ETH Zurich’s influence reaches far beyond Switzerland. The top-ranked technical university has connections to many organizations and companies from all over the world. One of them is Bloomberg, an international company headquartered in New York City. Most recently, the ETH Studio New York that connects ETH Zurich with industry and academic partners in New York organized the New York Security Challenge 2018. Winners of a CodeCon programming contest in Zurich had the opportunity to work with some of Bloomberg’s top experts in New York City. We were delighted to be among them.
On Sunday, June 17th, our exciting journey began. For many of us, it was not only our first time visiting New York City, but also the US. After traveling across an ocean and then across the city to our apartment in Queens, we dropped our luggage and went directly out to explore the “insane” skyline. The city vibe left us with a feeling of excitement for the next ten days.
The next morning, it was time for the real work to begin as our first day at Bloomberg commenced. As soon as we stepped into the Bloomberg Tower, we entered an entirely new world, heavily protected by security guards. The Bloomberg staff immediately recognized our group, greeted us, and introduced us to our new working space - a beautiful office on the 29th floor with a fascinating view over Manhattan. Free snacks and drinks were readily available and once we discovered the breakfast buffet on the 6th floor, it was a unanimous decision that we would no longer eat breakfast at home in the mornings.
Bloomberg provided us with an interesting challenge to work on for our one-week internship, a challenge in which we used similarity analysis and machine learning techniques to search for legitimate patterns and anomalies in the communication between their clusters and machines. It was also a great experience to collaborate with the other CodeCon winners and benefit from everyone's insight and strengths. Bloomberg employees made themselves available to us the entire week and were kind enough to invite us for daily lunch outings to local places in Manhattan. They also gave us interesting presentations on Bloomberg’s history and on-going research projects and even organized a trip to the Intrepid Air and Space Museum situated on the flight deck of an old aircraft carrier bearing the same name.
Beyond Bloomberg, New York City had even more to offer. Matthias Dettling, Cultural Counselor at the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York hosted a reception at his residence in our honor and brought us together with other creative and inspiring people from Switzerland and New York. He even awarded each of us with a medal! During the evenings and on the weekend, we visited famous sightseeing spots in the city, including Rockefeller Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the new World Trade Center, the 9/11 Museum, Central Park, and, of course, Times Square.
Before heading home, we also visited companies focused on security systems with offices in New York such as: Facebook, Open Systems and Trail of Bits. The latter two were also on stage at the ETH Meets New York “Security Technologies Enabling the Future” event that we attended at the National Sawdust in the hip area of Williamsburg in Brooklyn.
We feel confident that we speak for the group when we say that it was an amazing trip and an unforgettable experience for all of us. We would like to thank Julien Vanegue, Peter Martin, Kevin Fleming, Roger Jover and Ilona Murynets from Bloomberg, Lorenz Breidenbach for guiding us and organizing the company meetings, and Romana Mayer and the rest of the ETH Global team for making all of this possible. We are extremely glad we had the opportunity to be a part of this!
About the authors
Konstantin Wohlwend is a first-year Computer Science student from Liechtenstein. When he’s not studying or working on side projects, he likes to make music or hang out with friends.
Koen Wolters is originally from the Netherlands, where he did a bachelor degree in Applied Physics at Eindhoven University of Technology. He is currently doing a Master's in Electrical Engineering & Information Technology at ETH Zurich.