Intern Profile – Susan Tu

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

We wrap up the series with an interview with Susan Tu who was recruited by the Intelligent Infrastructure Lab.

Summer intern Susan Tu

Intern Susan Tu

Susan Tu is unique among HP Labs’ interns this summer.  While her peers are mostly already in graduate school, Tu has yet to enter college. “A lot of the other interns here are the same age as the youngest high school teacher I had,” she jokes.  Tu grew up near HP Labs’ Palo Alto campus in Milpitas, CA.  She graduated this summer from the Harker School in San Jose, CA and will be entering Stanford University this fall.  When she’s not interning, Tu’s a keen hiker and enjoys contributing graphic design work to various organizations at her school.

HP: How did you end up interning at HP Labs?
My high school was lucky enough to have a computer science department and last year there was a new course on digital signal processing. It turned out that the author of our textbook was Ronald Schafer, who’s a researcher here, and he came to our class to give a guest lecture. I was looking for something to do this summer and I like computer science, so I emailed Ron my resume Then I spoke with my principal mentor Dejan Milojicic on the phone and he invited me to intern.

HP: What have you been working on?
I’m looking at the trade-offs between sustainability and quality of service in cloud computing. I’ve been using OpenStack, the open source cloud software, and extending its API so that virtual machines can be deployed into either a quality of service-prioritized pool or a sustainability-prioritized pool. My other mentors, who are in the Sustainable Ecosystems Research Group, and Dejan had worked on a sustainability monitoring tool for Opencirrus. I took part of that project and integrated it with OpenStack so a user can see, using the Openstack API, information such as how much CO2 is being generated by each virtual machine. I’ve also been working on a related simulation using some data from one of my mentors.

HP: Was that a pretty steep learning curve?
Well, I came here with having had no experience with Linux at all, so it took a while to catch up. My mentors were really helpful though and another intern who’s also working with OpenStack in the Networking and Communications Lab helped me too.

HP: What has surprised you about interning here?
It’s been really eye-opening in terms of the amount of different research that goes on in computer science. In school we take classes and just learn the concepts. Here, when you see what the other interns are working on, you learn about all kinds of things you’d never thought of.

HP: Has this internship changed your college or career plans?
Part of the reason I wanted to do the internship was that I have a lot of friends who’ve done internships and then really wanted to go into that field and others who decided after their internships that they don’t want to go in that direction at all. Right now, I’m pretty positive about going in this direction! I’m still hoping to major in Computer Science at Stanford.