Intern profile – Gowtham Bellala

Intern Gowtham Bellala and mentor and senior research scientist Manish Marwah.

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

We continue the series with an interview with Gowtham Bellala who was recruited by the
Sustainable Ecosystems Research Group.

Studying patterns in energy consumption

Summer intern Gowtham Bellala
Summer intern
Gowtham Bellala.

Gowtham Bellala is a final-year PhD student in electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. A native of Visakhapatnam in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, Bellala received his BS in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras.  In his spare time, Bellala enjoys photography, biking and taking long nature walks.

HP: What are you working on during your internship at HP Labs?
My background is in pattern recognition and data mining and while I’m here I’m working on applying those techniques to developing sustainable buildings, working within the Sustainable Ecosystems Research Group.  I’m looking at energy use data for buildings and seeing if there are patterns in energy consumption that you can identify to help reduce that consumption overall. 

HP: How did you hear about the internship opportunities at HP Labs?
I had heard about them from friends at Michigan, but I didn’t know that there were opportunities for people with my background.  I thought that HP Labs worked mostly on microprocessors, VLSI and things like that.  But then I saw the variety of internships listed on the website and decided to apply.

HP: What has surprised you about interning here?
I’d say the HP Labs open door policy. You can drop by and meet not just your mentor or manager but other researchers and even your group director.  It really helps when you have doubts or questions about your work. We also meet as a group for lunch every day and that’s a great opportunity to hear about what other people are working on. That’s pretty cool. In my project I need to find patterns in different kinds of data and it really helps to be able to talk with people who have expertise in those different areas of data collection.

HP: Is the internship changing how you’re thinking about your own research interests?
Sure. What I’m doing right now, for example, is a very novel application of data mining.  I’d never thought of using it for this until I discussed it with my mentor, Manish Marwah.  It’s opened up a broader perspective for me and it’s certainly one avenue that I may pursue in the future.

HP: What would you say to people considering applying for an HP Labs internship?  What’s the value of applying ?
I’d say that the great thing is that you’re not given any meaningless work to do here.  You are really working on a good research problem.  The goal is that at the end of your internship you will have some impact on the problem you are working on – possibly a publication or a patent disclosure.  You can’t do that in just three months unless you are doing nothing but really good, rewarding work!