Karan Shukla is a junior who, last summer, interned in the IBM Extreme Blue project in Austin Texas. This is an extremely selective program that expects from participants high levels of determination, research potential, and excellent communications and interpersonal skills. His work there was extremely well received and he will be returning to IBM in the summer of 2017.
Karan has been a Senator in the Technology Committee for Student Government and a staff writer and photographer for the award-winning UTD Mercury student newspaper. In his own time, Karan wrote an R (statistical analysis) package that contains easy-to-use functions to anonymize private data, and he is currently in the process of getting it published to CRAN (The Comprehensive R Archive Network).
As part of our undergraduate research immersion program, Karan worked on a Sentiment Analysis Twitter application under the guidance of Professor Yang Liu. The application utilizes Naive Bayesian Classification to classify tweets by sentiment, and is able to filter tweets by their location or their topic. He has also worked in Dr. Murat Kantarcioglu’s Security and Privacy lab.
He documented his IBM Extreme Blue internship in this short piece for other students to read and get interested in wanting to intern at large tech companies like IBM:
Last summer, I had the opportunity to intern in Austin as part of Extreme Blue, IBM’s premier internship program. In Extreme Blue, a team of three technical and one business interncollaborate for twelve weeks to build a project, from brainstorming, to research, to development, to presentation, all while guided by a group of experienced mentors.
Extreme Blue involves very bright people with diverse sets of skills. Unlike other internships, the Extreme Blue group sits in an open lab where interns can easily communicate with each other while they are at work. My lab in Austin had four Extreme Blue teams, and throughout the summer in addition to our technical work, we had fun going out to the city for Sunday brunch, attending comedy events, participating in rock climbing, and taking in Austin’s music scene. Although I served as my team’s data science expert, the other interns taught me about the unique challenges faced in other roles such as front-end design, infrastructure engineering, and project management. If we ever needed a break from work, we were always free to play foosball, walk around campus, or explore the huge selection of restaurants at The Domain.
My team’s project was “Cloud Vigilante,” a tool to pre-emptively detect outages on IBM’s cloud infrastructure. We built on top of OpenStack, an open-source IaaS cloud platform, to spin up virtual machines in a simulated cloud environment. Our tool used predictive machine learning and anomaly detection algorithms via Apache Spark to learn from both historical and real-time data. When the program detected a potential outage, it notified cloud operators so that they would be able to take swift action to save the cloud.
One of the greatest benefits of an internship at a serious tech company is getting to apply the skills learned in school in a real-world environment. This was my first experience using agile methodologies and version control software in a long-term collaborative project, which allowed me to utilize knowledge that I gained from my Machine Learning, Programming Languages, and Software Engineering courses at UT Dallas.
An intangible benefit to working as an Extreme Blue intern was the opportunity network across the organization. I was strongly encouraged to speak with people from many different departments within the company. IBM is a massive company, and in the course of my internship, I spoke with data scientists in Chicago, cloud experts in London, business executives in New York, and technology evangelists in Canada. Being exposed to so many aspects of IBM’s business gave me a profound appreciation for all the challenges and opportunities that large-scale technology companies face today.
The internship culminated in a visit to IBM Headquarters in Armonk, New York, where each of the intern teams from Austin, New York, Ottawa, and Toronto got to present their project to IBM’s executives. Afterwards, we spent the day interviewing with IBM leaders from the company’s diverse array of business units. I very much enjoyed learning about the work that each of these departments do, and when I return next Summer, I will be joining as a Strategy Consultant Intern at IBM’s Chief Analytics Office in Armonk.
Click here to read Amber Hasan’s internship story.
Click here to read Shayan Monadjemi’s internship story.
ABOUT THE UT DALLAS COMPUTER SCIENCE DEPARTMENT
The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 2,100 bachelor’s-degree students, more than 1,000 MS master’s students, 150 PhD students, and 86 faculty members, as of Fall 2016. With The University of Texas at Dallas’ unique history of starting as a graduate institution first, the CS Department is built on a legacy of valuing innovative research and providing advanced training for software engineers and computer scientists.