CodeDay and the HPCC Systems Intern Program – Supporting Young Coders

The LexisNexis Risk Solutions collaboration with CodeDay goes right back to 2014, when the program first started under the guidance of Monica Garrett, Director Community Relations, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group, who continues to manage our sponsorship of this event. (Find out more about this and Virtual CodeDay Winter 2021.)

The HPCC Systems Intern Program has been running for almost the same amount of time, having started in 2015. We first started to accept high school children on to the intern program in 2017 and for the last few years, we have been working more closely with CodeDay to encourage participants to consider applying to complete an internship with the HPCC Systems Platform team. And it’s working!    

We are delighted to announce that three students who have participated in CodeDay events are joining the 2021 HPCC Systems Intern Program. During their internships, they will be mentored by LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group colleagues who have expertise in the project areas chosen by the students.  Here’s some information about the students, their involvement in CodeDay and what they are going to be doing during their internships.

Jefferson Mao
Lambert High School, Suwanee, GA
Establish HPCC Systems on the Google Cloud Platform

Photo of Jefferson Mao

Jefferson Mao is a returning student to our intern program, having joined the program as our first CodeDay student in 2020,when he was  a 12th grade high school student. He is now in his final year of high school and is looking to continue with academic study in the field of business studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Already something of an entrepreneur, Jeff is the founder of Philosophy Robotics LLC, which produces software providing multi-channel E-commerce solutions and inventory fulfilment.

Jeff heard about the HPCC Systems intern program when taking part in CodeDay Atlanta which was hosted at our office in Alpharetta in 2019 and he was a Best in Show prize winner at this event.

Jefferson Mao’s 2020 Intern Project

In 2020, the HPCC Systems platform team was full steam ahead working towards producing a cloud native version of our platform. (HPCC Systems 8.0.0 is now available. Find out more the newest features and enhancements added to our Cloud Native platform.) Jeff’s intern project was a valuable contribution to this effort. He worked through the steps involved in bringing up a cluster, including looking at the autoscaling of clusters. He also ran some of our own test programs to see how they performed in comparison with our bare metal version and ran our regression tests, adding new ones where necessary for areas that are cloud specific such as scaling. He also was an early tester of our Helm charts. As a very early adopter, he contributed useful feedback that helped the team to implement improvements.

Jeff also evaluated the new Google Anthos GKE platform which provides a single platform for the management of all Kubernetes workloads. Anthos GKE allows for the development, deployment, and operation of applications across various public cloud platforms, such as AWS (Amazon Web Services) and Microsoft Azure.  There are a number of resources you can look at to see the work he completed during his internship, including the following:

Jefferson Mao’s 2021 Intern Project

Jeff’s project is a combination of two pieces of work that will be completed in parallel. One aspect involves using one of the HPCC Systems Machine Learning Bundles. Jeff is an avid videogame player and social media user, who has noticed and experienced the detrimental effects of toxicity in online communities. His idea is to implement a Toxicity Detection model which will help to block hateful language. He plans to use a rating scale on a 0-1 scale, where 0 is not toxic and 1 is extremely toxic. Jeff’s motivation for suggesting this project is to help promote a healthier online experience, something that is extremely relevant to today’s world.

The other part of his work means building on the experience gained during his 2020 internship using our emerging Cloud Native platform. The second part of Jeff’s project involves deploying HPCC Systems clusters in the Azure AKS with GitOps, which is a set of practices allowing the management and operation of workflows using central versioning control.

During his internship, Jeff will be mentored by our LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group colleagues, Bob Foreman (Senior Software Engineer) and Xiaoming Wang (Senior Consulting Software Engineer).

Alexander Parra
Bachelor of Computer Science and Chicano Studies
University of California, Berkeley
Implement a Predictive Model Mark-up Language Processor

Photo of Alexander Parra

Alex has been involved with CodeDay for around 4 years. He started out as a participant, became a volunteer and then worked as a Regional Co-Manager for the Los Angeles event in 2019. In 2020, he worked as a Program Manager with CodeDay Labs which provides unpaid, virtual internships over the summer (July to Mid August) for school children. He helped to organise the mentors and became involved in a review of the program with Tyler Menezes and the CodeDay team. Having sent out surveys and analysed the results, he produced a poster with his university contemporary and CodeDay co-manager (Mingjie Jiang) which was submitted and accepted to the SIGCSE Technical Symposium 2021. 

