Funding for Julia


#1

I’m not sure whether this belongs in any existing category.

This year the IPython team secured $6M in funding. They are backed by Bloomberg and others. This means they can outsource tasks/consultancy and above all pay their developers!

Julia seems to have appeared out of nowhere. I can’t see any evidence of big backers. It is astonishing what it has accomplished already.

Surely Julia would be an ideal candidate for funding through corporate backing / sponsorship / academic grants?

The financial sector should spot it as a sound investment, as should the educational and engineering sectors.

I suppose the obvious counter is: “Julia appears to be doing just fine!”

This post follows on from a conversation on the JunoLab Gitter about integrating Julia into JupyterLab (the new Evolution of the Jupyter notebook). We were mulling the fact that only the big technologies (VS/XCode/Matlab/etc) seem to have good comprehensive IDE/debugging tools and it seems to boil down to the likelihood that nobody really wants to spend their (unpaid) time writing a visual debugger.

I couple of days ago I got the usual begging email from Wikipedia. Because I donated last year they are begging me again. And I wrote to them saying “You’re sitting next to a Great river begging me for water, and I’m standing in the desert! Just reach out your hand!” – they deserve prosperity, they shouldn’t have to beg. I don’t see why they hold onto this “no adverts” idealism. They could present intelligent and well targeted adverts that would be welcome to viewers.

Similarly, Julia is close to major financial arteries. And although I’ve never encountered any suggestion that Julia needs money, it seems like it should (programmers need food – and caffeine), and I’m sure it would be able to use funding to effectively catalyse progress.

I wonder if it might be an idea to sit down with the IPython people and talk about how they got funding?

I would be happy to write to people, although as an (albeit enthusiastic) newcomer I’m probably not the best envoy. Nevertheless, I would still be happy to write letters that senior devs could (reword if necessary and) send on, if that is of any use.


#2

Julia definitely can and does use various sources of funding:

  • Donations to support Julia are handled by NumFOCUS, which deals with all of the legal and tax aspects of running a non-profit: http://www.numfocus.org/open-source-projects.html … small donations are welcome too!

  • Julia Computing (http://juliacomputing.com/) provides commercial Julia support and development, and employs many of the key Julia developers.

  • Several Julia people are in academia, and can use a portion of their grant funding to support Julia development.

That being said, if anyone has personal deep-pocketed contacts who might be interested in substantially funding Julia development, it would be extremely helpful if they could cultivate that possibility. Probably the best way to handle it would be through NumFOCUS.


#3

Is there any estimate of the (disclosed) financial support that goes into Julia compared to Python for numerical computing (NumPy, Numba…)? For Julia, I could only find that from the Moore Foundation.


#4

See the P&L spreadsheet for NumFOCUS: there is a column for Julia.


#5

That makes about $400_000 / year (2 year Moore grant + NumFocus).