What do we know about the famed SDSLabs?
SDSLabs or Software Development Section Laboratories is a student-run technical group at IIT Roorkee, which aims to encourage the development of technology and innovation in the campus and beyond. They aim to provide a gateway for the students of IIT Roorkee to join the coding community. They create a platform which allows students to gain assistance and mentorship to enhance their coding ability. Their aim is to propagate the enthusiasm for coding in the institute and especially amongst freshmen.
They believe in learning and sharing knowledge; collaboration and experimentation; and human interaction that matters the most. SDSLabs is doing unprecedented work in the field of open source.
Open-source software is a type of computer software in which source code is released under a license in which the copyright holder grants users the rights to use, study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.
How does SDSLabs nurture the coding culture at IITR?
SDSLabs really nurtures the coding capabilities of students and helps them hone their skills.
To get into the renowned SDSLabs the students have to undergo a rigorous recruitment process which starts with a hackathon that normally takes place in September every year. This well renowned hackathon is mainly for first year students, the teams that bag the top 3 positions get a direct interview with SDSLabs. What follows is the Winter of Code, which is only for first year students. Students decide their own projects and submit their applications for this coveted competition. The applications for the month long competition are selected on the basis of availability of mentors. Students work on their projects for a month under the guidance of the mentors and what follows is a thorough judging process where the winners of Winter of Code get direct interviews with SDSLabs. This competition provides a great platform for students to learn and expand their knowledge base.
There is another event organised by SDSLabs known as Makers. It is an opportunity for the people who didn't get selected in Winter of Code to showcase their skills. As a part of Makers, students are allowed to develop anything that they want to make and if they need help, they can easily contact mentors from SDSLabs via the public chat portal.
Another way of getting into SDSLabs is by following a standard and lengthy procedure. Like a lot of other recruitments, it starts with a test. This well known, albeit scary test, mostly consists of questions based on web-development and concepts in computer science like networking and programming languages. After the test, the short-listed students are called for an interview that consists of 2 rounds. In the first round, students are given logical questions and guesstimates to solve and to gauge their problem solving abilities. After this, they are made to sit for a technical interview round wherein 2 seniors conduct an interview that is almost indistinguishable from the kind of technical interview rounds that one would give if they were to join a tech company.
Seniors from SDSLabs conduct sessions and workshops, hold lectures and talks, and even host coding competitions and hackathons. There is something for everyone. Whether you want to learn, participate in hackathons and win big prizes, or prepare for The Google Summer of Code, you can do it all here. SDSLabs has a great track record at The Google Summer of Code, every year a number of students from SDSLabs crack this prestigious competition.
Projects by SDSLabs
Cerebro, a platform for hosting data hackathons exclusively in IITR developed by SDSLabs. It's challenges and competitions are maintained by members of SDSLabs and Data Science Group.
The backend stack is written in Laravel PHP framework and the frontend SPA client in ReactJS.
Rubeus is a 2D cross-platform game engine developed indigenously in SDSLabs. It derives its workflow from a lot of popular game engines and is specifically designed for new game developers.
It has been written completely in C++17 and broCLI, the CLI tool to create its games, is written in Golang.
Study Portal is the knowledge hub of IIT Roorkee. Through Study Portal, anyone can share open courseware files, videos, presentations etc. Currently over 4,000 files have been shared across 500 courses and total downloads has crossed 80,000.
The tech stack includes Toro microframework and Handlebars.js for templating.
Erdős is an application for math geeks to try out new mathematical problems and keep track of who solves what. Named after one of the most prolific mathematicians of all times, Paul Erdős, it is a portal for users to test their mettle on various mathematical problems, some of which may require users to write code.
Backdoor is a platform for computer security enthusiasts to show their talent in a competitive environment. After opening up for users outside of IIT Roorkee this year, this always online CTF (Capture the Flag) competition has quickly garnered over 2000 users worldwide.
Codevillage is an online judge with a core philosophy of improving the programming skills of the IITR junta. Several problems related to algorithms and programming are available here that anyone can try their hands on. Whether you are a young padawan or a jedi master, you’ll - find problems here suitable for your skills.
DC by SDSLabs aims to create a more visually pleasing interface over the generic DC++. While DC++ is required in some way to use the application, you, the user can view all content in a better way with proper design.
Browsing content becomes a magical experience without compromising information about the users who share content from their laptops.
With over 130,000 tracks by 11,000 artists and updating daily, Muzi is the one stop online music player for the IIT Roorkee intranet.
Muzi is a one page JS app with the backend written in PHP. Applications like Nano have been developed over this backend also.
Gasper is an intelligent Platform as a Service (PaaS) used for deploying and managing applications and databases in any cloud topology. Think of it as the SDSLabs’ version of AWS (Amazon Web Services), or SWS if you want to (SDSLabs Web Services).
An interesting project in the works
Rootex is a Windows based 3D multithreaded game engine written in C++ and powers an in-production game being developed at SDSLabs. This a really big project for SDSLabs, the new opportunities and possibilities it brings are endless.
There are a lot of interesting events coming up in the future, SDSLabs has a lot in store for the people of 'R-land'.