While CodeDay representatives have submitted posters to this event in previous years, this is the first time a poster had been accepted. Alex and Mingjie presented about their poster (See the Abstract) shown below:

Image showing the poster submitted into SIGCSE TS 2021 by Alexander Parra and Mingjie Jiang

Alexander Parra’s 2021 Intern Project

Alex’s project is in the field of machine learning. He will be implementing a Predictive Model Markup Language (PMML) Processor using ECL and providing a user friendly interface. 

PMML is the leading standard for statistical and data mining models. It makes machine learning models portable and easy to share between different applications and systems. Alex will prototype an ECL bundle that will use previously trained models stored as PMML to form predictions in parallel on an HPCC Systems cluster. The bundle will also package HPCC Systems machine learning models into PMML to feed into another system. 

This project also requires Alex to carry out testing, provide any tests required for our regression suite and provide supporting documentation. During his internship, he will be mentored by our LexisNexis Risk Solutions Colleague, Dan Camper, Senior Architect. 

Eleanor Carl
Bachelor of Software Engineering
Green River College
Continue Novel COVID-19 Tracker and Global Map Using HPCC Systems ECL Watch

Photo of Ellie Carl

Eleanor Carl took part in CodeDay Labs in 2020, working on a game app using Python. The idea behind the Bear Stories game was to have the story change based on input from the user. The player is a lonely bear lost in the woods who meets other animals and chooses from different responses to direct the course of their story. The game was a joint effort with Ellie’s friend Joanna providing the artwork and Ellie working on the programming. Ellie is interested in using her skills for the good of society and discovered that HPCC Systems has produced a Covid-19 Tracker, which provides enhanced insights into the state and evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic at country, state, and county levels. This information may be used by health officials and anyone curious to learn more about what is going on in their local area, country and globally.

Having acquired some skills using React and C# during her studies, Ellie linked up with our LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group colleague, Arjuna Chala (Senior Director Operations) and began doing some research to locate all the GIS data for each US state’s counties and their boundaries, putting into practise her React knowledge and making contributions to the GitHub Repository.

This map of Texas, showing the county boundaries is one example of the work Ellie completed in 2020:

Image showing country boundaries in the US State of Texas

Ellie also worked with Lili Xu (Software Engineer III, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group), to find out more about the cluster processing environments and how to work with the ECL Server used to host the Covid-19 Tracker.

Eleanor Carl’s 2021 Intern Project

Ellie’s project involves adding more features to the global map capability in the Covid-19 Tracker. Given a source and destination of travel (land or air):

  • Calculate risk of the travel
  • Report the social distancing guidelines in every location
  • Create a brand-new map to show the entire journey interactively  

These features will provide users with important new information that can potentially have a positive impact not only on the decisions taken by individuals, but also by those at local, state and country level as the changing situation presented by the Covid-19 pandemic is assessed.  

During her 2021 internship, Ellie will be mentored for a second year running by Arjuna Chala and Lili Xu.

Welcome and thank you CodeDay

On behalf of the HPCC Systems platform team, I’d like to welcome Jefferson Mao back to the team in 2021 and extend a warm welcome to Eleanor Carl and Alexander Parra, as they prepare to start their internships in May. We’re looking forward to working with you and seeing your projects come to life. Eight additional students also joining the program in May (more details about our Class of 2021 interns is available here).

Thanks also go to Tyler Menezes, Executive Director and Board Member of CodeDay, for encouraging CodeDay participants to find out more about HPCC Systems and for making time for me in the busy CodeDay schedule to present to participants about our intern program. CodeDay provides opportunities not only for those who already have some skills in coding, but also for those just starting out, giving them the encouragement they need to learn more and the confidence to have a go. Our intern program provides an opportunity to use the skills they have already, learn some new ones and experience working with experienced developers while contributing to our open source platform. 

And finally, thanks to Monica Garrett, Director Community Relations, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group, for her continued management of the LexisNexis Risk Solutions sponsorship of CodeDay.

We look forward to many more CodeDay participants joining the HPCC Systems intern program in the future.

HPCC Systems is Celebrating 10 Years as an Open Source Big Data Analytics Platform

Join us as we mark this anniversary event with users, colleagues, ambassadors and collaborators via a series of video podcasts. It’s great to reflect on how we got to where we are today with the stories shared in this series and look forward to what may lie ahead in the future. View the full list of podcasts on our 10 Year Anniversary Podcast Series Wiki.

Featured Podcast

Click on the image below to join Flavio Villanustre (VP Technology and CISO, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group), Xiaoming Wang (Senior Consulting Software Engineer) and Michael Gardner (Software Engineer III) as they talk about the shift from using HPCC Systems Bare Metal to our Cloud Native Platform. They are both providing mentoring to students joining the HPCC Systems Intern Program in 2021.

Image showing the opening slide of the video