Do you get money from Julia?


#1

Do the people who develop Julia or mantain Julia-discourse or reply complex question get any money for that?
I mean, have you been hired by a university or organisation to do it? Or by a private company?
Or do you spend your time for free because you like it or because you think you will make a profit in the future?


#2

Quite a number of people work in academia. Typically, they don’t get any money directly for developing packages or Julia itself but it’s sort of part of their work because Julia is (potentially) great for their research. However, I wouldn’t say they are “hired by a university […] to do it”. They are hired for teaching or research. And this indirectly includes developing tools. A prominent example is @ChrisRackauckas and DifferentialEquations.jl.

About answering questions on SO or discourse, I believe there is basically no one who gets money for this. (One could argue about people working for Julia computing)

A lot (maybe the majority?) of the effort is spend as part of free time.

(BTW: I’m a PhD student in physics answering here :D)


#3

I suspect this would be quite rare. I guess most people provide help here for the public good. This is attitude is quite common in the sciences and academia though.


#4

See also Steven’s post here: Funding for Julia


#5

Well, that’s maybe a best case scenario but not reality. No funding body or university board will support you as an academic in developing tools, unless you can publish the tools as packages with software papers that get cited. Mostly, we do it because we want to. It’s true that a lot of the best work is done by PhD students procrastinating from their thesis, but mostly it is exactly that.


#6

It’s true that a lot of the best work is done by PhD students who understood exactly what their PhD was about.

There, fixed that for you :wink:


#7

It’s probably fair to say that most of the people who contribute to Julia do so out of some combination of clear-eyed self interest (i.e., finding the best tool for the job), intellectual challenge (it’s fun to build a programming language and community around it), and desire to contribute meaningfully. Money is probably pretty far down the list. As others have pointed out, the incentive structure of most professions does not perfectly align with what most people would say is the optimal societal good. Academia might be better than most in this regard, but still, contributing advice and even code is not always rewarded in the way that other academic activities are.

Even when it’s not just clear-eyed self interest, for those academics who feel safe enough to sacrifice a little, this state of affairs is OK. We’re insanely lucky to live in a world where taxpayers provide salary for smart people to explore freely, generally not for any particular “product” but in hopes that it’s a long-term societal investment that will pay off. There are good reasons to think that contributing to Julia’s code, documentation, and community is a fantastic way to provide them with outstanding value for their investment.


#8

I chose Julia to do my thesis, but after graduation my department decided to extend it’s use of Julia. So they asked me to answer other students question and train them and making Julia available over the University High-Performance Computation Center. So I accept it and I am doing it for free right now.

That is my story with Julia.
(I did my M.Sc. in mechanical engineering in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD))


#9

I think that’s a fair position to have for a tenured professor, and essentially how I think of my own minor contributions to the ecosystem, but among PhD students and postdocs, few feel safe enough. I would not advice any junior researcher to spend significant amount of time contributing to the language out of self-interest. But it is an important part of thesis work to do something simply because you find it interesting.


#10

Oh, yes, I forgot to name PhD students, as me :slight_smile:


#11

All my Julia creations and contributions have been done on my own free time. I answer questions online sometimes for fun or to help solve a technical problem related to mine, and I have created some packages out of necessity for doing some of my own research work, which I don’t mind sharing for free. Unfortunately, I do not have any sponsors for my current research work, but people can support me through my music…

If someone would like to help support my independent research or package work, you could buy my music:

Currently I am researching some computational techniques for fractional derivatives of the Riemann zeta function, but I also have many other ideas and projects awaiting their turn. Would be great to be paid for it.


#12

I find answering other peoples questions, or at least attempting to, brings up lots of interesting things I haven’t and probably wouldn’t run into just working on my own codes. If it’s too far over my head then it’s a good time to let someone else have a go at it, and try and understand their answer…

I did sign up at UpWork for some julia freelancing, but they weren’t in a hurry to activate the account and i’ve lost the login and it’s been a bit difficult to recover… So that went a bit by the wayside


#13

I started contributing and then doing my dissertation using Julia. Eventually I got a few contracts to develop in Julia.


#14

I think that developing and answering questions have different motivations.

For me, development is about solving problems. I make my work available as open source in the hope that other people will contribute, either through feedback or by writing actual code to solve their problems.

Answering questions is more about lending a helping hand. Many of us know each other by now, either by reputation or even personally, so it has more of an emotional aspect. Check the “appreciation” channel on Julia’s slack and you’ll see what I mean :slight_smile:


#15

I usually check Discourse when Julia is compiling!
Maybe we shouldn’t work on PackageCompiler & static compilation, so that people don’t get too productive to help on discourse/slack :stuck_out_tongue:


#16

That’s hilarious, and has more than a little truth to it. I probably answer most of my questions the same way.


#17

An important “niche” for PhD students is through use of the language and advocacy. Most departments have a culture that is built around using a few tools, and increasing the userbase is eventually beneficial for the language as a whole.