Polyphorm / PolyPhy

PolyPhy is a GPU oriented agent-based system for reconstructing and visualizing optimal transport networks defined over sparse data. Rooted in astronomy and inspired by nature, we have used an early prototype called Polyphorm to reconstruct the Cosmic web structure, but also to discover network-like patterns in natural language data. You can see an instructive overview of PolyPhy in our workshop and more details about our research here.

Under the hood, PolyPhy uses a richer 3D scalar field representation of the reconstructed network, instead of a typical discrete representation like a graph or a mesh. The ultimate purpose of PolyPhy is to become a toolkit for a range of specialists across different disciplines: astronomers, neuroscientists, data scientists and even artists and designers. PolyPhy aspires to be a tool for discovering connections between different disciplines by creating quantitatively comparable structural analytics.

PolyPhy infrastructure engineering and practices

  • Topics: DevOps Code Refactoring CI/CD
  • Skills: fluidity in Python, experience with OOP, experience with building and packaging libraries, understanding GitHub and its tools ecosystem
  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Size: 350+ hours
  • Mentors: Oskar Elek, Anisha Goel
  • Contributor(s): Prashant Jha

Your responsibility in this project will be developing new infrastructure of the PolyPhy project as well as maintaining the existing codebases. This is a multifaceted role that will require coordination with the team and active approach to understanding the technical needs of the community.

Specific tasks:

  • Work with the technical lead to develop effective interfaces for PolyPhy, providing access to its functionality on the level of both Python/Jupyter code and the command line.
  • Maintain the existing codebase and configure it according to the team’s needs.
  • Develop and extend the current CI/CD functionality and related code metrics.
  • Document the best practices related to the above.

Write PolyPhy’s technical story and content

  • Topics: Writing Documentation Storytelling
  • Skills: experienced writing structured text, well read, technical or scientific education, webdev basics (preferably NodeJS)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Size: 350 hours
  • Mentors: Oskar Elek, Ezra Huscher

Integral to PolyPhy’s presentation is a “story” - a narrative understanding - that the users and the project contributors can relate to. Your responsibility will be to develop the written part of that understanding, as well as major portions of technical documentation that match it.

Specific tasks:

  • Work with mentors on understanding the context of the project.
  • Write and edit diverse pages of the project website.
  • Work with mentors to improve project’s written community practices (diversity, communication).
  • Write and edit narrative and explanatory parts of PolyPhy’s documentation.
  • Create tutorials that present core functionality of the toolkit.

Community engagement and management

  • Topics: Community Management Social Media Networking
  • Skills: documented experience with current social media landscape, social and well spoken, ability to communicate technical concepts
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Size: 175 or 350 hours
  • Mentors: Oskar Elek, Ezra Huscher

Your responsibility will be to build and engage the community around PolyPhy. This includes its standing team and stakeholders, current expert users, potential adopters as well as the general public. The scope (size) of the project depends on the level of commitment during and beyond the Summer and is negotiable upfront.

Specific tasks:

  • Manage the team’s communication channels (Slack, Zoom, email) and maintain active presence therein.
  • Develop social media presence for PolyPhy on Twitter, LinkedIn and other selected social media platforms.
  • Manage and extend the online presence for the project, including its website, mailing list, and other applicable outreach activities.
  • Research and engage with new communities that would benefit from PolyPhy, both as its expert users and contributors.
Oskar Elek
Oskar Elek
OSPO Incubator Fellow, Postdoctoral Researcher, UC Santa Cruz

Oskar designs algorithms that draw from complex fractal systems and explores their applications in astrophysics and cosmology, as well as computational art and design.