Scientific Computing and summer interns exchange knowledge, community

It’s summertime, and most people are busy planning vacations, looking for plane tickets and scouting for rental homes. This was not the case for the Fermilab Scientific Computing Services Quadrant: People here were frantically looking for office spaces for upcoming summer interns.

We had great success this year attracting a record number of interns to work on interesting projects within the quadrant. Take this  sample list of projects: “Workflow development and analysis for Dark Energy Survey-Gravitational Waves,” “Improving logging and monitoring for GlideIn Workload Management Service,” “Implementing metrics and visualizations for monitoring a petabyte-scale data management system” and several others.

We’ve been working with more than 10 students from TARGET, the University Of Chicago, QuarkNet, SIST, CCI and Italian graduate student programs. The main benefits for students were getting involved in the creative process, being part of the team and working toward a common goal. They were exposed to many concepts that were new to them, such as cybersecurity, distributed computing and data handling. They also learned new programming languages and technologies. And all this was done in less than three months!

Antonio Segura and other students share their work at the summer intern poster session. Photo: Tanya Levshina

Regardless of what our interns choose to do later in life, the exposure to science, a diverse community and the ability to contribute will make an impact.

This is what one of this year’s SIST interns, Antonio Segura, posted at his LinkedIn stream: “Today I return home from my 12 week internship at the Fermi National Particle Accelerator Laboratory. Some of my work during this entailed improving the Fermilab meta-database, FERRY, by standardizing its code, creating a visual interface, and an automated testing system to make it easier to developers and users alike to use it. My summer at Fermilab gave me an incredible amount of experience in database management and requirements engineering, but my favorite part of the summer was meeting all of these wonderful people. It’s a truly wonderful thing to work in an interdisciplinary workplace with people from all fields and walks of life collaborating to achieve a common goal…”

For us it was also time well spent. To be ready for the influx of interns, we needed to identify projects that we wanted to get done but that had no designated efforts, and revise our documentation and development processes. But the best part of the summer mentorship was teaching valuable skills and sharing our enthusiasm for the work we are doing at Fermilab.

Tanya Levshina is a member of the Scientific Computing Division’s Scientific Computing Services Quadrant.