Intern Profile – Justin Meza

From left to right: Senior research scientist Jichuan Chang and intern Justin Meza.

This is a series of profiles featuring interviews with some of this year's crop of summer interns at HP Labs.

We continue the series with an interview with Justin Meza who was recruited by the
Intelligent Infrastructure Lab.

Analyzing data-centric workloads

Summer intern Gowtham Bellala
Summer intern
Justin Meza.

Justin Meza is back at HP Labs this summer for the sixth year in a row.  He first interned here while a freshman HP Scholar at UCLA, where he majored in computer science. Now a PhD student in electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, Meza grew up in Chino Hills, in Southern California. The son of a jazz musician, he’s a keen electric bass player and something of a foodie.  “Since I’m only here for three months at a time, I love sampling all of the different restaurants that are around here,” he says.

HP: What are you working on this year?
This year I’m taking a look at emerging Web 2.0 workloads. Imagine millions of people each uploading megabytes of videos every day from a web service, for example. How do you handle all that data efficiently? I’m looking at how you take those interactive tasks, which people expect to finish in a certain amount of time, and expose those different expectations to the underlying hardware.

HP: This is your sixth internship at HP Labs. What keeps you coming back?
What keeps me coming back is the people. It’s the opportunity to work with these really cool, really down-to-earth people on really exciting projects. 

HP: Have you always interned in the same lab?
My first year I was working on a web project for Rich Friedrich (now Director of Strategic Innovation and Research Services at HP Labs). Through Rich I met a lot of researchers, including my current manager Partha Ranganathan in the Intelligent Infrastructure Lab. I’ve worked with Partha and various other mentors at HP labs ever since.

HP: What’s surprised you about interning at HP Labs?
When I think back to when I first came here, I remember being surprised that I could send an email to pretty much anyone and they would find the time to meet with me. Having talked with a lot of other students who’ve interned at a lot of other places, I know that’s pretty special.

HP: If you had one piece of advice for new HPL interns, what would you suggest?
Because everyone is so accessible, I’d advise people to make the most of that in terms of networking.  You have an amazing opportunity here to meet and build valuable connections with a lot of very smart and very influential people.  

HP: Has interning at HPL influenced your intellectual development?
Since the first summer that I was with Mehul Shah and Partha, I’ve always had my hands on hardware.  Software is great, but I’ve come to see that when you are the hardware designer you have a lot more control over the kind of knobs that you can turn to get to a solution. That’s played a big part in my applying for an electrical engineering PhD, rather than sticking with computer science.