Why should you apply? And why to SymPy?
Well, let me give you some reasons:
- First of all, it's fun. To get some idea, read the GSoC2007 SymPy page, where you can find out what the last year students did and especially read their reports, where they describe their impressions from the summer, how they tackled problems and their overall conclusions.
- It's not just about coding, we enjoy the social part too. There is a great community around numpy, scipy, ipython, matplotlib, Sage and similar tools and if you do scientific computing with Python, you gain a lot just being part of it, because you learn new things from the others.
- I currently live in Prague (most people say it's a beautiful city, but I actually like Los Angeles, or the Bay Area:), if there are enough interested people, we can make a coding sprint here (plus of course some sightseeing+pubs). Anyone with a good commit history is welcome to stay at my apartment. :)
- You earn $4500, some of which I suggest to spend on travelling to conferences/workshops, here are some tips: SciPy2008 (see also SciPy2007), EuroSciPy2008, Sage Days (you can read my impressions from SD6 and SD8), watch the numpy/scipy mailinglists for announcement of other meetings.
Read also the current status and motivation of SymPy and it's relation to Sage. If you want to apply, all the necessary information is on our wiki page.
Nevertheless, if you decide SymPy is not for you, but still you'd like to do GSoC project in a similar area, there are other good options too - one is SciPy/NumPy, the other is Sage. Unfortunately Sage was not accepted as a mentorship organization, but it has several good projects too, some of which you can do for example under the umbrella of the Python Software Foundation.
One of them is improving the Sage notebook. If you've never seen that - download Sage, start it (./sage), type "notebook()" and a nice Mathematica like notebook will popup in the browser. It allows collaborative editing ala Google Docs and many other things. If you'd like to work on it, reply to the email on sage-devel.