Rubin Observatory/LSST Computational Physics Developer

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Thursday, June 30, 2022
Archive Date: 
Thursday, July 28, 2022
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Institution Classification/Type: 
Research Laboratory
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Street Line 1: 
PO Box 500
Street Line 2: 
MS 124
Street Line 3: 
United States of America
Job Announcement Text:

We Are:

Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. We support discovery science experiments in Illinois and at locations around the world, including deep underground mines in South Dakota and Canada, mountaintops in Arizona and Chile, and the South Pole.

We are strategic risk takers, innovators, and collaborators. We are engineers, scientists, technicians, administrative professionals. We are 1,800 employees advancing knowledge for the benefit of humankind. Fermilab has been at the forefront of particle physics for more than 40 years. We build world-leading accelerators and detectors to conduct some of the most advanced particle physics experiments possible. We collect and analyze the data from those experiments with some of the most powerful computers in the world. We conduct this research on a 6,800-acre prairie, 35 miles outside Chicago, a treasure that has been designated a National Environmental Research Park.

Fermilab has internationally leading programs in high energy physics, neutrino physics, accelerator physics, quantum physics, and cosmological physics. We are seeking someone to work in cosmological physics. Fermilab is part of the operations team for the Vera C. Rubin Observatory currently under construction in Chile, consisting of an 8.4m telescope, a meter scale widefield CCD camera, and an international data reduction system and science platform, all aimed at carrying out the LSST imaging survey over the Southern Sky repeatedly over a 10-year period. The data will be unprecedented in scale and sensitivity to faint objects and the in the exploration of the time domain. Fermilab scientists are collaborators in the LSST/Dark Energy Science Collaboration (DESC) which will use the LSST data to make the world’s most powerful cosmological analyses.

This position is for a computational physicist to play a critical role in the operation of the Rubin Observatory United States Data Facility and the software that supports the LSST data production. The position entails working with specialized large scale data movement system Rucio (developed at CERN), combining it with the Rubin developed Butler metadata catalog and its Postgresql backend, to develop the system to handle data movement for production and the transport of metadata about the production back into the Butler. The role involves developing software for the management and tracking of campaigns of production for the yearly data releases. Expertise in Kubernetes systems and the deployment of infrastructure using infrastructure as code technologies such as Puppet or Terraform is part of the job of ensuring the distributed production system is ready for the differing needs of Rucio, the Butler, and production with the LSST software stack. The job is to make sure the complicated systems function for the data production scientists to move the campaigns of data through the system.

You Will:

  • Develop creative software solutions to the problems that will be encountered
  • Use, improve, and support the CERN developed Rucio data movement system & the Rubin developed Butler metadata database to transport data and produce metadata in the international production system
  • Support the Kubernetes cluster systems that allow Rucio, the Butler, and the production to occur
  • Develop relationships with the data production group at Fermilab, the USDF at SLAC, and the Rubin Operations staff in Tuscon.
  • Be part of the cosmological science community at Fermilab


We Are Looking For:

  • Master’s degree required, PhD preferred, in physics, astronomy, computer science or related field
  • Experience with one of more: Rucio, Butler, PanDA or other workflow system, OR demonstrated ability to develop on a package of similar complexity
  • Detailed knowledge of the software development practices in Python using systems like the Github ecosystem
  • Extensive knowledge in one or more areas of survey physics, or algorithmic mathematics, or modeling techniques
  • The ability to work with data production scientists or cosmologists on the designing a system to support the data production
  • Enjoyment of working around the nightly flow of data from the telescope

Applicable Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Preferred:

  • Ability to solve complex problems with Python
  • Experience with SQL and using databases such as Postgresql
  • Experience with multi-site data production and middleware
  • Interest in exploring the problem of dark energy


FRA encourages all employees to be fully vaccinated and boosted to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and to mitigate against severe illness from infection. Upon employment with FRA, all employees must state their vaccination status. Please note that all vaccination and testing requirements are subject to change. Testing of unvaccinated employees may be required for Fermilab site access, depending on community transmission levels.

Fermilab is an Equal Opportunity Employer and believes a diverse and inclusive environment based on mutual respect is essential to our mission. Fermilab is committed to recruiting and developing the most hardworking people and does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, religion, age, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, military/veteran status, country of birth, geography/postal code, disability, marital status, parental or gestational status, or other non-merit factor.

Pay Compensation
Compensation Notes: 
Application Deadline: 
Thursday, July 28, 2022
Selection Deadline: 
Thursday, July 28, 2022
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Kathleen Venn Bowers