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Three questions to Nomadic Labs interns — Mathis Gontier Delaunay

28 July 2021
Nomadic Labs

Each year we host around half-a-dozen interns (stagiaires), for periods of two to six months. These young men and women are usually studying or have just finished studying for undergraduate or Master’s degrees, and are eager to gain experience in the blockchain industry. Each has a unique story to tell about their individual interest in this technology.

In this blogpost, we will ask three questions of one of our current interns: Mathis Gontier Delaunay (and a couple of questions of his mentors at Nomadic Labs).

Mathis — so happy to have you with us! We hope you’re having a wonderful and educational period with Nomadic Labs. We’d love to hear a bit about you and your activities chez nous …

Questions for Mathis

1. Please present yourself and your academic background

My name is Mathis Gontier Delaunay and I am 21.

I took a Mathematics and Physics preparatory class in Rennes with the Computer Science option, which included algorithms, programming methods, and data structures with OCaml. This provided the grounding for my current interest in computer science.

Since September 2020 I have been studying at Telecom SudParis, a generalist engineering school oriented in the digital sector.

In September 2020 I also joined KRYPTOSPHERE, the first French student association dedicated to blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies. I became passionate about the technology, its associated ideology, and its fast-growing ecosystem. I find the underlying concepts fascinating, and I am more and more drawn to the engineering aspects of its applications and protocols. I really believe in the future of these technologies, which can solve many problems, and I want to understand them in depth to participate in their development.

In April 2021 I was delighted to begin a developer’s role with a team of three researchers and one student working on a decentralized finance protocol that aims to create a “zero spread money market”; a much more efficient way to use liquidity than current lending protocols. The project has since grown and seven people are working on it today, with a proof of concept on the way: https://morpho.best/.

I hope one day to fully understand decentralized ledger technology and to participate in its long-term development. I look forward to contributing to the maturation of decentralized ledgers into a practical technology and a useful part of our lives and society.

2. Tell us more about your internship: main subject, who is your mentor, what you have learned and especially, what surprised you the most within these months?

In early June 2021 I joined the Umami team at Nomadic Labs, and I will stay until early September. Umami is a desktop cryptocurrency wallet for the Tezos ecosystem whose Beta version was launched in April. It is developed by a team of about ten people at Nomadic Labs, currently working on new features like hardware wallet integration and the interaction with Tezos decentralized apps (Dapps) as listed on this webpage.

For my internship I’m contributing to Umami’s development. My mentor is Rémy El Sibaïe, one of the five developers of the team.

I bring my understanding of blockchain technology operation, usage and applications to my role, and this internship is an opportunity for me to participate with a team in actual software development in a blockchain ecosystem.

A big part of this turns out to be learning specialist tooling and collaboration techniques! For example, I spent my first days getting used to Git version control, and learning how to work with a team of developers on the same project. That’s two valuable life skills learned right there in the first week!

Umami is written in ReasonML, a functional language which works much like OCaml (and notably having a strong type system) but with a Javascript-like syntax, and which integrates better with the React library. I now have a better understanding of functional languages and how to use them to build applications like Umami. My mentor also explained to me the more precise techniques that are used in Umami, such as futures and promises.

Contributing to an open-source project is very rewarding: after only one month, my first contribution to the project is already in the main codebase and can be used by the community. But working here at Nomadic Labs, surrounded and supervised by blockchain experts, with a really strong understanding of the technology and its challenge, would already have been an accomplishment for this first internship. Listening to their discussions about the future of Tezos is a pleasure each day.

3. Why did you choose to become a part of the blockchain ecosystem and Nomadic labs? What are your plans after completing this internship?

I have a strong interest in computer science and particularly in decentralized ledger technologies, which for me have opened the door to many innovations that I expect to revolutionize the way we exchange value, finance, and a lot more. I naturally wanted to do my first year internship in this domain.

Nomadic Labs is a major player in the crypto-blockchain sector in France, and also one of the most technical ones. Nomadic Labs is a key contributor to the core protocol of the really innovative blockchain that is Tezos, and combines this with wider work on adoption and support. That combination is what attracted me.

Participating in the development of an ecosystem with infinite potential is very exciting and motivating, and this experience has confirmed my attraction to the sector. That is why I would like to specialize in distributed systems as soon as possible, probably at university, in France or abroad. I would also like to conduct a bigger research / development project for my next internship. Who knows: perhaps that too could be at Nomadic Labs.

Questions for Mathis’ Nomadic Labs mentor Rémy El Sibaï:

What is your input to the work of Mathis?

Mathis has a good understanding of the blockchain world and has been making useful contributions to the Umami project from the start of his internship.

This is his first industrial experience, so his learning curve has included our development tools and professional good practice. And of course, Mathis has been learning the functional programming and type systems that are specific to OCaml and ReasonML.

Mathis has good ideas and a sound understanding of users’ requirements. We look forward to integrating his contribution into our production code.

Why is the topic of this internship important?

Mathis is making substantive contributions to core features of the Umami system and really pulling his weight (= making significant contributions) as he works with our team. We could not ask more of an intern.

Mathis also brings something else of great value to us: he sees our project with fresh eyes, and this helps us to find and fix all the accessibility mistakes which we — as the system’s developers who know Umami too well — are liable to miss. Thank you Mathis!