This summer I worked as a research assistant in the PRECISE center under the mentorship of Dr. Insup Lee and Dr. James Weimer. The project I worked on, OpenICE-lite, is a central platform of smart medical devices that would allow clinicians to monitor their patients’ data more easily. My job was to write a system monitor for the platform that collects usage statistics, log them, and notify the administrator of any unusual events. The project aimed to support several communication protocols, so I was to implement a monitor for each protocol.
I have only worked on projects for my own or for school, so making a program that will be put in to actual use was a new challenge for me. There was no set requirements or guidelines as opposed to a school project; I had to make them on my own. Additionally, I had to start paying attention to the structure and the quality of my code, as the program I write will be released to the public. While these were quite some challenge, I was excited to work on them as I was sure that this experience will be crucial for becoming a successful software engineer. It took me several trials and errors to come up with an appropriate design, but this process provided me valuable insight about how to structure a program with future users in mind. By the end of the program, I built working monitors for three different platforms, one of which is ready to be used on an actual network or medical devices.
The project was quite challenging at first as this was my first time designing an application and working on an open source project. By working on the program, I learned a lot about communication protocols used by small devices and about designing an API. The summer program was a valuable experience that will help me tremendously in my future career as a software engineer.