Lucas Weissman ’23

Institute for Human & Machine Cognition, Pensacola, FL

During this summer, I had the incredible opportunity to experience firsthand how to work in big data analytics and interactive data visualization under the supervision of Larry Bunch and in collaboration with Jairun Diemer at the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC).

Taking a break for a selfie.

I interned as a Big Data Analyst and was responsible for exploring large databases in order to effectively research ways to manipulate and represent them visually. I was exposed to complex topics at different depths of analysis that came to enhance the knowledge I gained through the computer science curriculum at Williams. One of the projects I developed remotely consisted of analyzing and creating visual representations of a NetFlow database. NetFlow is a data collection of aggregated and recorded traffic flow generated through monitoring IP packets from a network.

Working with this project led me to research and apply the fundamentals of Big Data, and to collaborate with Jairun Diemer, a research associate. The whole project was very challenging and rewarding, and the end results came to fruition through histograms, scatter plots, and other visualizations that conveyed a granular view of the network traffic.

At IHMC I was able to cultivate my professional and academic skills, and better reflect on my own career passions. My love for computer science has strengthened, and today, I find myself looking for new horizons through independent projects, collaborations, and experience in the industry. I am sure that majoring in computer science with a concentration in science and technology studies is the best path for me. For this reason, I feel that I am closer to my dream of becoming a researcher in the search for solutions to solve some of humanity’s greatest challenges through the development of cutting-edge technology.

Investigating a database through PySpark and Hadoop via Jupyter Notebook.

Having grown up in Brazil, I recognize the power of technology to create change, and having lived in the United States for seven years I have witnessed the importance of intersecting technology and social sciences to enlighten communities on how to tackle societal issues on a daily basis. I dream of helping communities in their development such as many in my dearest homeland and other parts of the world, and this whole experience has been an important step in this process.

Thanks to the Alumni Sponsored Internship Program and the ’68 Center for Career Exploration, I had the opportunity to meet and connect with the IHMC and the amazing people like Larry Bunch, Arash Mahyari, and Jairun Diemer who mentored and inspired me. This summer internship propelled me to continue my career path into research and pursuing a postgraduate degree. What I have learned at IHMC perfectly aligned with my goals. For that reason, I have chosen to take Aesthetics of Automation and Introduction to Cognitive Science to further my understanding of the impact and usage of Artificial Intelligence in society in the following semester. Finally, I would like to thank two dearest professors, Chad Topaz and Richard De Veaux, for the enlightenment and inspiration that the two have given me through data science and the statistical universe.