Adobe Research interns build coding skills — and solve a mystery — at this year’s Code Quality Jam

September 29, 2023

Tags: AI & Machine Learning, Internships

It’s an annual tradition. Each year, Adobe Research interns gather for The Code Quality Jam, an intense, day-long hackathon. The event is designed to help interns boost the skills they’ll need in industry, all while having fun. And this year, organizers added a new twist — interns had a mystery to solve.

The event was organized by two veterans of past Code Quality Jams, Senior Audio Research Engineer Oriol Nieto and Research Engineer Jash Guna, and first-timer, Research Engineer Oscar Dadfar.

 “We wanted to help interns to get better at building high quality code, and to understand more about how the infrastructure works at a big company,” explained Nieto. “We also wanted this to be a networking opportunity. We know that Research interns can get isolated while they’re working on their own projects, so we always look for ways to foster collaboration—an essential skill in our industry—and help them get to know each other.”

Prepping behind the scenes for the big event

Before each Code Quality Jam, organizers and a whole crew of full-time Adobe Research members volunteer their time to create challenging day-long coding projects. This year, they developed four projects for interns to choose from, including a generative AI challenge based on a mini-version of Adobe Firefly.

“For the Firefly project, interns had a chance to use our AI and machine learning clusters. It was the first time we’d used this code base for the Code Quality Jam, and our volunteers worked right up to the day of the event putting together the code, testing it, and writing documentation. The project came together perfectly at the end, and we are so grateful for the support of the volunteers who created such an ambitious project,” said Dadfar.

Dadfar also wanted to add a new twist to the event this year — an immersive mystery for interns to solve. “The premise was that someone had sabotaged the lab, including all of the code, with red jam—a nod to the Code Quality Jam theme,” he explained. It was the interns’ mission to save the code and solve the mystery. “To get to the bottom of it, they had to talk to people and track down clues, navigating different paths and backtracking after wrong turns.”

The Code Quality Jam featured an interactive mystery to solve: Once upon a time, someone had sabotaged the lab with red jam. It was research interns’ mission to save the code!

In addition to adding excitement, the interactive mystery was a clever way to celebrate the first in-person Code Quality Jam in three years. “Since we were finally all back together, we wanted to have as many opportunities for fun, in-person collaboration as possible,” said Guna. “It was so great to see interns’ faces, not just their avatars.”

How the day unfolded

On the morning of the Jam, 65 interns in Adobe’s San Jose and Seattle offices gathered, along with several teams joining remotely, for an opening ceremony. Then they split up to work on their separate challenges. Volunteers from Adobe Research were on hand to answer questions and steer the teams in the right direction. After a midday break to socialize, interns dove back into their projects until the final ceremony. Organizers were impressed with the teams’ work over the course of the day. And, as a bonus, one of the teams solved the mystery. “I designed it to be really difficult, with wrong turns and complex clues, so I was really surprised — and delighted — when one of the teams got it,” said Dadfar. As a prize, the top sleuths got a gift card to spend at the Adobe store.

The true mission behind the Code Quality Jam

The Code Quality Jam is a hallmark of an Adobe Research summer. “One of the major things we hope to help interns learn is that their code quality matters,” explained Guna. “It impacts whether their work is transferred into products. And especially since many of our Researchers come to us after internships, we really want them to have a sense of how important this is.”

Intern Xuanda Yang, who participated in the Code Quality Jam for the second time this year, enjoyed the learning opportunity. “Before each Code Quality Jam, I think that since I’ve participated in several open-source development projects, I should already know all the tricks that will be discussed,” he said. “Surprisingly, I learn new things every year. It’s a very good experience, and I’d like to participate again.”

Intern opportunities at Adobe Research

The Code Quality Jam is one of many opportunities for Adobe Research interns to learn, network, and practice their skills each summer. While they’re working with researchers, interns pursue projects relevant to their academic studies and interests. And those projects often become part of their graduate research. Many interns collaborate on published papers and help shape Adobe products as well, all while experiencing life in an industry setting.

Interested in an Adobe Research internship? You can learn more here.

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