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Summer 2013 interns at HP Labs – Jiahong Zhu


Contributed by Simon Firth, freelance technology journalist


Jiahong-Zhu_June-2013.jpgJiahong Zhu is returning this summer for her second internship at HP Labs. A Ph.D. candidate in computer science at Purdue University in Indiana, Zhu grew up in Changshu, a small city near Shanghai, China. Before moving to Purdue, she received her BE in automation engineering from Xi’an Jiaotong University, in Xi’an, China.


HP: So how was your first internship year?

It was great. And I was able to continue the research project after I returned to Purdue. My advisor is involved too, so we had weekly meetings with the HP team. And now I’m back!


HP: How did you initially find out about internship opportunities at HP Labs?

Last year, the HP networking group was looking for someone with experience in network simulation and I had been working in that area for the first year of my Ph.D. They had contacted my advisor and she thought I might be a fit, so I applied.


HP: What are you working on this year?

We’re trying to provide performance guarantees for tenants in data center networks. That means guaranteeing specific data center customers specific amounts of shared network bandwidth, which is difficult to achieve because they have to compete with other tenants. We’re looking at how creating virtual networks can help solve the problem.


HP: Do you think your work here will influence your academic research?

I do. Data center networks are a very new and interesting area of research and I think there are a lot of topics that I could study. I’d be very happy to make one of them the topic of my thesis.  


HP: What has struck you as interesting or different about industrial research?

I like how people here are discussing things with each other all the time, and the brainstorming that’s always going on. It happens much more often than in a university. You can also find people working on similar problems easily and, even if they’re not working in the same area, they’re willing to share their perspectives on the problems you’re trying to solve.


HP: What’s been the best thing about interning at HP Labs?

It’s how you can collaborate with people. The researchers here are happy to work really closely with you and treat you as a peer. They’ll share their ideas with you, seeing you as a real researcher. I think that’s amazing.  


HP: Anything surprised you about how things work here?

I thought people would be working day and night, like we do in college. But people use their time really efficiently. They get good work done, but they still have time to go home and have other things in their lives, which I think is really healthy.


HP: So what do you do with your spare time, now that you have some?

I like to cycle and I’ve begun learning to cook traditional Chinese food – even though there are a lot more authentic Chinese restaurants around here than back in Indiana. I’ve also started reading fiction more seriously.  

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