Meet the Experts Akhilesh Varanasi: Exploring Synthetic Data

Every summer Karsun embeds interns in our Innovation Center to work alongside our technology experts, prototyping solutions to support our customers. 2022 Intern Akhilesh Varanasi used synthetic data to address a common privacy concern, personally identifiable information (PII.) Using synthetic data, an artificial set of data is created to perform ML/AI work preventing exposure of sensitive PII. In the interview below, Akhilesh describes his experience in the Karsun Innovation Center and his synthetic data internship project.

Portrait photo of Akhilesh Varanasi

First, please tell us about yourself. Where are you going to school? What are you studying? What do you like to do in your free time?

Hi all! My name is Akhilesh Varanasi. I’m currently a rising junior at the University of Washington in Seattle, where I’m a double major in Computer Science and Astronomy. In my free time, I like reading and playing basketball.

Could you share a little bit about the project you worked on as part of this internship? What challenges does it solve? What technologies and tools are you using?

For most of my internship, I worked on the Synthetic Data project. The purpose of this project was to create PII anonymized ‘fake’ data for Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence use cases. I mostly worked with Python, the Synthetic Data Vault libraries, and graphing frameworks like matplotlib. My main tasks were to create accurate Synthetic Data models and to find generic ways to graphically represent all forms of tabular data. I also worked with AWS Lambda and the AWS CLI to run tests.

What is your favorite part about working with the Karsun Innovation Center? Is there a weekly meeting or ritual you enjoy? The opportunity to learn more or get a new certification?

My favorite parts of working at the Karsun Innovation Center were the input I had in the development process and the team I worked with. I always felt like my opinion was respected at meetings, even in a room full of people that were far more experienced than me. I also had a great time working with the team, everyone was so willing to help each other and it felt like a comfortable, collaborative environment.

What is the biggest takeaway from your experience as an intern at Karsun?

My biggest takeaway from my experience at Karsun is that taking initiative is important. To be a valuable part of a team I have to research topics by myself and come up with goals to structure my approach to a problem.

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