I am interested in Systems and Security, mainly involving Cryptography, Distributed and Operating Systems, Blockchains and Quantum Computing.
Where did you get your internship and why did you apply there?
What interested you or attracted you to this particular internship and why?
R.C. Bose Center for Cryptology and Security, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata.
I applied here because it is one of the best places in the country to pursue cryptographic research. The professors in ISI Kolkata have an amazing research tracks.
How did you get your internship?
Was it through the college or off-campus or through a senior/prof or through an internship website?
I emailed a Professor requesting an internship. The professor then scheduled a telephonic interview. After the interview, I was accepted and the paperwork for the funding as well as the internship was issued.
What was your internship about?
I worked on building a publicly verifiable data storage framework running on modified Ethereum.
How was the work culture?
The office timings were very flexible. Students are allowed to work 24x7. The work was target based. The big picture was explained and the guide suggested the general approach. Students are expected to learn the requisites, implement the objectives and come up with new ideas. It was a great learning experience. The atmosphere is conducive for learning. Research scholars discuss about hot and trending topics such as quantum computing, blockchains, data base security, information theory, homomorphic encryption, etc.
What did you learn during the internship?
Was it challenging for you to do it? What new skills did you develop?
It was a very demanding project. I had to read up a lot of research papers to update myself with the latest research in blockchains. But once the initial learning phase was completed, the rest of the project sailed like a breeze. The discussions held with the other research scholars helped me learn a lot about quantum computing, blockchains and deep learning. The students were allowed to participate in a blockchain workshop and also attend IndoCrypt 2017. I felt that this exposure was critical. It helped me to grasp the cutting edge research in blockchains and cryptography and network with other people who were working in the same domain as I was.
TL;DR I had to implement a publicly verifiable data storage framework by modifying ethereum. I modified the go-ethereum client to suit my needs. The protocol enables the users to have publicly verifiable decentralized storage using blockchains.
Tell us about the fun/ interesting incidents during the course of your internship.
I was fully funded to visit IndoCrypt 2017, held at Chennai. Here I met research heads from Microsoft and TCS. I was also a part of a blockchain workshop held at ISI. We met several key government officials, professors who advised the Prime Minister of India. We met India research heads of IBM and Microsoft. We also met distinguished international professors from Japan and Belgium apart from the distinguished professors from IITB, IIT-Kanpur, IITD, etc. I am proud to tell that I have met Prof. Bart Preneel, Prof. Nigel P Smart and Prof. Mike Rosulek. I have also met several of the best cryptographic researchers in the country and the experience was exhilarating.
What advice would you give to juniors regarding your internship?
Would you recommend a junior undergoing a similar internship at the same place you went?
I recommend students to attend conferences and workshops held all over the country. This helps to network as well as learn new things. I definitely recommend students interested in quantum computing, information theory, cryptography to try securing an internship in ISI Kolkata.