Intern Spotlight: Rohan Devasthale, Red Hat Research Boston

Oct 26, 2022 | Blog, Internship, North America

At Red Hat Research, we hire creative, passionate students who are ready to work and learn with a global leader in open source solutions. Our interns bring fresh ideas and new connections to challenging problems in the open source community, unlocking their own potential while contributing to the innovative power of open development.

This blog post spotlights Rohan Devasthale, a Software Engineering Intern who has been with Red Hat Research since May 2022. Rohan spoke with us about his contributions to the Elastic Secure Infrastructure (ESI) project, how his experience as a Red Hat Research Intern enhanced his technical skills, and his passion for badminton. He is a graduate student at Khoury College of Computer Sciences at Northeastern University, Boston, MA.

Check out Rohan’s Red Hat Research People Profile to watch his Elastic Secure Infrastructure (ESI) presentation from DevConf.US 2022 and follow him on GitHub.

What have you been working on during your time as a Red Hat Research intern?

I am contributing to the Elastic Secure Infrastructure (ESI) project. ESI is an MOC Alliance project aiming to permit multiple tenants or organizations to allocate bare metal machines available from a pool of hardware, create networks, attach nodes to networks, and occasionally provide an operating system with the help of existing provisioning services. So far, my contribution includes bug fixes, bug tracking, refactoring the code, making changes to existing code as per new requirements, writing unit tests, and testing the project in different environments. 

The purposes of the project are to enable efficient use of hardware sitting idle for a given timespan to maximize resource utilization and to tackle and plan for situations that require scaling compute resources based on demand. 

Did your project achieve its goals? 

Yes, the project achieved its goals and has been successfully deployed in the MOC-ESI environment.

What makes you interested in open source research?

I was new to open source research before joining Red Hat, but I quickly grew to like the concept of open source. It is based on the fundamental pillar of collaboration. I firmly believe that new ideas from people with different levels and types of experience play a key role in making any product or project successful. Open source is definitely the way of the future!

What made you interested in working with Red Hat Research?

Red Hat Research collaborates with many well-known educational research institutions, including Boston University, UMass, Northeastern University, and Harvard University, creating connections to US faculty focused on research and development in the field of computer science. RHR also has a global presence, allowing interns to get exposure to and learn from what is happening in the world. 

What knowledge, experience, or skills did you gain through your experience as an intern?

I learned a lot from my experience, including how an open source project is developed and about various concepts in Cloud Computing and advanced concepts in computer networks. I gained new skills in the Python programming language and Git as a version control system. Further, I gained experience in bug fixing and learned that the internet has answers to all the questions! In addition to technical skills, I was also able to improve my communication and presentation skills.

Who are your mentors? How have your project mentors helped you?

Ans. I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the entire ESI team. Tzu-Mainn Chen, Principal Software Engineer at Red Hat Research, is my primary mentor. He is very patient with me and regularly provides guidance and points me in the right direction anytime I get stuck. I am also thankful to Gagan Kumar, Senior Product Manager at Red Hat Research and product manager for ESI. He helped me through a smooth onboarding for the project during my initial weeks at Red Hat. Lastly, I am grateful to my manager, Heidi Dempsey, Research and Innovation Director, North America, Red Hat Research, for believing in me and giving me this opportunity.

What was the hardest part about presenting to the RHR team?

As an international student, I had very little experience presenting to an audience, and I was nervous about doing it in front of the RHR team. It is always hard to present to an audience who are more experienced and have achieved great things in their field. Handling questions was the hardest part. You have to be ready for the questions coming your way, and it is a real test of your knowledge of the topic. However, now that I have presented a few times, I have grown in confidence.

What are your longer-term career and research goals, and how will this internship help you?

My long-term career and research goals include working on projects and products that will make a positive impact on people and will be used by many. My immediate goal is to work as a software engineer and use my skills and knowledge to solve real-world problems as soon as I graduate. This internship has helped me understand my strengths and weaknesses more clearly. Along with that, I have gained loads of new technical knowledge that will definitely help me in the future.

What other things did you do with Red Hat or in the open source space during your time as a RHR intern?

During my time as an intern, I got an opportunity to participate and contribute to DevConf.US 2022 in Boston this past August. I volunteered for the conference and learned a lot from it. It was inspiring and informative to listen to brilliant people that contribute to open source in the field of computer science. Further, I got a chance to showcase my work as an intern to a wide audience on the last day of the conference. I am extremely grateful to Langdon White, Clinical Assistant Professor for the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences, Boston University, who was the main chair for the conference, and Heidi, for this opportunity.

What advice would you give to a new Red Hat Research intern?

My advice to a new Red Hat Research intern would be to be curious and ask questions. Also, remember that we all are lifelong learners and never stop learning new things. Try to contribute as much as possible to your project and, if possible, to other projects. Interact with the members of the RHR team and take opportunities to interact with the RHR partners. This will definitely help you grow personally and professionally. Last but not the least, enjoy your time as an intern and have fun!

Now for some fun questions: Share a favorite memory from your time working at Red Hat Research.

My favorite memories include playing ping pong with my fellow interns at the Boston office, interacting with Red Hat CEO Matt Hicks about the future of the software industry, and having team lunches!

Is a hot dog a sandwich? Why?

No, I don’t believe that a hot dog is a sandwich. It simply doesn’t fit the image of a sandwich I have had in my head since I was a kid. A hot dog can be a sub, but not a sandwich.

What is your favorite travel destination?

I prefer traveling to places that are calm and have natural beauty. So far, from what I have explored within the United States, I liked Rhode Island, Vermont, and New Hampshire. However, my favorite destination remains Singapore. I visited it back in 2014 after completing tenth grade. I was amazed to see their culture, diversity, and how well organized and disciplined they are as a country. 

What are your talents or hobbies?

I am a badminton player: I represented my undergrad college team back in India. I also follow and enjoy watching tennis. My hobbies include traveling to new places and trying different foods.

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