Un été français enrichissante (An enriching French summer)

I spent the summer of 2015 at Inria, Sophia Antipolis. Last semester while I was interning at EMC corporation in Bangalore, I was trying to finalise my summer plans and was actively looking for interesting opportunities. I got an acceptance from Inria, GSOC among others. I was confused as to which opportunity to pick. I remember having a long conversation with Prof. PK from Bangalore, he advised me to go for Inria over the rest. At that time, I couldn’t perceive that a sublime summer was awaiting me.

I was going to work as a part of the Project Inde team under the guidance of Dr. Tamara Rezk. All the arrangements were taken care of before flying to France. My past work and research experience at Precog had prepared me well for the challenges the project entailed. Apart from the work opportunity, I was excited about my summer experiences and adventures.

I reached France on 31st of May. I spent the first day exploring my accommodation and nearby areas. I was staying at Centre international de Valbonne. It was a prodigious facility in the countryside surrounded by the French Riviera, it was an extremely picturesque location. Moreover there were students from various nationalities. Living with people from different ethnic and cultural background was a wonderful experience.

My first day in office was mostly to settle in and was marked by introductions with members of the team. I was working with a highly proficient team which comprised of 5 senior researchers and 2 PhD students. All of them were passionate researchers, working on exciting projects. The interesting part of working in this team was that every individual belonged to a different nationality. With a brief meeting with my mentor we kicked off the internship. I was developing a code injection prevention solution for multitier web languages such as HOP. It is an interesting problem as a lot of work has not been done in this field and Dr. Tamara Rezk specialises in computer security with prominent interests in code injection prevention techniques. I was intrigued by what the other teams were working on specially the robotics group. There were so many groundbreaking projects underway, by the end of the internship I was disappointed that I couldn’t get a chance to explore some of them. It was a fabulous experience working on a project in this particular domain and getting inspired by the work being done in Inria.

Apart from work, I had a rejuvenating summer. I am a traveller at heart even though you’ll always find me complaining that I don’t get to travel as much as I would like to. During the summer, I traveled to 27 cities and 6 countries. Some of the most magnificent places I went to include the Colosseum in Rome, Sistine Chapel in Vatican and Jungfraujoch, Switzerland. Overall it was an invaluable experience both in terms of personal growth as a researcher and as a traveller.

Below is a picture from my last day at Inria –


My experience interning at Precog

This summer I found myself at the Precog, part of Cybersecurity Education and Research Centre at IIIT D working on really cool things with amazing people. I’d come to know about this opportunity through Raghav who also interned here couple of summers back so I was really excited to start. Looking back, I can honestly say it was a great use of my time and I learnt a lot. Aside from being exposed to new technologies, I also got a taste of research. Attending the weekly WU (whatsup) sessions and hearing about the research the PhD students were doing and how they were doing it gave me a good insight on what research really looks like. I’ll rely on this insight when I’m deciding between going to industry or to grad school.

I had a great team of really smart people all of whom were eager to help and share knowledge, which helped build a great atmosphere of learning at Precog. My takeaway on Precog is that it is a group of really talented people working on coming up with solutions to really interesting (and important) problems.

Aside from the work we also had several team dinners and outings which were fun. I was also given a surprise on my last day of work which included cake and an opportunity to talk to everyone and reflect on my summer.

I’m glad I got to be a part of Precog this summer and am thankful to PK for giving me this opportunity and to all my friends at IIIT D for making it a great summer.

Manik, Sophomore@CMU