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University of Washington
Seattle, WA Full-time
Posted on February 1, 2020
Req #: 173145
Department: ASTRONOMY
Job Location: Seattle Campus
Posting Date: 11/01/2019 
Closing Info: Open Until Filled 
Salary: Salary and benefits are competitive. Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience. 
Shift: First Shift 
Notes: As a UW employee, you will enjoy generous benefits and work/life programs.  For detailed information on Benefits for this position, click here.  

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Alert Production group within the Data Intensive Research in Astrophysics and Cosmology (DIRAC) Institute at the University of Washington invites applications for a research engineer to join us in Seattle in the design and construction of data-processing pipelines for the LSST.

When LSST begins operations in 2022, it will carry out the largest astronomical survey ever undertaken: it will observe more asteroids, stars, galaxies, and quasars than all previous telescopes combined. Over the course of its ten year program, it will take hundreds of petabytes of images, generate billions of real-time alerts of transient and variable sources, and produce a dataset with profound and lasting impacts on a wide range of different areas of astronomy.

We are looking for a software developer to work within the Alert Production team, and across the wider LSST Data Management project. In this role, you will develop high-performance image processing and catalog manipulation libraries and help build scalable architecture to coordinate the operation of LSST's data processing system.

You're an effective software developer with experience in C++. You are a skilled written and oral communicator who effectively collaborates with local and remote colleagues. You are eager to work on performance optimization of petascale data processing pipelines.

  • You have at least a bachelor's degree in computer science, physics, astronomy, or a related field
  • You are experienced with collaborative software development
  • You'd love to apply your skills to astronomical image processing algorithms and performance optimization
  • You have extensive C++ experience, or you are an expert in another programming language with some C++ experience and are excited to extend your expertise
  • You have effective written and oral communication skills

  • You have experience with modern C++14,17,20 and/or interfacing C++ and Python
  • You're familiar with Python 3, and maybe even astronomy-specific Python packages like Astropy
  • You have experience developing software in an astronomical context
  • You love open source software and know your way around Git and GitHub
  • You value clear documentation, enjoy writing tests, and are familiar with continuous

    LSST is an international collaboration with headquarters in Tucson, AZ. The LSST Data Management team is composed of about 100 people, with 15 at the University of Washington. Our developer guide is regularly updated at The main codebase you will work on is open source at

    The DIRAC Institute is a community within UW's Department of Astronomy engaged in the understanding of our universe through the analysis of large and complex data sets. We are an open, ethical, collaborative community. We believe in providing a welcoming and inclusive environment, in the importance of quality of life, in embracing diversity, in making a difference, and in having fun.

    The University of Washington is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. We especially encourage individuals from underrepresented groups in STEM to apply.

    What you can expect
  • A 40-hour work week with a flexible schedule
  • 20% of your time to work on your own scientific and/or software pursuits
  • Relocation expenses
  • Living in Seattle with flexibility for remote work some of the time
  • A team culture that encourages vacations
  • Support for professional development and conference travel
  • Choice of personal computing hardware
  • Access to UW and LSST computing clusters

    Please submit a resume and a cover letter describing your interest in the position and relevant experience through the UW jobs website. The position will remain open until filled; for full consideration please apply by December 1, 2019. The start date is flexible, but the position is funded to start immediately.

    The application process for UW positions may include completion of a variety of online assessments to obtain additional information that will be used in the evaluation process.  These assessments may include Work Authorization, Cover Letter and/or others.  Any assessments that you need to complete will appear on your screen as soon as you select “Apply to this position”. Once you begin an assessment, it must be completed at that time; if you do not complete the assessment you will be prompted to do so the next time you access your “My Jobs” page. If you select to take it later, it will appear on your "My Jobs" page to take when you are ready. Please note that your application will not be reviewed, and you will not be considered for this position until all required assessments have been completed.
  • Committed to attracting and retaining a diverse staff, the University of Washington will honor your experiences, perspectives and unique identity. Together, our community strives to create and maintain working and learning environments that are inclusive, equitable and welcoming.

    The University of Washington is a leader in environmental stewardship & sustainability, and committed to becoming climate neutral.

    The University of Washington is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact the Disability Services Office at 206-543-6450 / 206-543-6452 (tty) or