Monday, September 26, 2011

My Summer Internship

Last summer, I researched cloud network security through an internship with the Information Trust Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It was the best summer I've ever had.

First, it was exhilarating and terrifying to move to a new city with only the things I could carry on a plane. I spent my first weekend in Urbana acquiring the things I needed to live: food, towels, toiletries, and a bicycle. Once I had settled in, I found Urbana-Champaign to be a wonderful place to live. When I spent time exploring the city, it rewarded with delicious restaurants, fascinating architecture, and stimulating culture. Exposure to Black Dog's barbeque pork sandwiches and brisket burnt ends and Murphy's Pub's hamburgers has destroyed my appetite for the substandard barbeque and burgers I've found here. Every day I wish I were back in Urbana.

Second, I enjoyed working on something substantial. My job was to research computer network security, devise a new network security system, build a prototype, and document the work. The research time gave me an excuse to learn how networks work. The planning stage introduced me to the process of brainstorming and planning with a team. In the prototyping phase, John and I managed to assemble a test network with 32 virtual machines, build two prototype security enforcers, and test our prototypes on the test network. To document our work, we created two posters and wrote a research paper which will be published by the International Workshop on Resilience Assessment of Complex Systems 2011. I'm proud of what I accomplished during the summer.

Third, I was honored and delighted to befriend my colleagues and fellow interns. It was a thrill to work closely with John, my partner on the project. We spent hours together slinging code, debugging the test bed, and writing posters and papers. I also enjoyed eating lunch with the other ITI interns Tuesdays and Thursdays at the internship seminars. On the weekends, my posse and I would meet to go bowling or eat dinner. We also had a few events at Europa House for all the summer iterns: a Walking Dead marathon, movie nights, and potlucks. The things I miss most about last summer are the friends I made. However, I expect to meet them again in the coming years on the cutting edge of industry and computer science research.

In summary, my summer internship at UIUC allowed me to live in a new city, research cutting-edge technology, and make new friends. Next summer will be even better.