in BRL-CAD for calculating weights, moments of inertia, and more. They're stand-alone applications. Turn them into a library. C HARD Yapp, Morrison
Celestial mechanics particle system: Simulate solar systems and galaxies. C/C++ MEDIUM Greenwald
Non-vacuum gravity simulator: Simulate falling to earth. C/C++ MEDIUM Greenwald, Morrison, Yapp
Polarization: We already do multispectral ray tracing, but don't simulate polarization effects. Implement ray splitting and filtering. C HARD Morrison, Rossberg
Density functions: Accurately represent everything from atmosphere to bone. Implement support for parametric density functions for homogenous materials. C HARD Rossberg, Morrison
Bending light: Think gravity wells and satellite cameras. C MEDIUM Morrison
Appleseed renderer integration: Appleseed is rendering infrastructure used by the film industry to make pretty pictures. Make it shoot rays at our native geometry with our ray trace library. C MEDIUM Morrison

<An Idea of Your Own>

Do you have an idea of your own? Maybe you need more ideas to inspire you? We're very open to areas of academic research, industry applications, and ideas that get you hooked on open source CAD development.

Requirements:

  • Passion for the task being suggested


Mentors

BRL-CAD operates under group mentorship. That means you can contact anyone, not just the person assigned to you, for assistance. The mailing list and IRC channel are the preferred communication methods.

  • Christopher Sean Morrison
    • brlcad on irc.freenode.net
    • Org admin, BRL-CAD open source project lead
  • Erik Greenwald
    • ``Erik on irc.freenode.net
    • Org admin, BRL-CAD core dev
  • Cliff Yapp
    • starseeker on irc.freenode.net
    • BRL-CAD Mentor, core dev
  • Daniel Rossberg
    • d_rossberg on irc.freenode.net
    • BRL-CAD Mentor, core dev, math expert
  • H.S. Rai
    • hsrai on irc.freenode.net
    • BRL-CAD Mentor, math expert
  • Tom Browder
    • BRL-CAD Mentor, analysis expert
  • Bryan Bishop
    • BRL-CAD Mentor, python guru