Presidential Chair Appointment
Appointed as the Sage Weil Presidential Chair for Open Source Software.
Today I was notified by the Chancellor that I will be appointed as the Sage Weil Presidential Chair for Open Source Software. This is an incredible honor and I thank those who nominated and selected me. And I thank Sage Weil.
The Sage Weil Presidential Chair for Open Source Software was endowed with a $500,000 donation by Sage Weil who founded the Ceph project as part of his Ph.D. project at UC Santa Cruz, plus a $500,000 match by the President of the University of California. The Chair was first awarded to Sage’s advisor Scott Brandt who relinquished it last year.
Here is what I wrote back in January in my statement in response to my nomination:
Sage Weil expressed his wish on June 2, 2014 at a dinner meeting with Scott Brandt and me to help with establishing a structure at the university that would give other students a similar PhD career as he enjoyed. Sage had just sold his startup Inktank to Red Hat for $175,000,000 and the meeting was about ways he could give back to UC Santa Cruz where he had created the Ceph open source distributed storage system, the technology that Inktank was based on. When I mentioned the Open Source Programming course that then PhD student Andrew Shewmaker and I were developing for teaching undergraduate students how to be productive in open source communities, Sage immediately recognized it as a great starting point for helping students to increase their research and education impact with open source techniques and strategies. The result of the conversation was Sage giving $500,000 to fund the Sage Weil Presidential Chair for Open Source Software (matched with $500,000 by the UC Office of the President) and $2,000,000 to me for research in open source software.
In 2015, as a result of Sage’s gift, I founded the Center for Research in Open Source Software and since then raised well over $2,000,000 in membership fees, primarily from electronic component makers who were greatly benefiting from Ceph as a way to sell components directly to customers, a much larger market than the traditional market controlled by a few system vendors, and who were excited about the development of new open source technologies as a catalyst for new markets for innovative components. In 2016 I recruited Stephanie Lieggi as the executive director of CROSS.
In 2022, as a result of the outstanding success of CROSS, Stephanie and I received a grant from Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to establish an Open Source Program Office at UC Santa Cruz that establishes and runs new programs to amplify impact of university research and to make the value of open source to the university more visible. Programs established so far are the Open Source Incubator Fellowship which supports postdoctoral scholars with research agendas that serve as outstanding examples of how to leverage open source communities in research, the Open Source Research Experience (OSRE) which pairs UC mentors (and mentors from associated national labs) with summer students found via world-wide outreach programs such as the Google Summer of Code, and the Summer of Reproducibility (SoR) which extends OSRE by pairing summer students with researchers and lecturers who are interested in advancing reproducibility in computing. SoR is a joint effort with the NSF-funded REPETO project.
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation now issued a general call for proposals of university OSPOs and we are working with other UC campuses on responses with the intent to build a network of OSPOs across the UC system. We are also working with UC Santa Cruz Baskin Engineering faculty to establish a research center similar to CROSS but with a focus on open source hardware. We are hiring to expand the OSPO team, and we have a number of new programs addressing open source sponsorships of UC research, staffing software engineering support for open source ecosystems, and mapping research efforts to relevant open source communities and vice versa. If I were to be selected for the Sage Weil Presidential Chair for Open Source Software, I would use the scholarly allowance to help establish the OSPO UC Santa Cruz and its programs and to help with the development of research centers like CROSS.
The scholarly allowance will be put to good use!