Thursday, June 7, 2007

Why The Heck Are You Going To India?

First, while I plan to mostly talk about my impressions of Bangalore and India on this blog, I wanted to start with why I'm having these impressions in the first place:

My role this summer is in the Rigorous Software Engineering group at Microsoft Research in Bangalore. If nothing else, I find it exciting that for the first time I can explain to even non-computer-scientists what I'm doing. The first thing I can explain to people is that I'm trying to make Windows crash less in the future. If their eyes haven't glazed over already, then I can explain that one of the reasons Windows locks up and becomes completely unresponsive is that a driver, one of the little pieces of software that helps all the hardware (iPod, printer, camera card reader, video recorder, hard drive, mouse...) work. Drivers are usually written by people and companies that really want to create hardware, not write drivers, so the drivers are often badly written and get stuck in loops that they can't get out of - when this happens, Windows will stop responding. If people are glazing over at this point, I explain that I'm trying to make that happen less. Otherwise, I can explain a little bit about how this is relates to software property checking, which is what I'm doing - the above is just my take on why Microsoft is particularly interested. That's the idea, anyway.

So in large part of why I am going to India because that is where I was able to find the most interesting internship. It is a risk, because my background is different than that of the project I'm working on - not to mention that, at this point in my career, it isn't like I have *that* much background period - but I hope it is a risk that will pay off.

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