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Internships, Spring 2021

Interns Build Their Data Science Skills in Multi-Institution Partnership

by Richard Westlund

February 1, 2021

A cooperative international partnership led by the University of Miami Institute of Data Science and Computing (IDSC) has opened the door to new experiences and opportunities for four U.S. and Canadian interns.

Olivia Shurtleff During the fall semester program, conducted with Canada’s Ontario Tech University (OTU) and the University of Waterloo, as well as GlassHouse Systems (GHS) introduced the interns to real-world projects that developed their programming skills, and ability to harness the powerful capabilities of UM’s Triton supercomputer.

“I learned so much during the co-op program with the University of Miami,” said Olivia Shurtleff, an OTU undergraduate who is majoring in mechanical engineering. “I was able to develop my programming skills in Python, RStudio, and Git BASH. I thoroughly enjoyed my time and am incredibly thankful for this opportunity.”

Hounsh MunshiAs part of the program, the interns took part in COVID-19 analytics projects that introduced them to high-performance cloud computing and analytics experience in several programming languages, under the guidance of Hounsh Munshi, Graduate Research Assistant, IDSC Advanced Computing, and Pedro Davila, Systems Administrator, IDSC Advanced Computing. “By the end of the program, the interns were able to statistically summarize the international state of COVID-19, and perform several deeper analytics looking at growth rates, trends, and other statistical indices,” said Hounsh.

Pedro Davila

A second data science project involved the Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) Climatic Wind Tunnel at Ontario Tech University. The interns used advanced analytical techniques to determine the distributions of the shape of water droplets as they came into contact with a high-velocity airstream. “This has several implications in meteorology, as well as utility for sensors for self-driving cars,” said Hounsh.

Eric WhallsIntern Eric Whalls, a student in Engineering Operations and Support at ACE, said the partnership with UM was a great learning opportunity. “The ACE facility produces a large amount of data, and access to the Triton supercomputer allows us to work through more computationally intensive workloads. The Triton supercomputer also has a sophisticated and user-friendly development environment, with tools focused on data science—Anaconda, JupyterLab, and RStudio. I really appreciate being able to work with the people at the University of Miami, and I’m excited to continue to collaborate with them moving forward.”

Emery Sutherland

The other two interns—Emery Sutherland, a student in the Engineering Department at the University of New Mexico, and Andrew Moniz (photo unavailable), a student at the University of Waterloo—also learned new skills from the four-month virtual learning experience. “I was able to network with UM and ACE’s faculty members in the fields of data science, computer science, and computational fluid dynamics,” said Andrew. “I was exposed to data sets that helped contribute to a better understanding of COVID-19 and took part in workshops that helped me expand my knowledge in coding. It was a pleasure to take part in this co-op experience.”

The interns were offered a variety of training opportunities, including an introduction to basic Linux and the Power 9 based Cluster, along with  Python, R,  Jupyter Notebook, and RStudio. They were able to load and analyze updated time series worldwide data of reported cases for COVID-19 from the data repository at Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

IDSC mentors for this internship program included (left to right) Joel Zysman, Director, IDSC Advanced Computing; Amin Sarafraz, PhD, Associate Scientist, IDSC Software Engineering, and Research Assistant Professor, College of Engineering; and the IDSC Advanced Computing team. Participating instructors from Ontario Tech University were: Justin Gammage, PhD, PEng, Industry Liaison Specialist and student lead; Martin Agelin-Chaab, PhD, Professor and Faculty Lead; and Raphael Aranha, Research Assistant. Kaan Inal, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, University of Waterloo, was also an Instructor.

University of Miami Institute for Data Science and Computing Internship Program mentors


This IDSC internship session was sponsored by GlassHouse Systems US.Glass House Systems logo horizontal


About IDSC Internships

IDSC offers various types of internships that are open to UM students and the community. These internships provide the participants seeking to increase their knowledge in data science direct access to IDSC resources.

Contact us at 305.243.4962, or


Wind Tunnel photo from @ACE_WindTunnel



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