LSST Alert Production Software Developer

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Archive Date: 
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
Large Academic
University of Washington
Department Name: 
Department of Astronomy
Street Line 1: 
3910 15th Ave NE
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Alert Production group within the Data Intensive Research in Astrophysics and Cosmology (DIRAC) Institute at the University of Washington invites applications for a research engineer to join us in Seattle in the design and construction of data-processing pipelines for the LSST. 

When LSST begins operations in 2022, it will carry out the largest astronomical survey ever undertaken: it will observe more asteroids, stars, galaxies, and quasars than all previous telescopes combined. Over the course of its ten year program, it will take hundreds of petabytes of images, generate billions of real-time alerts of transient and variable sources, and produce a dataset with profound and lasting impacts on a wide range of different areas of astronomy. 

We are looking for a software developer to work within the Alert Production team, and across the wider LSST Data Management project. In this role, you will develop high-performance image processing and catalog manipulation libraries and help build scalable architecture to coordinate the operation of LSST's data processing system. 

You're an effective software developer with experience in C++. You are a skilled written and oral communicator who effectively collaborates with local and remote colleagues. You are eager to work on performance optimization of petascale data processing pipelines. 


  • You have at least a bachelor's degree in computer science, physics, astronomy, or a related field 
  • You are experienced with collaborative software development 
  • You'd love to apply your skills to astronomical image processing algorithms and performance optimization 
  • You have extensive C++ experience, or you are an expert in another programming language with some C++ experience and are excited to extend your expertise 
  • You have effective written and oral communication skills 


  • You have experience with modern C++14,17,20 and/or interfacing C++ and Python 
  • You're familiar with Python 3, and maybe even astronomy-specific Python packages like Astropy 
  • You have experience developing software in an astronomical context 
  • You love open source software and know your way around Git and GitHub 
  • You value clear documentation, enjoy writing tests, and are familiar with continuous integration 

LSST is an international collaboration with headquarters in Tucson, AZ. The LSST Data Management team is composed of about 100 people, with 15 at the University of Washington. Our developer guide is regularly updated at The main codebase you will work on is open source at

The DIRAC Institute is a community within UW's Department of Astronomy engaged in the understanding of our universe through the analysis of large and complex data sets. We are an open, ethical, collaborative community. We believe in providing a welcoming and inclusive environment, in the importance of quality of life, in embracing diversity, in making a difference, and in having fun. 

The University of Washington is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. We especially encourage individuals from underrepresented groups in STEM to apply. 

What you can expect 

  • A 40-hour work week with a flexible schedule 
  • 20% of your time to work on your own scientific and/or software pursuits 
  • Relocation expenses 
  • Living in Seattle with flexibility for remote work some of the time 
  • A team culture that encourages vacations 
  • Support for professional development and conference travel 
  • Choice of personal computing hardware 
  • Access to UW and LSST computing clusters 

Please submit a resume and a cover letter describing your interest in the position and relevant experience through the UW HR website (linked below). The position will remain open until filled; for full consideration please apply by December 1, 2019. The start date is flexible, but the position is funded to start immediately. 

Included Benefits: 

As a UW employee, you will enjoy generous benefits and work/life programs.  For detailed information on benefits for this position, see the URL below.

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Selection Deadline: 
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
University of Washington Human Resources
United States of America
Institution/Company Job ID or Reference Code: 
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
John Swinbank
LSST Alert Production software developer position