Computational Scientist

California, United States
Tuesday, 15 September 2020
End of advertisement period
Sunday, 15 November 2020
Contract Type
Full Time

Caltech is a world-renowned science and engineering institute that marshals some of the world's brightest minds and most innovative tools to address fundamental scientific questions. We thrive on finding and cultivating talented people who are passionate about what they do. Join us and be a part of the diverse Caltech community.

Job Summary

LIGO Laboratory (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) seeks a highly motivated and skilled Computational Scientist to join its team.  LIGO Laboratory is a National Science Foundation major facility dedicated to observing the newly discovered gravitational-wave universe. Jointly operated by the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the LIGO Laboratory operates world-leading observatories near Richland, WA and Baton Rouge, LA as well as R&D centers on the Caltech and MIT campuses. The LIGO Laboratory’s mission spans a broad and vibrant array of activities related to gravitational-wave physics and astronomy, including detector operations, R&D toward detector improvements, gravitational-wave astrophysics, observatory operations, and education and public outreach.

For more information, please visit the Laboratory website at http: \\  .

This position is located in Pasadena, California.

Life at Caltech/LIGO

LIGO Caltech is located on the campus of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, near the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. Caltech has an extraordinary science impact across many fields. Its small size creates a community where innovation and collaboration are the norm. Caltech manages the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for NASA, the leading US center for the robotic exploration of the Solar System. Caltech also operates large-scale research facilities such as the Palomar and Keck Observatories.

Pasadena is a city known for its contributions to science and technology, rich history, cultural treasures, and scenic beauty. The year-round comfortable weather creates a desirable environment for life and ideas to thrive. See Bill Nye’s take on our city .

People choose to work at LIGO for many reasons, often with fulfilling, long-term careers. LIGO is a family-friendly laboratory and strives to ensure everyone is able to achieve the work-life balance they desire. Caltech’s benefits program offers a quality, competitive benefits package that is affordable for you and the Institute. The program provides a strong base of coverage for you and your dependents, and the ability to choose the plan and the level of coverage that best meet your needs. We also offer a 403(b) defined contribution plan to eligible staff as well as a Voluntary Retirement Savings (TDA) Plan. LIGO Caltech staff have access to the Institute’s facilities, including the athletic center, libraries, on-site daycare, professional development and enrichment classes, and Athenaeum club memberships (only Caltech site template).

Caltech HR diversity page:

Caltech and LIGO Laboratory’s goal is to build a world-class, diverse workforce and support an inclusive environment that encourages professional development and offers top-notch benefits. Our talented staff, who work at the Caltech campus, or one of our Observatories, come from a variety of fields. Positions include scientists, engineers, information technology staff, outreach professionals, managers, writers, business professionals, and administrative staff. We are deeply committed to encouraging people of all backgrounds to apply for these opportunities. Our experience has demonstrated that the broader the styles, characteristics, backgrounds, and abilities of our staff—in other words, the more diverse our team is—the greater potential we have for success. Caltech is an equal opportunity employer.

LIGO Laboratory is committed to being a welcoming place for everyone regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, or veteran status.

Job Duties

The new hire will have the opportunity to take ownership of projects, and be responsible for helping to define the vision, design, implementation, and use of the systems they develop. They will be an integral part of both a local research group and an international collaboration, with a role in the broader efforts outside Caltech.

  • Help operate and contribute towards enhancing a globally distributed high throughput computing platform.
  • Work within a team to support an international scientific collaboration of over 1,000 people to run, monitor, debug and optimize large-scale distributed computing workflows.
  • Debug technical problems that span several layers of a mature and evolving computing environment ranging from issues with a single Linux process to routing complicated workflows of millions of tasks between computer clusters around the world.
  • Interface between gravitational wave domain specialists, middleware providers, and computing resource providers to understand and debug problems with different support personnel at each level.
  • Distribute and curate scientific data used and generated by large distributed workflows.
  • Consult with data analysts porting scientific workflows to run on a distributed platform, including contributions in scripting languages such as Python.
  • Responsible for professionally communicating (written and verbal) internally within the organization and externally to parties outside the organization.
  • Responsible for working in a team environment and being able to communicate with people who have a broad spectrum of backgrounds, skills, and educational preparation.
  • Proven ability to work remotely in a distributed organization.
  • Other duties as assigned

Basic Qualifications

  • BS in physical sciences, computer science, or related field
  • Four or more years of experience performing data analysis computing for very large, distributed scientific collaborations (such as high-energy physics, astrophysics, or similar)
  • Four or more years of experience as a user and administrator of HTCondor, Open Science Grid, and related grid computing infrastructures
  • Ability to build and maintain long-term professional relationships with a diverse community of scientists, with varying degrees of computing expertise, on novel data analysis computing problems with highly dynamic priorities and requirements, and informal project planning
  • Proficiency in at least one high-level scripting language, C/C++, and Unix operating systems

Preferred Qualifications

  • PhD in computer science, physics, astronomy, or a related field
  • 8 experience developing in Python and C/C++
  • Working knowledge with cloud-based technologies for deployment and management of software
  • General knowledge with time-series data and digital signal processing
  • Thorough knowledge with Unix systems development
  • General knowledge with scientific data management infrastructure such as Rucio
  • Working knowledge with scientific identity and access management infrastructure such as SciTokens

Required Documents

  • Resume or CV
  • Cover Letter

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