We are happy to announce that UW will be participating in the Facebook Open Academy (a.k.a. Hacking For Credit) in Winter/Spring 2014. This class presents a unique opportunity for students interested in a job in industry to gain experience. Facebook has hand-picked important open source projects to which students will contribute, and it has chosen select engineers who will act as mentors to guide the students through the open source development process. We expect that students will learn a lot in this class and thus encourage any interested students to sign up. In particular, prior experience contributing to open source software is NOT required.

In this course, students will work together as part of distributed teams of 4–15 students from all participating universities. Teams will be matched with open source projects according to student rankings and preferences. (The list of candidate projects is available on the Open Academy Facebook group, here.) Students will meet weekly with their open source mentors, and teams will operate using industry-standard development practices and procedures. For example, code contributions from students will be reviewed by their mentors / each other / other project members.

Instructor: Daniel Halperin. Email: dhalperi@cs.washington.edu

Course Number: CSE495, Winter/Spring 2014

Course Goals

Our goal is that students who take this course will:

The instructor will assign student grades in Spring 2014 after discussion with the open source mentor. Although the mentor will make a recommendation, the instructor will have the final say in grading. Grade recommendations are likely to reflect factors including how well the student worked as part of a team, faithfully applied themself to the project, and adopted project practices. Teams will meet periodically (weekly or biweekly) with their open source mentor and, separately, with the instructor to receive and offer feedback. This class is intended to offer all students the opportunity to excel — e.g., grades will not be curved.




Developing quality code for open source projects requires familiarity with computer system design, algorithms, and efficiency. As a result, we ask that applicants have completed or be currently enrolled in CSE351 and CSE332. Additionally, CSE331 is considered a plus but is not required.

Credits and Timing

CSE495 will be a 3-credit graded course. As Facebook's program is timed for a spring semester, we will split these three credits evenly across Winter and Spring quarters in 2014. Though teams will ramp up in January and ramp down in May, the majority of course work will likely take place between the main kickoff meeting (February 7th) and the virtual product showcase (late March/April). As grades will not be assigned until completion of the program in the Spring, a grade of 'N' (in progress) will be assigned temporarily in the Winter. The undergraduate advisors assure us that this grade will not affect students' academic record.

The instructor will assign student grades in Spring 2014 after discussion with the open source mentor. Although the mentor will make a recommendation, the instructor will have the final say in grading.

Basic Timeline

Schedule (mirrored from here )
November 20thList of projects published
December 9thList of students and their preferences sent to Facebook
Late DecemberStudents assigned to projects and introduced to mentors
Late December/Early JanuaryStudents receive a 1–2 page "how to prepare to work on this project" document
JanuaryStudents begin formal work
February 7th–9thKickoff event at Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park, California
End of Winter quarterStudents receive a temporary grade of 'N' (in progress)
March/AprilVirtual project showcase
End of Spring quarterGrades submitted

Participant expectations

Sign up

Students interested in participating in this course, please fill out the following Catalyst survey. Unfortunately, we only have room in CSE495 for up to 9 students. Priority will be given to students based on factors including relevant experience, opportunity for personal growth, and course records. That said, we encourage everyone interested to apply (it's a very short survey!). In particular, note that prior experience contributing to open source projects is NOT necessarily required.

If you have applied but not yet heard from us, please be patient. We expect to send notification emails by December 6th. (Note: one day later to give students a chance to respond to my last-minute questions. Thanks!)

Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question not answered here? Please email the instructor at dhalperi@cs.washington.edu.