Software Engineers, HPC Applications for Scientific Data Centres

Education level:
Closing Date:
31 juli 2017

Informatie over organisatie

ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, is located just outside Dwingeloo in Drenthe. Its mission is to make discoveries in radio astronomy happen via the development of novel and innovative technologies, the operation of world-class radio astronomy facilities, and the pursuit of fundamental astronomical research. ASTRON hosts a vibrant research environment with strong technical expertise and influence in the new generation of emerging radio facilities. ASTRON currently develops and operates LOFAR, a new generation low-frequency multi-field aperture array telescope. ASTRON also operates the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) and is developing APERTIF (APERture Tile in Focus), a phased array feed upgrade currently being commissioned at the WSRT that will significantly expand its field of view and enable a new, deep HI survey of the northern hemisphere. As the NL national radio astronomy institute, ASTRON also plays a leading role in several of the consortia contributing to the scientific and technical design of the SKA. ASTRON also currently hosts JIVE, the Joint Institute for VLBI ERIC.

The unified software development effort at ASTRON plays a major role in supporting our mission to make discoveries in radio astronomy happen. With a staff of over 35 personnel, the combined software team at ASTRON is essential to the operation of our current facilities, the extraction of science from those facilities, and the development of new capabilities for the future. The software development effort at ASTRON is organized around three distinct expertise groups. Within the Research & Development group, the software effort is focused on algorithmic innovation, high performance, high throughput computing, and integrated hardware and software solutions. In the Radio Observatory, the software team is responsible for the operational capabilities of our facilities including telescope monitoring and control, data processing pipelines and analysis tools, archival data management, and maximizing the range and quality of science-ready data products we deliver to our user community. Finally, in the Astronomy Group, the software development group is geared toward user science extraction and is charged with improving the availability and access to ASTRON data collections, developing new analysis tools and capabilities for the astronomy community, and research into advanced data science techniques to support user science in the era of data intensive astronomy. Working together, these three teams cover the range of development activities at ASTRON and are crucial to the success of our mission.


You will become part of a team based at ASTRON working to establish a large-scale Science Data Centre for radio astronomy research. This Science Data Centre (SDC) represents a new ASTRON initiative to develop the tools and infrastructure necessary to support scientific analysis in the era of data intensive radio astronomy. As part of the SDC development team, you will help in establishing a pilot system to support analysis of data from ASTRON’s current operational facilities LOFAR and APERTIF on a distributed, large-scale computing environment. This pilot system will also serve as a testbed for developing tools and technologies that will scale to meet the needs of SKA data analysis.

Specific tasks will include developing software layers for the management of large, distributed data volumes, porting existing pipelines to a distributed, HPC environment, and developing new pipelines and tools to aid users in the analysis of that data. This work will be done in close collaboration with a dedicated team of IT specialists, developers, and astronomers.

The Software Engineers, HPC Applications for Scientific Data Centres we are looking for:

  • A degree in computer science (or related technical discipline)
  • Strong Python and C++ skills; experience with other languages is a plus
  • Experience with pipeline frameworks like Unicore
  • Experience with workflow management systems (e.g. Spark, Hadoop, Airflow, Luigi)
  • Experience with setting up and working in a DevOps environment
  • Familiarity with cloud-based infrastructures (e.g. OpenStack)
  • Familiarity with parallel and distributed computing (cluster computers, GRID networks, etc.)
  • Knowledge of astronomy or astrophysics is a plus
  • Excellent planning and organizational skills
  • Good communications skills and a team player

More information

For more information about ASTRON look on our website For more information about this vacancy please contact Diana Verweij, Head of the HR department & Communications, phone: +31 521 595 211 or e-mail: For more information please contact Prof. Dr. Michael Wise, head of the Astronomy Group, e-mail:

To apply, please submit a cover letter and curriculum vitae on our website (reference number 2017-05-031). Applications will be considered until the positions are filled; however, the first closing date for applications will be August 1, 2017.

We offer

  • We offer an initial contract for two years, plus a one-year extension given good performance
  • Besides a pleasant and challenging work environment we have a good package of benefits like a pension plan, group discounts on individual insurances and travel expenses
  • We offer flexible conditions of employment, tailored to your personal situation
  • We offer generous relocation expenses and support with finding accommodation

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