GSoC 2009 student interview

Today I am pleased to interview Helder Suzuki, Gephi student at Google Summer of Code 2009.

Helder is a Computer Engineer student at Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica and participated as a student in the 2009 Google Summer of Code. He’s currently working as a Software Engineer Intern at Google in Mountain View, California.


Sebastien Heymann: Hi Helder Suzuki, you took part in Gephi with the Google Summer of Code 2009 (GSoC), by handling the layout module and implementing the Yifan Hu’s multi-level algorithm. Could you explain why you chose this project, in particular why getting involved in Gephi although there are such great other organizations like Debian, WordPress or Mozilla?
Helder Suzuki: I really believe in the power of graphs application in variety of problems, this is a very hot topic and it’s gaining a lot of momentum in the research community and in the industry. My previous research was related to graphs, so I had some experience in the area already, it made a lot of sense for me to apply for Gephi.

Sebastien Heymann: Could you briefly describe your work to our readers, and the way you interacted with the Gephi core team?
Helder Suzuki: I worked on the graph layout (or graph spatialization) problem implementing state-of-the-art techniques for Gephi directly from recent research papers to Gephi’s API.
The communication was mostly through e-mail and gtalk, and sometimes IRC too. I managed to visit them in Paris, they were super nice and very receptive, and I got to see the Saint Denis stadium from their office!

Sebastien Heymann: You’re actually Software Engineer Intern at Google. How did you benefit from doing such an experience? What did you learn?
Helder Suzuki: As I said, graphs application are gaining a lot of momentum in the industry, Google is no exception. PageRank is fundamentally a graph algorithm and Google only exists today because of it!

Sebastien Heymann: Which advices would you give to the 2010 session students?
Helder Suzuki: Work on something you enjoy and are passionate about.

Sebastien Heymann: What would you say to convince them applying for Gephi proposals?
Helder Suzuki: There’s still a lot of room for development on graphs, and certainly there’s a lot of value there too. Gephi is a fast moving graph tool with a very active development.
Working for a big open source project like Debian and Mozilla has it’s benefits, but you’ll be just another one among hundreds or perhaps thousands of developers. At Gephi students will have the opportunity to produce high impact work on a rapidly growing area and be noted for it.

Sebastien Heymann: Mathieu, Julian and I were very glad to meet you in Paris last summer! Do you plan to develop and use Gephi in the future?
Helder Suzuki: I have to say you are very lucky to live in Paris, it’s such a nice place! The visit was really awesome, I enjoyed it a lot, thanks a lot for receiveing me!
In the future I’ll probably do a lot of development on graphs, and Gephi offers a great framework to work with, so yes!

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