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4 DSU students intern at Los Alamos National Lab

September 30, 2019

Four Dakota State students, Adam Good, Kody Everson, Trent Steen, and Collin Rumpca, spent the summer at Los Alamos National Lab (LANL) in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

The laboratory was started in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project that led to the creation of the atomic bomb. Its mission today includes national security, science, energy, and environmental management.

Each student worked in a different area, completing research projects and presenting findings at the end of the 10 weeks.

Adam-Good.JPGGood, a graduate student in computer science from Martin, S.D., worked with a team to understand how patches for the computer vulnerabilities Spectre and Meltdown impact the performance of distributed file systems.  These vulnerabilities are built into hardware and can slow down the performance of high-performance computing.

According to Good, their research found there likely is an impact, but more research would be required to determine how much.

Good was thankful for his internship. “It was a great way to step into the scientific field. It feels good to be part of something that will have such an impact in the future.”

Kody-Everson.JPGEverson, a graduate student in computer science, returned to LANL for a second summer this year. Everson wrote software for a testing frame project. Everson said the skills helped him write clear and concise code.

“You get really valuable work experience at LANL,” Everson said. “I learned a lot I wouldn’t have learned in school because it’s production stuff. It’s a good learning opportunity.”

Trent-Steen.JPGSteen, a graduate student in computer science from Emery, S.D., also returned for his second summer at LANL. He worked on website development for a data visualization tool. Using data about the modules people use most, Steen helped create an easier interface design.

He appreciated learning from a variety of mentors while there. “They encourage people to move around and go to different teams and try new things,” Steen said. “It’s very interdisciplinary.”

Steen is currently doing remote work for the lab.

collin-rumpca.JPGRumpca, a computer science and math major from Aberdeen, S.D., spent his first summer at the lab. He worked on a research project studying a different method of monitoring computer clusters and all the network traffic they receive.

While completing his internship, Rumpca enjoyed the many presentations he could attend, with one area particularly sparking an interest. He was so inspired by watching ocean simulations that he’s working on an internship with Los Alamos National Lab that would enable him to potentially spend a few weeks doing climate research in the Arctic.

Rumpca described the internship as a great overall experience that taught attendees the “real stuff.”

“It showed me realistic uses of education,” Rumpca said. “Last semester while taking an operating systems class I didn’t feel it would be very useful, but I used it every single day at Los Alamos.”