Science Computing Specialist

Science Computing Specialist
NRC Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics
Victoria – British Columbia
RCO, English
This is a 3 years term position.
Assignments and secondments may be considered according to NRC’s policies.
Your Challenge

Help bring research to life and drive your career forward with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), Canada’s premiere research and technology organization.
We are looking for a Science Computing Specialist to support NRC Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics (HAA) in Victoria, BC. The Science Computing Specialist would be someone who shares our core values of impact, accountability, leadership, integrity and collaboration.
The Canadian Astronomy Data Centre (CADC) is an inter-disciplinary team of approximately twenty scientists, software engineers, and operations staff. The CADC has developed a set of sophisticated tools and services to support and enhance the research efforts of Canadian (and international) astronomers. The CADC continues to expand its role by partnering with the Canadian Advanced Network For Astronomical Research (CANFAR) and Compute Canada (CC) to integrate its services with cloud-computing and storage technologies.
Working under the direction of the Group Leader, Optical Astronomy (CADC), you will provide scientific and computing support for researchers using the CANFAR platform, analysing their workflow and providing suggestions for how to best utilize CANFAR and CADC services, analysing problems with CANFAR/CC services and working with the various teams to define and, where necessary, implement solutions.
You will also support the migration of CADC and CANFAR services to CC infrastructure, acting as a technical liaison between CADC/CANFAR operations staff and software developers and CC support staff: this will require you to develop a detailed understanding of CADC/CANFAR services and advocate for CC technical solutions that fit their needs.
This work involves expert-level understanding of astronomical research processes, data, and software, knowledge of the OpenStack platform and related processing and cloud-computing technologies, and the ability to gather and write clear planning and requirements documents. Given the close work with large scientific collaborations, there will be opportunity to contribute scientifically within these teams.

Screening Criteria
Applicants must demonstrate within the content of their application that they meet the following screening criteria in order to be given further consideration as candidates.
Ph.D. in astronomy or astrophysics.

Experience working in a multi-disciplinary team that provides support to astronomical researchers, particularly in research computing.
Experience providing user and system support in a technical or research computing environment.
Experience with a variety of virtualization and Infrastructure-as-a-Service technologies (IaaS).
Significant experience configuring and administering systems running the Linux operating system
Experience developing software using Python, shell scripting, C/C++ and/or Java, and databases.
Experience with a wide range of packages and languages used in astronomy.
A record of publication of original research in peer-reviewed publications is required to demonstrate experience.
Experience in database application programming would be considered an asset.
Experience with systems orchestration and configuration management would be considered an asset.
Experience in science and software requirements development or in developing software in a team environment with external stakeholders would be considered an asset.

Candidates possessing a combination of a graduate degree in a related field and relevant experience in astronomy/astrophysics may be considered.

Language Requirements
Assessment Criteria
Candidates will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:
Technical Competencies
Advanced knowledge of current observational techniques and associated data reduction techniques.
Expert knowledge of the astronomy/astrophysics research processes.
Solid knowledge of OpenStack components and client tools.
Knowledge of virtualization and IaaS technologies besides OpenStack.
Solid knowledge of software development in Python and shell scripting languages, C/C++ and/or Java, and databases.
Advanced knowledge of astronomical software tools and packages.
Solid knowledge of HTCondor.
Solid working knowledge of statistical analysis.
Demonstrated ability to arrive at innovative solutions to astronomical processing problems.
Demonstrated ability to efficiently produce clear, well-structured, and well-written technical documentation.
Ability to relate astronomical data analysis methodologies to non-astronomers.
Knowledge of the basic goals and protocols of the Virtual Observatory would be considered an asset.

Behavioural Competencies
Creative Thinking (level 3)
Teamwork (level 2)
Communication (level 2)
Results Orientation (level 2)
For this position, NRC will evaluate candidates using the following competency profile(s):

View all competency profiles.

