Job offer

Scientific Programmer

Job offer from September 17, 2018

The "Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity" division at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute, AEI) in Potsdam is looking for a highly motivated, talented Scientific Programmer who will actively engage in the computational research activities carried out in the division. The position will be at the level of a staff scientist; the appointment will initially be for 3 years, with the possibility of becoming permanent afterwards. In exceptional cases, the position can be made permanent sooner, or from the beginning.

The "Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity" (ACR) division, led by Alessandra Buonanno, develops theoretical models of gravitational waves (GW) from astrophysical and cosmological sources. These models --- implemented by the ACR division in Language C (for production analyses in the LIGO Algorithm Library (LAL) “LALsuite” code package) and Mathematica (for development) --- are used to detect signals in the LIGO and Virgo data streams, and extract invaluable information about extreme gravity and matter. The ACR division is composed of about 20-25 scientists, including two research group leaders, Jonathan Gair (to arrive in Spring 2019) and Harald Pfeiffer. The division also hosts several long and short-term visitors. Many members of the division are part of international collaborations including the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the LISA consortium.

The ACR division has a high-performance computer cluster, Minerva with ~9,500 cores, and a high-throughput computer cluster Vulcan with ~2,000 cores (soon to be replaced by Hypatia with ~8,000 cores). Those clusters are used to run numerical-relativity simulations of gravitational-wave sources, and carry out source modeling and data-analysis studies for current and future gravitational-wave detectors.

Key tasks/responsibilities:

  • Lead the development and maintenance of software packages used to generate waveform models, and to carry out statistical inference on the properties of observed gravitational-wave sources.
  • Work to ensure that the computational performance of the software meets the needs of the ACR’s scientists.
  • Ensure that software developed in the division is well documented to facilitate the easy use of the code by new members and external collaborators.
  • Consult and train scientists in the use of software, as needed.
  • Support research and publications conducted by scientists in the division.
  • Engage in visualization of results.

Required education and experience:

  • Ph.D. in computer science, astronomy, physics or a related discipline.
  • At least 4 years of experience with high-performance computing (HPC) or high-throughput computing (HTC) resources.
  • Expert knowledge in computational languages used in the astrophysics and physics community (e.g., Python, C/C++, Mathematica, MatLab).
  • Experience using multiple computational platforms (e.g., OSX, Windows, Unix/Linux).
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Excellent knowledge of oral and written English.

Preferred qualifications:

  • Background in gravitational-wave physics or astrophysics.
  • Familiarity with gravitational-wave software.
  • Familiarity with modern software development practices, such as version control system (Git) and continuous integration (CI).
  • Experience in numerical solutions of ordinary and partial differential equations.

To apply, please fill out this form.

You will be asked to upload a cover letter, curriculum vitae, list of publications and description of three software projects you have developed. Applicants also need to indicate the names of three referees for recommendation letters. Referees will be notified by email on how to upload the letters (in case of problems referees may send their letters directly to

Salary and benefits follow the remuneration of public employees in Germany (“Tarifvertrag im Öffentlichen Dienst, TVöD”).

Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. The deadline for full consideration is October 31st, 2018. Applications will be considered until the position is filled.

The Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics is an equal opportunity employer, and is
committed to provide employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or disability.

For further information please contact Andre Schirotzek ().

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