GSoC Interview: Ankur Kumar on putting InterMine in the cloud

This is our blog series interviewing our 2019 Google Summer of Code students, who working remotely for InterMine for 3 months on on a variety of projects. We’ve interviewed Ankur Kumar, who will be working on the project “Intermine Cloud: Making Intermine cloud native and easing deployments”.

Hi Ankur! We’re really excited to have you on board as part of the team this summer. Can you introduce yourself?

Namaste everyone! I am a second-year undergraduate student at the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur. I am pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. To properly introduce myself, honestly, It is always a hard thing to do for me. I do not associate myself with a single identity of a particular subject, a stream of study or profession. I do design bike frames, refrigeration systems and power generation plants. But I also code control algorithms for motors that power those bikes and path planning algorithms that are used by autonomous bikes and robots. I grow plants in controlled environment with help of various sensors and actuators to enhance their yield and study their response to different stresses and also connect those sensors to cloud as iot devices to do data analysis on collected data. I have huge interest in commerce, working of businesses and financial markets. I spend a good amount of my time learning about these things. This list is not exhaustive, But finally, as a mandatory disclaimer, I have not figured out everything yet, about the things that I just mentioned. I hope that one day I will and then I will move on to new projects. So, to put it in a poetic way, I am a curious explorer, who is ready to embark on any journey without even knowing the destination. As long as the journey has a lot of surprises to momentarily satisfy my curiosity. I know what are you thinking after reading this, Why and how you do all this? (Except that I am too ambitious, show off or just insane 😅) Well, I do not have a proper or detailed answer to these questions. I just keep trying to do things and they eventually happen. But, I have a better question for everyone instead of this one. Why not? It is too much fun to live this way. I promise!

What interested you about GSoC with InterMine?

I always wanted to work on a project that is at the intersection of computer science and biology. Both of these fields equally attract me. I had a really hard time choosing between them when I was filling my admission form for senior secondary. I eventually went for biology, if you are wondering. Intermine is a perfect place for me to explore both of these fields. But, this is not the most important thing that makes me choose Intermine. The most important thing is the people at Intermine. Intermine has an awesome and very friendly community. Mentors are very supportive and responsive. I had a great experience discussing the details of my project with mentors. Well, I can confidently say that my mentors are the best. If anyone thinks otherwise, I am ready for a debate!!

Tell us about the project you’re planning to do for InterMine this summer.

My project forms a part of larger efforts of Intermine team that will make Intermine more accessible to its users. More specifically, my project aims to create a service that offers managed intermine instances on the cloud. Also, the work done on my project will be used to create a cli tool that will ease the creation of intermine instances locally, using the same cloud technologies.

Are there any challenges you anticipate for your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

The most important one is time. I have a long list of tasks that needs to be completed. Also, I need to coordinate with two other projects, which can be tricky. To overcome these challenges, I worked hard to come up with a very detailed timeline and design documentation. So, now my plan for the coding period is simple, while tasks remain, pick one task at a time, work hard on it, complete tasks on time and then party hard on weekends.

Share a meme or gif that represents your project

Replacing a lightbulb - Imgur

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