Hola! We are Protichi Basak and Nikita Gupta, fresh Computer Science graduates from IIIT-Delhi, India. And if you were to believe our batchmates, we were amongst the nerdiest girls there (something which gives us more pride than embarrassment for some reason). Although we have known each other for four years, our friendship feels like decades old already. It brings a smile to our faces every time we remember our first day, where every student was asked to introduce themselves to the entire batch, but Nikita used that opportunity to find her roommate Protichiinstead, for she found the name so unique! Being roommates from the very first day of college we have been partners in all craziness ever since. Yet we are poles apart. While Protichi is a trilingual, hardcore fish-lover hailing from the lands of Bengal, Nikita is a strict vegetarian from North India mad about Rajasthani folk and food!
Our passion to learn new technologies and use them to solve real world issues has driven us this far and has brought us together to make a great team! And this is how we came up with our team name prodyoGEEKY – inspired from the Hindi word प्रौद्योगिकी (pronounced as praudyogikee) meaning Technology!
In the past, we have worked on a number of projects together. Most recently we worked on Breast Cancer Detection using Deep Learning in Histopathological Images. For our bachelor’s thesis, we both worked in the same research lab (Image Analysis and Biometrics Lab at IIIT-Delhi) where we worked on face and fingerprint recognition.
This summer we are working with OpenLMIS, which is an initiative to support the development of an open-source software for Logistics Management Information Systems (LMIS). The aim of the software is to manage health commodity supply chains in low- and middle-income countries. The end result is a robust and flexible system that provides shared benefit across users and programs. It is currently supported by Rockefeller Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), USAID, JSI, the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities, PATH to name a few. OpenLMIS envisions shared investment and benefit through an open source community and extensible architecture along with interoperability with other health systems. At present, it is deployed in six countries in Africa.
Why we chose OpenLMIS?
A large part of our country still lives in rural parts where there is a dearth of qualified doctors, medicines and advanced facilities to provide medical treatment. Last semester, while working towards automated breast cancer detection as a part of our Machine Learning project, we realised that many deaths occur in such underprivileged areas. This is primarily because of untimely diagnosis and delay in administration of good quality medicines due to unavailability. This affected us deeply and we wanted to improve the present conditions of the health and hygiene. As computer scientists, we believe that technology has the power to provide an automated solution to any real-world problem and affect millions of lives! So while choosing a project for RGSoC, we wanted to contribute to a project which actually has the ability to impact many lives while at the same time, also helps in improving our development and coding skills. OpenLMIS was exactly what we had been looking for and we had an immediate inclination towards it.
So without further ado, meet our uber cool team!
The team of OpenLMIS is so awesome! It wouldn’t be wrong to say that they are the major source of encouragement for us. Our mentors, Brandon and Nick, are always eager to help us out even on smallest of issues! It is for this reason, nothing holds us back from learning as much as we can from them. A little more background about our mentors and coaches:
Brandon- With over 20 years of experience in IT, Brandon leads VillageReach’s software innovation as the Software Development Manager. And Brandon is a cycling enthusiast, just like us.
Nick- A CSS nerd, as he likes to call himself, Nick is a developer and UX/UI expert at Village Reach. He is excited about tools and capacity building.
Tenly- She works towards building a vibrant OpenLMIS community interacting with the existing and new OpenLMIS partner. She has over eight years in international development in Africa.
Karan- A technology enthusiast, Karan loves to get his hands dirty with any new tool he comes across and has won numerous hackathons. One of the most creative and sincere guys we know from our college, Karan has been a constant support to us and has helped us incredibly during our application too!
Chhavi- A Noogler, Chhavi has participated as a mentor in various programs that support women in tech. She has also been facilitated by the Honorable President of India for securing first prize in Code for India.
Jigyasa- She has recently been awarded Red Hat Women in Open Source Award. Jigyasa has carved her name as an Open Source enthusiast helping her friends as a mentor. She is also the director of Women Who Code, Delhi.
What’s in store?
One month of RGSoC has already gone by and the experience so far has been nothing but simply amazing! We have already taken our toddler steps towards contributing to the open source community together. This summer, we wish to learn a lot, face new challenges every day to keep ourselves on our toes, debug our codes, develop solutions to new issues, and be able to critically analyse and design a solution.
After the summers ends, we will be joining the industry as research and development engineers. It is, therefore, one of our major motivations to be able to learn how to write clean reusable code, document well and work harmoniously in a team of people possessing different skill sets and expertise. Apart from that, we wish to be creative too so that anyone and everyone will find it useful in the first place and be able to use it conveniently and intuitively. We not only hope to be better developers but good team workers and passionate open source contributors as well!
As an ending note, we are very grateful to be a part of RGSoC this year where we got to contribute to OpenLMIS and interact with people who are diverse in culture, ideas, knowledge, expertise, and bond over what we all share a common passion for, i.e., technology!
*This blog was originally published on August 7, 2017, on Rails Girls Summer of Code.
*Interested in learning more about OpenLMIS? Read OpenLMIS Version 3 – A Global Achievement.