The Galois Internship Experience: Himanshu Goyal

In our latest blog post, we chat with Georgia Tech master’s student Himanshu Goyal about his internship experience at Galois. Here, Himanshu discusses his passion for software systems, Galois’s unique culture, and how his internship experience helped hone his engineering and research skills. Read on to learn more about Himanshu’s journey.

Why Galois? How did you hear about Galois and decide to pursue an internship with us? 

Himanshu: I like to develop software systems aimed at empowering and safeguarding users. I am particularly enthusiastic about projects that prioritize user interests, incorporate robust security measures leveraging innovative cryptography techniques, and have a significant real-world impact. Galois specializes in developing high-assurance, trustworthy systems by integrating deep computer science concepts with innovative engineering choices. This unique combination aligns perfectly with my technical interests.

During my undergraduate studies at the IIT Bhubaneswar, India, I studied and worked on the design of reliable IoT systems. During my literature survey, I read research papers written by Galois scientists and became interested in the organization. After I started my Masters at Georgia Tech, I applied for a Galois internship and was accepted. The ensuing summer proved to be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of my professional journey thus far.  

What projects have you had the opportunity to work on at Galois?

Himanshu: This summer, I worked on a project adjacent to ROCKY (Reliable Obfuscated Communications Kit for everYone). Our primary goal was to develop an interoperable Model-Based Format-Transforming Encryption (MB-FTE)  scheme capable of functioning on diverse hardware architectures. This challenging task involved harnessing the power of Large Language Models (LLMs) to generate ciphertext messages which are consistently decipherable across different CPU architectures (e.g., x86, ARM, etc). Additionally, we were trying to enhance the scheme to support a wider array of natural spoken languages. 

In parallel with the ROCKY project, I also got a chance to work on the SIEVE project, where I gained experience with Zero-Knowledge Proofs (ZKPs). My focus here was on refining the compiler architecture to improve the ZKP backend’s performance. 

How have you grown professionally or personally over the course of your internship? 

Himanshu: My internship at Galois has significantly contributed to both my professional and personal development. Working on ROCKY and SIEVE enhanced my engineering skills, and each day presented new learning opportunities, often leaving me feeling both challenged and inspired. My internship experience also bridged the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application, enabling me to utilize my academic understanding for real-world solutions. 

Galois’s research-oriented environment further honed my research skills and critical thinking abilities, fostering a mindset of continuous learning and innovation. Rigorous testing became an integral part of my daily routine, all part of ensuring the robustness and security of the systems we developed. The collaborative work culture at Galois also enriched my teamwork skills, emphasizing the importance of open communication, constructive feedback, and collaboration. 

My time at Galois has reaffirmed my passion for pioneering projects that seamlessly blend research with practical application, and the emphasis on continuous improvement through open communication and feedback is a valuable lesson that I will carry forward in my future career endeavors.

What sort of mentoring or coaching did you experience while interning with Galois?

Himanshu: Galois has a unique approach to mentorship: each intern is officially assigned both a Technical Mentor and an Intern Coach. However, in reality, you can approach anyone in the company to discuss your challenges or solutions, and they are always willing to help.   

The role of the Technical Mentor is to guide you through project-specific requirements, suggest potential strategies to meet those requirements, and assist you in implementing them. Since most projects involve a team of engineers, you’re never left waiting for your mentor to be available – you can seek quick resolutions from any team member. What’s more, Galois engineers review every line of code you write and provide critical feedback, which greatly enhanced my software maintenance skills and problem-solving efficiency.  

Intern Coaches, a unique feature of Galois, are instrumental from the very beginning in integrating interns into the company. My Intern Coach introduced me to a wide range of company employees and served as my go-to resource for any questions or concerns, whether they were logistical, technical, or social.  

Both my technical mentor’s and my intern coach’s availability, guidance, and eagerness to share their knowledge made my internship experience truly outstanding. I am deeply grateful for the chance to work with such dedicated individuals.

What is Galois culture like? 

Himanshu: Galois has a special and lively culture that is very enjoyable. The technical guidance you can get at Galois is top-notch. Engineers, who often have PhDs, are experts in their fields and are easy to reach. Team meetings are filled with geeky humor, and if you can add some puns, you’ll fit right in.  

One of the most striking aspects of my internship at Galois has been my colleagues’ genuine curiosity. They are not just interested in the final solution but also in understanding the challenges I faced along the way. It’s a collaborative environment where discussions about the overall process and the lessons learned are as valuable as the outcomes themselves. This level of engagement and interest from my peers has made my experience even more enriching and intellectually stimulating. 

Simultaneously, they place a strong emphasis on ensuring you derive satisfaction and enjoyment from your internship experience throughout. Outside of work, Galwegians participate in activities like game nights and get-togethers. You can also join in games at the office pool table, but watch out, some players are really good.

All together, Galois’ culture combines technical brilliance with a sense of community, making it a truly special and rewarding place to work.