Postdoctoral positions in LISA data analysis and waveform development at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam

Job Offer from April 26, 2024

The "Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity" (ACR) department at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute, AEI) in Potsdam announces the opening of several postdoctoral appointments, which will be available at different levels, depending on experience and seniority, and can last from 2 to 5 years. These appointments will be in the areas of data analysis and its interface with waveform modeling for the recently adopted space-based gravitational-wave detector LISA. More specifically, the work will encompass research for the LISA Global Fit and Waveform Generator and it is mostly supported by the German Space Agency (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, DLR) and the recently awarded Max-Planck-Society research project “Delivering LISA Science in Germany”.

Data processing for LISA will be coordinated at the European level through the Distributed Data Processing Center (DDPC). DLR is committed to contribute to the DDPC, and the ACR department will be leading the German contributions to the Global Fit and Waveform Generator.

We are seeking postdoctoral researchers who will be involved in a number of projects aimed at developing:

  • A Global Fit pipeline capable of inferring the parameters of all different source types, while accounting for instrumental artefacts such as data gaps and glitches;
  • A  search pipeline to derive initial estimates of the parameters of extreme-mass-ratio inspirals and stellar-origin black-hole binary sources in the LISA data
  • Machine-learning methods for LISA data analysis
  • A Waveform Generator pipeline that can deliver signal models for all source types expected to be present in the LISA data
  • Fast and accurate waveform models for LISA;
  • A framework for comparing waveform models and using numerical-relativity waveforms to validate them.

The ACR department is a vibrant, interdisciplinary and synergistic group that encourages both collaborative and independent work and fosters creativity. Led by Alessandra Buonanno, it is composed of about 45 scientists, including three permanent research group leaders, Jonathan Gair, Harald Pfeiffer and Jan Steinhoff, and the five-year research group leader Miguel Zumalacarregui. The department also hosts several long and short-term visitors, and has ties with the Physics Department at the University of Maryland, the Humboldt University in Berlin, and the University of Potsdam.

Currently, the ACR department operates a high-performance compute cluster, Urania, with ~6,050 cores, a high-throughput compute cluster, Hypatia, with ~12,000 cores, and two  servers, Saraswati and Lakshmi, each with 8 A100 GPUs. Those clusters are used to run numerical-relativity simulations of gravitational-wave sources, and to carry out source modeling and data-analysis studies for current and future gravitational-wave detectors.

To apply, please submit your application via our job portal here.

You will be asked to upload a cover letter, curriculum vitae, list of publications and a statement of past and future research activities of not more than 3 pages. Applicants will need to indicate the names of three referees for recommendation letters. Please register an account with our job portal and fill in the contact information for the referees well before the deadline, so that reference letters can be received in time. Referees will receive an email with instructions on how to upload their letters.

Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. The deadline for full consideration is May 21, 2024, including reception of reference letters. The anticipated start date of the positions is Fall 2024. Applications will be considered until all positions are filled.

The salary and social benefits (e.g. health insurance) are based on the collective labor agreement "TVöD Bund" for the German public sector, usually at pay grade E13 (if the qualifications according to TVöD are met). A projection of the gross and net salary based on the TVöD regulations will be prepared in case an offer is made.

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, gender identity, sexual orientation or national origin. The Max Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individual. The AEI and the Max Planck Society welcome persons with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusion (Code of Conduct). The institute promotes a healthy work-life balance by offering all employees a family support service, cooperation with a nearby international kindergarten, as well as an in-house parent-child office and nursing room.

For further information please contact

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