Here is next in a row of interview series. Are you all excited to know more about a project which got second position in Open Software Challenge Nepal 2009 (OSCN 2009)? It is RTFTR. Today i have Bibek Shrestha answering on behalf of RTFTR team. Without much delay lets start the interview. Light, Sound, Camera.......ACCCCCCCCCCCtion...........
RMT: 1) Can you please briefly give your team introduction? What are your team member currently doing?
Bibek: We are a four member team, all of us have been classmates during our four years in Pulchowk Engineering College. Now that we've all completed our under grad, I am working as a Software Engineer / Project Manager in YoungInnovations Pvt. Ltd (http://yipl.com.np)and Anjan Nepal (http://twitter.com/rockanjan) and Lakesh Kansakar are working in DeerWalk (http://www.deerwalk.com) while Abhishek Dutta is trying to pursue his further studies in Computer Vision.
RMT: 2) What is your project? Can you please briefly describe it?
Bibek: Our project is Real Time Face Tracking and Recognition (RTFTR). As the name suggest, what we tried to achieve is build a software that will do two tasks (detection and recognitions) is realtime. And to achieve this is an efficent manner possible, we've worked on multiple algorithms and studied their combined performance. Finally we build a general application that any one comfortable with source compilation can compile and run.
RMT: 3) What did motivate you to choose this particular project for the competition?
Bibek: Sixth semester minor project and Final (eighth) semester major project and mandatory for every Pulchowk Campus students. We started working on a smaller idea of implementing face detection and recognition during our minor project. We had our interest going on in Computer Vision and spent good time in research and worked a lot into it as our Major Project. RTFTR was an opensource application even before OSCN. We have the project registered on http://rtftr.sourceforge.net. Once we heard about OSCN, it was an obivious choice to submit RTFTR.
RMT: 4) What benefit will the project have to Nepalese society or whole world?
Bibek: I personally consider opensource software as a book. There is a lot of knowledge inside it. Opensource works because the people involved in it are people who want to share knowledge. During our project, as much as we researched into international papers for algorithms, we had to look into source code of other libraries and other softwares. The benefit that we can give back to the world is that anyone with interest into ComputerVision can download our code, read the documentation and understand the working principle of various algorithms, the ones we've implemented and others algorithms we couldn't implement but we've mentioned briefly.
RMT: 5) Did your team face any difficulty during the competition? If yes, can you please give some example of it.
Bibek: We initially had to shift our svn repository from SourceForge to D2Labs. Abhishek then got the svn repo backup and communicated with D2Labs admins and thus we migrated everything. The second thing was time mamagement. We had our jobs. RTFTR was still in alpha stages and we had a lot to do to take it into stable state. We had to give a separate time to work on it.
There weren't much problem related to project management as Abhishek has been coordinating all of our effort quite efficiently.
RMT: 6) What is your development methodology for the project? Did you use any particular SDLC?
Bibek: Now that I think of it, I dont believe we had decided to use any methodology as such. Looking back at the way we worked, our work resemble a lot to Iterative and incremental development. All of us had the final goal in mind but we hadn't pinpointed every small detail.
All of us had the freedom to work on our own field. Anjan and I had to work on the Detection and tracking portion while Abhishek and Lakesh were involved in the recognition algorithms. We sat down for smaller team meetings and had put on short term goals spanning a week. Upon completion, we set up more goals and the process continued.
RMT: 7) What benefit will your project have by choosing open source licensing than choosing closed source?
Bibek: It is the same benefit we had during our research. One of the examples is the OpenCV library which consist of good variety of routines for smaller tasks. It also has detection algorithm which we used for comparison purposes. Freedom aside, the best part of opensource software is the community of people involved in making it possible. Every small glitch is mentioned and solved in some mailing list which is just a Google away. I don't expect the same level of support to any commercial or closed source code that can help us learn and use in our own software.
Besides, we want people to use our software for research as well as hack their way into making it better. Closed source just doesn't fit into our motive. Opensource makes RTFTR free.
RMT: 8) What are the factors do you think as main reason for your teams' success?
Bibek: When you know what you want to achieve, you are already half way into it. The remaining half was achieved by a mix of the amount of interest everyone had in computer vision, the dedication and effort of everyone in the team.
RMT: 9) What is your teams' future development plan for the project?
Bibek: As of now, we haven't decided as to how to take it further. You can expect us to fix any bugs when reported but no concrete plans to add new features. That does not mean it will be an end to it. The good part is most of the team members want to pursue Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision for further studies. So you can expect a lot of new additions to it in near future.
RMT: 10) Do you have any suggestion for anyone thinking to take part in such competition in future?
Bibek: In opensource everyone is a winner. Try to bring the spirit of open collaboration to your software. Once the software is free, it has its own existence. Every line of code that the developers write will can help others in the open source ecosystem. So by releasing your software as opensource, you are making it easier the lives of a lot of people in the world. This also means that even if you do not have the best of the ideas, you can get involved into contributing your share of knowledge to any other opensource projects. In the end what matters is that you contribute. And just in case you might get lucky and win the grand prize. :)
RMT: 11) Do you or your team have any blog, tweet or website where you or team actively contribute to development of open source project?
Bibek: I have a blog at http://bibekshrestha.com.np where i write down my ramblings about my work.
Our project website is at http://rtftr.sourceforge.net and http://collaborate.d2labs.org/projects/rtftr/ .
Anyone can reach all the developers through our mailing list at http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/forum.php?forum_name=rtftr-devel&style=threaded.
I would like to thank Bibek for his wonderful insight on his wining project and some knowledge of benefit of Open source development. I would like to wish RTFTR team all the best for their future work in Open source arena.
* picture source: http://picasaweb.google.com/adutta.np/OpenSourceChallengeNepalOSCN2009GrandFinale#