Research Software Engineer/Systems Architect

The Simons Observatory (SO) is an $80 million dollar project supported by the Simons Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, and member organizations, dedicated to understanding how the universe originated and evolved over the past 13.8 billion years. The SO project began in 2016 and is comprised of the design and deployment of four special-purpose telescopes, a high-altitude site, and cryogenic detectors. The SO will collect a comprehensive range of data spanning angular scales from one arcminute to nearly 70% of the sky visible from its site in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, at an altitude of 5200 meters (17,200 feet) above sea level.

The SO is comprised of over 40 institutions world-wide with over 300 participating members, representing scientific/academic/educational personnel, engineers, managers, and other parties. Upon completion, SO will be the largest, most ambitious observatory of its kind designed to probe the composition and evolution of the entire universe. The Simons Observatory Project Office at UC San Diego is responsible for the construction and operation of the Simons Observatory.

The Center for Particle Cosmology (CfPC) at the University of Pennsylvania is seeking applicants for a research software engineer and/or systems architect in scientific computing. We are interested in candidates with a keen interest in data-driven astrophysics and a strong background in software development.

The Center will be undertaking a massive effort in big-data survey cosmology over the next decade with new data from the Advanced Simons Observatory (ASO), the Rubin Observatory and the Roman Space Telescope. The successful candidate will contribute to the development of software infrastructure for ASO and possibly one or more other surveys. Depending on interest, the research engineer will also have other opportunities for career development, including leading and co-authoring scientific publications, advising students and teaching courses. Key responsibilities of the engineer will include automation of data reduction pipelines as well as front-end web development for visualizing pipelines and their associated astrophysical data-sets.

The position will nominally be for 5 years and may be extended depending on the availability of funding. The Center is committed to providing a welcoming and vibrant intellectual environment for all. We are particularly interested in candidates who are underrepresented minorities and in candidates who will foster a commitment to improving diversity, equity and inclusion in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

This position can support hybrid work but the candidate must reside in or be willing to relocate to the Philadelphia region. The successful candidate may start work some time between May 30, 2023 and January 1, 2024. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Automation of data management pipelines: The software engineer will work with postdoctoral researchers to build event-driven automated processing of data on HPC systems
  • Algorithm development: GPU and HPC optimization of research software
  • Front-end web development: graphical tools for visualizing and analyzing maps of the sky
  • Front-end web development: graphical tools for visualizing, building and deploying data management pipelines on HPC systems
  • Packaging and deployment of research software
  • Development of systems and interfaces for data delivery


  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, physics, astronomy, mathematics or other closely related field with at least 4 years of experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Significant experience in using Python for scientific data analysis
  • Significant experience with data management tasks in a Unix-like environment
  • Familiarity with collaborative development tools such as git and github
  • Familiarity with HTML, CSS and Javascript
  • Experience with High Performance Computing environments and tools

Preferred qualifications and skills:

  • Advanced degree in physics and/or astronomy is strongly preferred
  • Experience with C/C++ development, especially as Python extensions.
  • Experience with client and server-side web application frameworks
  • Experience with front-end web development
  • Experience with GPU optimization
  • Experience with machine learning or other data science techniques relevant to large astrophysical data sets

*For consideration and more information, please visit—Systems-Architect_JR00072709

and submit a cover letter as well as a resume or CV in the CV section of your application. You can upload multiple documents to the “Resume/CV” section.

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