Precog @IIITD — my journey and the people

A journey is best measured in friends!

Of course we are doing some breath taking work!
Of course I highly recommend everyone to apply for open positions here!

But I won’t talk about the work (everyone else already is). I will talk about what really makes Precog — the people@Precog.

Outsiders see it as a group, insiders see it as a family

In my second semester I had taken up a course in Probability and Statistics under Prof. Ponnurangam Kumaraguru “PK”. This is how I got introduced to Precog and PK.

It was 2013, at that time I was trying to figure out my niche as a CS major . I was in search of a new and exciting opportunity. A friend who had been working with Precog told me about an opening. As I have already mentioned in another post of mine, I have a threefold criteria while evaluating opportunities:

Is it aligned with my short and long term goals?
It was definitely aligned with my short term goal of getting my hands dirty with new technologies. At that time I didn’t realise the extent to which Precog would contribute towards moulding me into an aspiring product designer in the long run.

Is there exciting work that I can contribute to?
Without divulging any details, let me just say it was a product of national interest. The research and development activities at Precog are making their mark in more ways than meets the eye ( of course I can’t speak about it :P, If you want to know apply and get in! )

The people I will be working with
This was and still is the most compelling reason. Not only are they really smart researchers and developers but also very helpful. Precog alums and collaborators are everywhere: Facebook, Apple, Princeton, UIUC, CMU, Georgia Tech etc

(PS: I will be joining Georgia Tech this fall for my masters. I already know so many there because of Precog. I am staying with an Ex Research Assistant from the lab)

After a month of interviews and coding tasks I was picked as a software developer for the project. Over the next couple of months I got to know the entire team, even people who weren’t working on the same project as I was (very welcoming people!).

In the coming time I collaborated with different people from the lab, learnt so many different things from them, specially from PK. He’s helped me not only with professional, but also personal matters (thanks!). He’s invested much more time than a normal advisor would’ve in making this relation stronger.

My lab mates taught me the real meaning of ‘with great responsibility comes great power’, after the first time I messed up some daemons on the server (:P) Everyone in the lab has contributed in so many ways that I don’t even know how to write it down. From helping in my assignments to giving me feedback on my applications.

While concluding I would strongly recommend everyone to apply for the open positions@Precog, you won’t regret it.

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 –