Salary Range
This position is classified as a Research Council Officer (RCO), a group that is unique to the NRC. The RCO group uses a person-based classification system instead of the more common duties-based classification system. Candidates are remunerated based on their expertise, skill, outcomes and impacts of their previous work experience. The salary scale for this group is vast, from $49,670 to $140,418 per annum, which permits for employees of all levels from new graduates to world renowned experts to be fairly compensated for their contributions.
Condition of Employment
Reliability Status
Relocation assistance will be determined in accordance with NRC’s directives.
An eligibility list may be established for similar positions.
Some travelling may be required.
This position is being advertised internally and externally simultaneously, however first consideration will be given to internal NRC applicants.
In order to ensure a prompt and efficient processing of applications, candidates are encouraged to provide, along with their résumé, a detailed covering letter explaining how they meet each of the requirements of this position (education, experience, language requirements) by providing concrete examples. In addition, the candidate is encouraged to describe in detail when, where and how he/she gained the experience.
Job description available upon request.
We thank all those who apply, however only those selected for further consideration will be contacted.
Preference will be given to Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents of Canada. Please include citizenship information in your application.
The incumbent must adhere to safe workplace practices at all times.
Closing Date
Posted until filled.
Application Process:
Please read the following instructions carefully to ensure efficient processing of your application:
Résumés must be submitted by e-mail using the “Send Resume” button. Please do not modify the subject line of the email and ensure that you answer all of the pre-populated application questions found in the email. You will receive an email confirming receipt of your application.
The NRC is an employer who values diversity in its workforce.
Accommodation is available to all candidates retained for further assessment.
Telephone: 613-991-2024

Project Manager for Fast Radio Burst and Pulsar Instrument on the CHIME Radio Telescope

Academic Associate, Department of Physics, McGill University

CHIME is a novel radio telescope consisting of 4 20×100 m2 cylindrical reflectors that have no moving parts, with an array of radio receivers along the focus, all fed into a massive correlator. CHIME will observe in the 400-800 MHz band over half the sky each day as the Earth turns. CHIME was designed for cosmological measurements. CHIME will also be an excellent detector of radio pulsars and of the newly recognized phenomenon of Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs). CHIME is currently under construction in Penticton, British Columbia and first light is expected in 2016.

CHIME/FRB/pulsar project is seeking an experienced Project Manager, ideally a radio astronomer with project execution and/or management experience, to be based at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. The Project Manager will help develop the CHIME FRB/pulsar search backend, which will detect FRBs in the CHIME field-of-view in real time at a rate of at least several per day. The FRB search backend will consist of a custom, dedicated computer cluster that takes in data provided by the CHIME cosmology correlator. This position is a contract position for two years commencing Fall 2015, with an automatic review performed after one year. The salary will be commensurate with experience, $70,000 – $80,000 per annum.

The successful candidate must possess strong management and technical skills, and have experience in fast-track development. This individual will oversee the project using planning, monitoring and controlling management tools. The Project Manager, working closely with the Principal Investigator and the rest of the CHIME/FRB team, will be responsible for coordination and completion of the project and to this end will perform a variety of tasks including setting deadlines, assigning responsibilities, and monitoring and summarizing progress of the project. The Project Manager will report to the Principal Investigator.

Roles and Responsibilities:

Creates and executes project work plans and revises as appropriate to meet changing needs and requirements
Identifies resources needed and assigns individual responsibilities
Manages day-to-day operational aspects of project
Assists in procurement processes at McGill, UBC and U. Toronto
Organizes external reviews
Prepares and presents project reviews / projections to the PI and CHIME/FRB Steering Committee
Manages project budget
Maintains membership and email lists
Conducts regular status and project meetings with the team
Resolves conflicts or escalate issues tactfully and in a timely fashion
Remains on the forefront of emerging industry practices
Identifies opportunities for improvement and makes constructive suggestions for change
Assists in mentoring of students and postdocs
Assists in writing of scholarly journal articles
Professional Qualifications & Required Skills

MSc or PhD in relevant field
Knowledge of radio astronomy techniques and instrumentation
Knowledge of radio astronomical science, particular fast transients and/or compact objects a plus
Knowledge of distributed computing
Knowledge of digital signal processing
Ability to understand the technology being used without necessarily being an expert
Facility with project management tools
Understand cost-to-completion projections
Ability to facilitate team and stakeholders meetings effectively
Excellent communication skills, both written and oral
Delivery of engaging, informative, well organized presentations

Special Requirements:

Travel will be required to effectively utilize the CHIME observing site at Penticton, BC, and to interface with CHIME team members at other institutions, and with suppliers.
Application procedure: Please send CV and expository cover letter describing relevant experience and why this position is of interest. Also provide names and contact information for 3 potential references. All application materials should be combined into a single pdf and emailed to Prof. Victoria Kaspi,, with subject line “Application for CHIME/FRB/pulsar Project Manager”. Skype interviews will be conducted for applicants with promising credentials. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

We thank all applicants for their interest; however, only applicants selected for an interview will be contacted.
McGill University is committed to equity in employment and diversity. It welcomes applications from Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities, persons of minority sexual orientation or gender identity, visible minorities, women, and others who may contribute to diversification. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.