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My Summer Internship with NASA

My Summer Internship with NASA: Garrison Vaughan

    This summer, as an intern for the National Center for Climate Simulation at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, I had the opportunity to work on some interesting problems in a very neat environment. After getting clearance, I was given a full time contractor badge so I could get through the security barricades every morning. Once security was cleared, I was free to roam around the entire campus. There were parks, ponds, wildlife, people jogging, huge satellite dishes, decommissioned rockets, buildings with unorthodox architecture, and farmers markets throughout the campus.

    On the bottom floor in the back of the building I worked in, there were two high security rooms on each side of the atrium that ran through the wings of the building. Both rooms housed large racks of equipment that made up the architecture of the supercomputers and data transfer/storage systems. Right above these rooms, on the second floor, were the staff offices where all of the scientists and system architects worked to keep the systems up and running, fixing user issues, and also actively expanding the clusters computational abilities.

    I was given the opportunity to work with these scientists and system architects to do a few very interesting jobs. One job was moving a continuous integration server, used for regression tests against a large Earth System Model, off of the main supercomputer cluster and into the Amazon Cloud. The reason for this was to make the results of the regression tests easier to get to instead of making the users go through all of the security measures necessary to get to our systems. Another project I got to do at Goddard was the development of base classes for graphing widgets, built in processing.js, used to display the current state of the main supercomputer’s nodes and file system.

    Working at Goddard has been one of the most interesting things I have ever done, and I look forward to working there for as long as I can contribute.

Oct 8, 2012