Research Associate in Task-based SPH Formalisms and the Performance Prediction of Task Codes

Durham, United Kingdom
£27,116 - £33,309 per annum
14 Jul 2022
End of advertisement period
15 Aug 2022
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Computer Science

Grade 6: - £27,116 - £33,309 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 12 Months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 15-Aug-2022, 6:59:00 AM


Department: Computer Science and Physics (joint appointment)
Grade: Grade  6
Term: 12 months with the potential to extend by a further 2x12 months
Salary Range: £27,116 - £33,309
Working Arrangements: This role is full time but we will consider requests for flexible working arrangements including potential job shares.

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Less than 3 hours north of London, and an hour and a half south of Edinburgh, County Durham is a region steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breathtaking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of city, suburban and rural residential locations. The University provides a range of benefits including pension and childcare benefits and the University’s Relocation Manager can assist with potential schooling requirements.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

The Department

The Department of Computer Science is rapidly expanding – it tripled in size over the last 4 years and now has around 50 academic faculty. Our new building, joint with Mathematical Sciences, houses research groups in algorithms and complexity, in artificial human intelligence and human systems, networks, and computer vision, visualisation and imaging. This post is hosted by its fifth research group: scientific computing.

Collaborative research between colleagues from Physics and Computer Science has enabled us to secure multiple grants under the umbrella of the ExCALIBUR programme- the UK’s exascale software programme-and industry partnerships. In the spirit of these projects, we are searching for a candidate joining our research and software development team.

The Role

We invite applications for Research Associate post. The successful applicant is expected to help us improve our existing simulation codes which we use to study novel cosmological theories and models. For this we are looking at a candidate who either helps us with the task scheduling of our large-scale calculations or assists with implementing a multi-grid linear equation system solver or helps us to port the most computer-intense building blocks to GPU's. A previous degree in Physics is not required, though we expect the candidate to be interested in cosmological simulations. A previous degree in Computer Science is also not required, but we expect the candidate to have solid C/C++ programming skills.

Besides traditional computational science experts, we want to encourage those colleagues to apply who have a previous background in quantitative sciences and now want to acquire HPC expertise as part of their long term development in Durham. Our group is diverse and hosts both colleagues with their long term academic ambitions and colleagues who focus on high quality software within the academic world and colleagues who want to lay the foundations for a career in L&D in industry.

  1. To understand and convey material/information of a technical nature.
  2. To design, implement and assess novel algorithms within an existing simulation landscape (apply relevant methodology according to overall context and objectives)
  3. To prepare and deliver presentations on research outputs/activities to audiences which may include: research sponsors, academic and non-academic audiences.
  4. To undertake elementary research, and following analysis, write up results of research work (publishing good quality papers where required).
  5. To liaise with research colleagues and industry partners to improve the quality of the project outcomes, assist with the planning and research collaborations to form long-term relationships.
  6. To deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives (by discussing with the Principal Investigator); offering creative or innovative solutions. 
  7. To contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  8. To engage in continuing professional development by attending relevant training and development courses.

This post is fixed term due to funding restrictions but might be extended subject to continued funding. For applicants who want to start a RSE career, Durham might offer a long term position after this development appointment has been terminated. The post should be filled as soon as possible.

The post-holder is employed to work on research/a research project which will be led by another colleague. Whilst this means that the post-holder will not be carrying out independent research in his/her own right, the expectation is that they will contribute to the advancement of the project, through the development of their own research ideas/adaptation and development of research protocols.

The Requirements


  • Qualifications
    • A MSc or working towards a PhD in a subject with a strong quantitative flavour (Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, ...)
  • Experience
    • Experience in C/C++ programming
    • Experience with either task-based programming or multigrid or GPU programming (on postgraduate level)
    • Ability to translate complex mathematical concepts and algorithms into working software
    • Ability to write material (documentation, theses or papers) of high quality
  • Skills
    • Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings
    • Ability to work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines
    • Good interpersonal and communication skills


  • Experience
    • Experience with large-scale computing or SPH
    • Publication record in peer-reviewed journals
    • Track record of presenting research at conferences, symposia, or meetings
    • Experience of overseeing students or mentoring colleagues

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.

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