Nik Sultana, Research Intern

Nik SultanaWhat is it like working as an Intern at Microsoft Research and what work have you done here?
In many ways it's like being at a university department, but it's also quite different. Alongside the hum of research one hears the buzz of research flowing into the real world. This side of things, at this scale, is new and fascinating to me. It's fun to do research for its own sake, but it's a double kick to see research being more readily useful to others. It's also educationally rewarding, and an opportunity to work alongside some great people.

During my previous internship at MSR I worked on a theorem-proving tool for a novel logic designed by Moritz Becker and Alessandra Russo, and contributed to a paper on the logical analysis of security policies. It was quite a thrill when the tool was released as a download and through RiSE4Fun.

What are your goals within your role as an intern?
My main goal is to build a prototype of a security tool. This project draws from several areas (theory, security, programming, and systems) so I'm also constantly trying to learn more about parts of those areas relevant to the project. Fortunately I get plenty of support: interns can count on great mentoring, and resources are never short of supply.

How has working as an Intern at Microsoft Research affected your career/research goals?
Working on new and exciting stuff during the internship has stimulated my interest in research areas which were previously unfamiliar to me. I'm lucky to be doing my PhD work at the Computer Lab at Cambridge University, which pursues a stunning diversity of cutting-edge research, and I find that the internship complements my studies at the Lab. It has also invigorated my curiosity about cross-disciplinary work -- for instance, I'm intrigued by the work being done at MSR to apply computer science to understand nature, and to use this knowledge to help protect nature from human excesses, and protect humans from nature's disinterest.