Rensselaer Center for Open Source Software

Attending Meetings

Freshmen/Sophomores are welcome to come to our meetings and learn what is going on - before submitting proposals. RCOS is an extremely friendly, helpful and bright group of students dedicated to developing open source software. We meet on Tuesdays/Fridays in DCC 318 from 4 to 5:00 pm.
  1. Write a proposal that includes a description, potential audience(s)/user(s), proposed timeline/deliverables, team member(s) (which can be names of other RCOS applicants or a need for certain team members yet to be named), and distribution of work.
  2. Send the proposal (as Google Doc link) to the RCOS email list (, asking for feedback and mentoring. Note only one team member performs this step.
  3. After receiving feedback and incorporating relevant suggestions, you are set for our first meeting in which we will fill out the URP forms as a group. Be sure to bring your laptop with you to our first meeting on 1/27.
  4. Register for the 0-credit RCOS offering CSCI-4963 CRN 77241.
Note that our first meeting is Tuesday 1/27 at 4pm in DCC 318. If you do not attend, you will already be behind!

How to Join RCOS

The process to join RCOS has two main components, an RCOS proposal, and a URP proposal.

RCOS Proposal

The proposal process is very important. A well written proposal lays the ground work for a successful RCOS project. The proposal should include an overview of the project, your semester-long goals, and a "task list" of very detailed items that you will accomplish in the first few weeks of the semester. Similar task lists should be created throughout the semester. Your RCOS proposal must be submitted at least a week earlier than the URP deadline. You can work on anything you want as long as its open source, whether its a large open source project, or your own project.
Write up your proposal and create a project on observatory (This website). Write your project as a blogpost and email it to the rcos mailing list (
You should receive feedback from the mailing list. To view the feedback you should be subscribed to the mailing list, or you can view it online at!forum/rcos-at-rensselaer. Once your project is approved you will recieve a mentor on observatory (This website). If the deadline is coming up and you don't have a mentor please email Seve Ibarluzea

URP Proposal

Once RCOS has approved your project, you will need to write a condensed form of the proposal to submit to RPI. Please submit a URP proposal form to Professor Goldschmidt, Lally 209 by 9/9/2013.


To apply for Spring 2014 URP, please apply on or before 2/9, our first meeting is on Tuesday 1/27.

Compensation Decision

Compensation for your work on an RCOS project comes in one of two forms: a stipend or course credit.


The Fall/Spring semester stipend is $700.

Course Credit

Typically you can apply for 3 or 4 credits for an RCOS URP. The expected amount of work is 4*N hours/week where N = the number of credits applied for.