From April 24th to 28th, I took part in a BOGY-Internship at SFB-TRR 161. I was assigned to Mr. Kölbl’s team at the University of Konstanz who is working on an implementation of a model checker for creating so-called fault trees which are supposed to help spotting potential errors in safety-critical systems. For example, the gates of a railroad-crossing must ensure that never a train and a car are passing at the same time. Mr. Kölbl was also my contact person throughout the entire week. He showed me the university, explained his project and told me about work and research at the university.
The model checking project is very complex since it consists of model transformations, computationally intensive calculations which need to be calculated on an extra server and a user interface. At the time being, Mr. Kölbl’s team was working on a complete rewrite of the project because it became too complex and difficult to maintain. I did not only want to watch and since I had some programming experience, I wanted to help out a bit. I was offered two options: I could either implement the basic communication between client and server or I could create a graphical user interface which would provide an overview and control for the different stages of the model checking process. I chose the latter one because I did not have enough time for both and I wanted to see some visual results.
Programming and working in a team was a very interesting experience (I even found a little mistake in the original software design), but it was not the only thing I did. I was also allowed to visit a few lectures in Computer Science (Programming Course I and Concepts of Computer Science). This gave me very interesting insights in Computer Science and I think that is what I want to study in a few years. I was also able to try out Virtual Reality with the HTC “Vive” and got a presentation of the Powerwall, a huge, high-resolution screen for presenting large amounts of visual data. Another highlight was the drawing robot “e-David”, a robot which recreates images on real canvas with acrylic paint and a brush.
The “working hours” were from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm, but I always stayed a bit longer because I enjoyed my work and wanted to finish something. I did not have to go to school, because all students of my grade were allowed to take part in an internship for this week. For me, it was a very nice and enjoyable experience which gave me some interesting insights in work, research and studying at a university as well as computer science.
I would like to thank everyone who has made this experience possible, especially Martin Kölbl who explained to me a lot and Claudia Widmann who organized everything.