Long-term scientific software developer for LISA simulated data generation, Leuven, Belgium

More info:  external link
Deadline:  2023-11-20

Location:  Leuven, Belgium

We are inviting applications for the position of a long-term scientific software developer for LISA simulated data generation at KU Leuven.

Recent discoveries of gravitational waves from merging black holes and neutron stars by the LIGO and Virgo observatories have marked the beginning of an exciting new era in our observations of the universe. Researchers are working to expand and scientifically exploit this novel window onto the universe. This requires an entirely new generation of gravitational wave (GW) observatories. In space, the European Space Agency’s Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) mission is scheduled for launch in the 2030s to open the long-wavelength GW band. Building on the LISA Pathfinder mission, LISA is based on laser interferometry between free flying test masses inside three drag-free spacecraft. At KU Leuven we coordinate the Belgian contributions to the LISA mission development, from instrumentation to the data-analysis architecture.

A core team for preparing the scientific observations of the LISA mission is currently being installed at KU Leuven. As our new software developer, you will be closely involved with the technical preparation of the LISA simulator, which will be the principal solution for testing LISA data reduction pipelines and for the end-to-end validation of the LISA mission.

Your role will be an essential part of the new Gravitational Wave Initiative of the Department of Physics and Astronomy and of the Science, Engineering and Technology Group at KU Leuven, which brings together staff members and researchers from different research divisions around gravitational wave physics and engineering. The overarching goal of this Initiative is to strengthen KU Leuven contributions to two international flagship missions in the field of gravitational waves: the Einstein Telescope underground and LISA in space.

Research divisions at the Department of Physics and Astronomy heavily involved in this Initiative include the Institute of Astronomy, the Institute for Theoretical Physics, and the Laboratory for Semiconductor Physics, each of which are young and vibrant research groups comprising several dozens of scientists, engineers, and support staff.

– You will drive the successful implementation of the LISA simulator, which targets the generation of realistic synthetic observations for LISA.
– You will help organise the international development activities through which the software will be built. You will integrate all necessary components of the synthetic data generation: astrophysical/cosmological source simulation, population synthesis, instrument response and processing, and telemetry. You will address and improve the simulator performance where needed.
– You will develop and manage an automated pipeline that supports continuous integration of the code. You will closely monitor and secure the quality of this software, in close collaboration with the domain experts and instrument specialists.
– You will develop a software solution for external users to interface with the simulator in a user-friendly way. You provide and maintain all necessary documentation.
– You will closely interact with users to evaluate the overall performance and effectiveness, and to evaluate and accommodate new feature requests.
– You will aim at excellence in your work, and will be given opportunities, as our software expert, to contribute to other state-of-the-art software activities within the larger group.

– Master’s degree in computer science, engineering, physics, astronomy, or a related field. Having experience with a PhD is an asset.
– Exhaustive experience in (astro)physical-instrumentation or mechatronics-system design and/or simulation
– Excellent software development skills (Python and/or C++), experience in collaborative coding projects (e.g. for data reduction pipelines, numerical simulation)
– Strong interest in gravitational-wave research, both scientifically and from the instrumentation side
– Commitment to personal development and updating of knowledge and skills
– Experience with the quality standards required for space projects is an asset
– Excellent communicator, able to thrive in a multicultural and multidisciplinary team

We offer a full-time position with a contract of indefinite duration, in the staff category of Administrative and Technical Support Staff with all the related benefits. If you are able to cover all aspects of this position from the start, you will be appointed in grade 8. Promising candidates who are not able to take on all tasks immediately or who still need a personal development and training programme will start in grade 7. Exceptional candidates with extensive knowledge and experience to take on additional responsibilities right from the start may be appointed in grade 9. We offer a stimulating, diverse and dynamic work environment, where research is driven by a young and strong community of PhD students, postdocs, and professors. More broadly, at KU Leuven you will enjoy the cultural richness and diversity of a large and prestigious institution located in a beautiful historical city in the centre of Belgium and Europe.

For more information please contact Prof. Dr. Thomas Hertog via thomas.hertog[AT]kuleuven.be, or Dr. Jonathan Menu via jonathan.menu[AT]kuleuven.be