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Looking Back and Ahead: 2023 → 2024

December 18, 20233 minutes readyear-in-review

2023 summed up.

# Work

Some publicly-shareable learnings at work.

  • Observability and OpenTelemetry: I spent a significant amount of time at work this year working on JavaScript observability. One of my major contributions at work has been adopting OpenTelemetry for JavaScript applications at Zalando. This includes Node.js as well as frontend web applications. I have really enjoyed exploring the field of observability and there are a lot of cutting-edge developments happening there. I believe this needs a separate post too.
  • Load testing: In the second half this year, I co-ran the load test season at Zalando in preparation for the high-traffic CyberWeek event. This includes the Black Friday and the Cyber Monday. I learned about the technicalities of traffic generation, scaling and the overall micro-services landscape, and the people-side of it - building reliable tests, debriefing test results and discussing bottlenecks with service owners.

# Study

This year was my 2nd year in OMSCS.

  • Compilers (struggled): For Spring 2023, I registered myself for CS 8803: Compilers - Theory and Practice. This stemmed from my love for programming language design and construction. The course was phenomenal and equally tedious (the most difficult course as per student reviews). I learnt a lot about parsing, semantic analysis, intermediate representation generation (used LLVM), compiler backends (optimisation, byte code generation). Well, I did not do great in the end "academically", I realised my love was restricted to compiler frontends. Backends were extremely painful to implement for me and I could not generate enough interest to keep going.
  • Newsletter: Mid-2023 I took up an ambitious project (I'm a bearer of ambitious projects) of creating a newsletter where I'd review popular research papers in computer science. It was called Paper Pursuit. I reviews a bunch of amazing papers, learning a lot on the way. After about 8 issues I had to discontinue it as it was a lot of work for me and I couldn't keep up with the frequency of an issue per week.
  • Graduate Introduction to Operating Systems: For Fall 2023 I took GIOS and it was a great course overall. Learnt several new concepts and implement cool projects - a sockets-based server (plus a multi-threaded version), an IPC-based proxy-cache implementation and a distributed file system using gRPC. Aced the class academically!
  • VPLs: I read a bit about visual programming languages while reading about new ways to humanize programming. Gave a short talk at MeshCon Berlin about VPLs and my previous related project. Will explore on the HCI part of programming more in the next semester with Intro to Cognitive Science.

# Life

Personal developments.

  • Engaged: I got engaged to the love of my life! ❤️
  • Running and hikes: I did some running earlier this year, ran my first 10K race in Berlin! Also went on a couple of hikes - one in the Swiss alps and other in the Balkans.
  • Travel: Travelled quite a bit during the summer. Visited London to meet my best friend and we had a good two weeks of fun! Road-tripped with my girlfriend to some beautiful locations in the Indian countryside 🚗

# Plans for 2024

© Mohit Karekar • karekar.mohit@gmail.com