DMLC/XGBoost has grown from a research project incubated in academia to one of the most widely used gradient boosting framework in production environment. On one side, with the growth of volume and variety of data in the production environment, users are putting accordingly growing expectation to XGBoost in terms of more functions, scalability and robustness. On the other side, as an open source project which develops in a fast pace, XGBoost has been receiving contributions from many individuals and organizations around the world. Given the high expectation from the users and the increasing channels of contribution to the project, delivering the high quality software presents a challenge to the project maintainers.
A robust and efficient continuous integration (CI) infrastructure is one of the most critical solutions to address the above challenge. A CI service will monitor an open-source repository and run a suite of integration tests for every incoming contribution. This way, the CI ensures that every proposed change in the codebase is compatible with existing functionalities. Furthermore, XGBoost can enable more thorough tests with a powerful CI infrastructure to cover cases which are closer to the production environment.
There are several CI services available free to open source projects, such as Travis CI and AppVeyor. The XGBoost project already utilizes Travis and AppVeyor. However, the XGBoost project has needs that these free services do not adequately address. In particular, the limited usage quota of resources such as CPU and memory leaves XGBoost developers unable to bring “too-intensive” tests. In addition, they do not offer test machines with GPUs for testing XGBoost-GPU code base which has been attracting more and more interest across many organizations. Consequently, the XGBoost project self-hosts a cloud server with Jenkins software installed: https://xgboost-ci.net/.
The self-hosted Jenkins CI server has recurring operating expenses. It utilizes a leading cloud provider (AWS) to accommodate variable workload. The master node serving the web interface is available 24/7, to accommodate contributions from people around the globe. In addition, the master node launches slave nodes on demand, to run the test suite on incoming contributions. To save cost, the slave nodes are terminated when they are no longer needed.
To help defray the hosting cost, the XGBoost project seeks donations from third parties.
Donors may choose to make one-time donations or recurring donations on monthly or yearly basis. Donors who commit to the Sponsor tier will have their logo displayed on the front page of the XGBoost project.
All expenses incurred for hosting CI will be submitted to the fiscal host with receipts. Only the expenses in the following categories will be approved for reimbursement:
The PMC shall appoint committer(s) to administer the Jenkins CI server on their behalf. The current administrators are as follows:
The administrators shall make good-faith effort to keep the CI expenses under control. The expenses shall not exceed the available funds. The administrators should post regular updates on CI expenses.