Why am I fundraising?
When I first started MathHarbor back in 2012, the objective was to make open-source mathematical and scientific computing more accessible. Since then, we've tried a lot of different approaches to achieving this objective, and we feel we've finally come to a point where we've come up with a rock-solid plan to make this work. A brief overview of what would now constitute the new and redesigned MathHarbor, which would be known by a new name - Scidra - our gameplan would look as follows:
1. A powerful, scalable and simple cloud platform for running and sharing scientific models, using any language, any library, any toolchain you like.
2. A courseware platform that concentrates on creating elegant video courseware to spread the use of open-source languages, libraries and toolchains for differetn scientific and humanist disciplines.
3. A knowledge base of sorts, that compares functions and semantical constructs for different mathematical and scientific functions, across multiple languages.
4. In the future, maybe even a discussion forum, to help people share conversations around their models easier.
To support all these seemingly-grandiose plans, we need funds - much of our expenditure involves server costs, which is something we do *not* want to play with at all - after all, these plans survive on the belief that our servers never go down due to a lack of funds! Apart from that, it is rather necessary to bring in domain experts, to work on parts of our platform, as well as parts of the courseware content that we build. Finally, while we love math, we all have our bills to pay! A bit of funds guarantees that we won't be rendered homeless while we drive our mission forward.
What do I plan to do with the funds?
- Server costs - Until now, we've managed to survive on cloud credits from major cloud providers. It's not a reliable approach. Being able to fund our server costs would give us control over the servers, and be able to scale in order to cater to any spikes.
- Talent - Currently, while the code for our platform is ready to be re-deployed, we feel we'll stall very soon, if we're not able to find new talent to help take the platform forward. In addition to that, building our own courseware platform, knowledge base, discussion platform and so on - someone needs to spend their time and effort on those, to bring them up to speed.
- Content - For the courseware, we obviously want to bring onboard the best minds in the arena, to help us build engaging content that helps people quickly get started with solving problems in science with open-source.
- Survivability - As mentioned earlier, a deep and unabiding love for math and science doesn't help pay the bills! If there's something left over, we might use it to survive for a while.
These funds ensure that we're able to kickstart this ecosystem, and build it to a point where it can earn for itself. We'd be more than happy to set up an open space where people can discuss how we spend, in order to find the most optimal route. After all, if you contribute, you're helping us build this. Which means you deserve to know what's happening inside too.
Will I be notified about your progress?
Yes! Apart from weekly notification emails, we're thinking of setting up a public roadmap of sorts, that shows you where we stand in terms of progress on the different things we're working on. You will have the opportunity to comment on said progress, and we will have the option of taking your views into account, while we do what we do best.
Do you have some sort of timeline?
Yes and no. While we still haven't come up with a blow-by-blow plan, we have a very basic timeline in mind. The idea is to roll out the next iteration of the computing platform as well as the first set of courseware videos on a brand-new courseware platform, within a month of the crowdfunding campaign ending. Much of our code is written and tested over a series of 13 different iterations over the last two years; now it's a matter of refinement.
Will I have a say in your product development?
Another yes! But with a catch. As mentioned earlier, we will make our product roadmaps open, as well as our source code, so that you have a say in how we're doing what we intend to do. However, we feel that it's necessary to have a discussion that raises a valid point, and leads somewhere. To that end, we'd request you to think through your points carefully, so that we don't waste time in a meaningless exchange, and actually take a quicker call on your views, and how we can work with them.
What do I get for contributing?
That's a great question. Why? We don't know yet, for sure! Those are details we're still cranking out. However, we have a fair idea; for one, your contribution will get you free access to both computing and courses. The duration of this free access depends on your contribution amount, and these are tiers we will work out very, very soon, to make sure it's fair to both you and us. Apart from that, we might even look at swag, which isn't set in concrete. And, if we manage to follow on through with our plans to set up India's first scientific computing conference - well, free tickets for sure. Another idea we have in mind, is to make sure that even when our platform is monetized, we make sure our early contributers get priority support - that would be the least we can do to express our gratitude!