Software Engineer II-IV (4757)

Computers/Software Socorro, New Mexico Charlottesville, Virginia Albuquerque, New Mexico


Position Description:


Position Summary

Join the development team that creates and maintains the algorithms and software used to analyze data from the world’s most powerful radio telescopes!


The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is recruiting a software engineer to join the Common Radio Astronomy Software (CASA) team for high performance computing software development. The successful candidate will work as part of a diverse team of software engineers and scientists to evolve our data reduction and analysis software towards supporting the algorithmic and computing needs of the Next Generation VLA (ngVLA) radio telescope and the upgraded ALMA telescope.  Direct experience in one or more of the following areas is highly desired: Hardware acceleration and GPU programming, compiler and build systems for Linux and MacOS, high-performance frameworks for data visualization and analysis.


CASA is currently a collection of Python and C++ routines that process radio telescope data and produce images used by Astronomers around the world. Our software primarily supports two of the world’s most productive ground-based radio telescopes, the VLA and ALMA, and is also used within science pipelines of other international telescopes. Over the next decade, our algorithms and software infrastructure must evolve to enable several orders of magnitude greater performance scaling to support the upcoming ngVLA telescope and ALMA’s wideband sensitivity upgrade. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to participate in and guide the early stages of the software infrastructure design and development towards these goals.


Our CASA software engineering staff are responsible for all aspects of the software development lifecycle from requirements derivation through design, development, and integration into telescope operations. They interact closely with a diverse team of people distributed worldwide. Eligible candidates must be capable of formulating complex, technical solutions suitable for operational deployment from broad scientific objectives in a research environment. They must possess both software engineering domain knowledge as well as the educational background and ability to understand the basic scientific concepts of radio interferometry.


The preferred location for the position will be based at one of the NRAO Sites – Charlottesville, VA; Socorro or Albuquerque, NM. Telework and remote work options may also be considered.


In addition to competitive pay, NRAO provides excellent paid time off benefits (vacation and sick leave). Medical, dental and vision plans are effective on the first day of employment. NRAO’s retirement benefit contributes an amount equal to 10 percent of a qualified participant’s base pay. No contribution is required of the employee; we also offer an optional supplemental, tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions.



Job Duties Summary

Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:


  • Design, develop, integrate and maintain data reduction capabilities in the CASA codebase, in support of current operations as well as next generation telescopes. 
  • Adapt and evolve traditional CASA implementations to the more modern data-processing frameworks envisaged and under development for future instruments.
  • Build and maintain data processing and analysis software infrastructure necessary for scalable and high performance operations within both the Linux and MacOS operating systems.
  • Develop new radio interferometry algorithm implementations especially for compute hotspots that could benefit from hardware acceleration.
  • Maintain existing algorithm implementations in support of ongoing telescope operations and research endeavors
  • Operate in a team environment, including with the broader NRAO scientific staff and world-wide CASA stakeholder community
  • Take ownership of a subset of functionality within CASA and provide technical direction, decision making, and subject matter expertise in that area, with limited guidance or specific direction.


Work Environment

Work is typically performed in an office setting within a research or development environment. Domestic and international travel will be required.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

A Bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field. Equivalent work experience may also be considered.


Preferred Education

Advanced degree and background that includes Scientific or High Performance Computing, Physics or Mathematics is highly desired.


Minimum Experience

At least one year of direct or related experience in software development commensurate with stated qualifications. Candidates with progressively more responsible experience will be considered for a higher-level position ranking.


Competency Summary

  • Specific experience in one or more of the following areas is highly desired
    • GPU programming and hardware acceleration for scientific applications.
    • Compiler/build systems for Linux and MacOS
    • Frameworks and techniques for large-scale data visualization.
  • Experience with large development projects in C++ and Python and associated software life cycles.
  • Experience with the use of modern high performance computing platforms and frameworks such as Dask, Xarray, Numba/Numpy, CuPy or C++ for GPU acceleration, Docker/Kubernetes, Jupyter, Bokeh, etc.
  • Familiarity with High Performance Computing and Big Data concepts including distributed data storage, parallel I/O, parallel processing, and memory caching.
  • Familiarity with scientific software development, numerical processing techniques, linear algebra, digital signal processing concepts, and mathematical packages such as Python/numpy
  • Ability to learn new scientific concepts and apply learning to engineering implementation, specifically in radio astronomy and interferometry



Additional Requirements

The Observatory requires staff to be fully vaccinated against covid-19 to access our facilities.  An offer of employment will be considered contingent until the selected applicant provides proof of vaccination.  A selected applicant may request consideration for an accommodation for a disability or for a sincerely held religious belief.



Application Instructions:


Click the “Apply” button below.  You will need to be prepared to upload your current CV/Resume and a letter of application describing interest and suitability for the position.


Equal Opportunity Employer Statement:


AUI is an equal opportunity employer.  Women, Minorities, Vietnam-Era Veterans, Disabled Veterans, Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities are encouraged to apply.  To view our complete statement, please visit  If you require reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or hiring process due to a disability, you may submit your request by sending an email to [email protected].




The NRAO is an equal opportunity employer (M/F/D/V)



The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.