Department of Physics & Astronomy
Western Kentucky University
The Department of Physics & Astronomy at Western Kentucky University (WKU) invites applications for a research faculty position. This is a twelve-month position with faculty rank; funding for the first two years has been identified, and the successful candidate will be expected to leverage this support into a long-term program of externally funded research, carried out in collaboration with members of the department and involving both undergraduate and graduate students.
The successful candidate will join a team of researchers at WKU and Eastern Kentucky Assistant/Associate Research Professor
University (EKU) in applying machine/deep learning algorithms to high-cadence images of the Sun from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA), with the goal of providing reliable predictions of solar flare activity on timescales of order tens of minutes. Both WKU and EKU are members of a team that has been selected by NASA to provide support in connection with planned launches of the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) Hi-C and FOXSI 4 hard X-ray imaging telescope sounding rocket instruments in March 2024, as part of the Solar Flare Sounding Rocket Campaign. The goal is to provide real-time launch support by applying machine learning algorithms to real-time SDO AIA data, in multiple spectral channels, to identify features that indicate where and when flaring activity is imminent, and so ascertain the optimum time for the launches of the flare-observing Hi‑C and FOXSI 4 instruments.
- Ph.D. in Computer Science, Engineering, Physics, Mathematics or related field;
- Strong knowledge of convolutional neural networks and recurrent neural networks;
- Experience with spatial-temporal feature extraction from video clips;
- Experience with weakly-supervised learning, semi-supervised, learning, or few-shot learning;
- Familiarity with Tensorflow, PyTorch, or similar deep learning framework.
Familiarity with optical flow, and experience in the analysis of solar data, are pluses, but are not required. The project will be performed using a combination of in-house High-Performance Computers and through access to the KY Cyberteam’s computational power, which is in excess of 1 Petaflop and 10 Petabytes of storage.
Rank and salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. We expect that the successful candidate will quickly assume a leadership role in this project and will play a key role in the coordination of results with scientists in the Hi-C project at MSFC.
Applications should be submitted via WKUs electronic talent search system found at https://www.wku.edu/hr/careers/ by January 10, 2022. Information on the Department of Physics and Astronomy at WKU can be found at https://www.wku.edu/physics/, and information on the Bowling Green, KY, area can be found at https://www.bgky.org/.
Western Kentucky University (WKU) is committed to a policy and practice of providing equal employment and educational opportunities to all individuals. For more details see the more detailed position description at WEBSITE. Kentucky state law requires all public institutions of postsecondary education to conduct pre-employment criminal background checks to determine suitability for employment.