Lucas Amoudruz: My internship experience at CSCS

CSCS offers internships at various levels and in most organizational units. We sat down with Lucas who did an internship at CSCS in 2015 and who told us his experience.

Could you shortly introduce yourself?

My name is Lucas Amoudruz and I'm a 22 years old French student from EPFL, where I did my Bachelor in physics. I'm currently studying Computational Science and Engineering for my Master.

What does fascinate you in the world of supercomputing?

When I was studying physics, a lot of models were really complicated to solve so we were only considering over simplified models, this was a bit frustrating... But thanks to numerical methods and supercomputing, simulations of real world problems become possible. We can solve great problems from multidisciplinary fields, which also makes the projects really interesting.

How did you first hear about CSCS?

One of my classmates did an internship there in 2014. I also heard about it during a course about parallel computing.

When and for which intern position did you apply to CSCS?

I applied in November 2014 to be part of the project on the positive detection in phylogenetic trees with Mario Valle.

Why did you want to be an intern at CSCS?

At the beginning it was mainly for the project which I found challenging, but it was also to be able to use one of the most powerful platform. And I have to admit that Lugano is really beautiful, it was a good choice for hiking too!

What project did you work on during your internship at CSCS?

I worked on detection of positive selection in phylogenetic trees. The  detection is based on a log-likelihood ratio test. My goal was to find a new maximizer for the log likelihood function which is faster and more accurate than the existing one.

How would you describe a regular day as intern at CSCS?

It's a bit difficult to answer to that question because two consecutive days may be completely different. Sometimes I spent days looking for a new algorithm which would do the job. I also spent a lot of time implementing it and testing it. But the most important is that I learned new things every day.

How do you like to work in Lugano?

I find that Ticino is a great region. I love the combination of mountains and lakes. Moreover I was there during Spring and Summer, when the weather was perfect for hiking.

What will you take home from this experience?

I think it will be a big advantage on my CV. I also learned a lot about HPC, mathematical optimization, and a few words of Italian!