2022-02-00 | Ref: VN2022/03
Job offer

IRAM is an international research organisation for millimetre and sub-millimetre astronomy supported by the CNRS (France), the Max-Planck Gesellschaft (Germany), and the IGN (Spain). IRAM operates two world-class research facilities, a 30-meter single-dish telescope (Spain) and the mm/submm interferometer NOEMA (France). The scientific capabilities of the 30-meter telescope are continuously enhanced with state-of-the-art technology such as for EMIR, the multi-wavelength heterodyne frontend, and the large field-of-view continuum 1mm/2mm camera NIKA2. The 30-meter telescope is currently undergoing a thorough process of upgrade, including a full upgrade of the servo control system that will have deep implications in the control hardware and software.


The computer group at IRAM/Granada, Spain, is responsible for the support of operations at the 30-meter telescope, including the control of the telescope and instrumentation, and the handling of the astronomical data. New instrumentation with large bandwidths, multi-pixels, and high sampling rates, put a high demand on synchronization, data processing, and data storage. Remote observations, supervision, and transfer of data to remote sites, place additional demands on the network access. The computer group is responsible for the computer facilities at the 30-meter telescope and at the IRAM offices in Granada.


IRAM seeks a Head of the Computer Group at IRAM/Granada. Reporting to the Station Manager, the successful candidate will maintain, further develop and enhance our computer infrastructure including, but not limited to the telescope control system, data acquisition, processing and storage infrastructure. The successful candidate is expected to take over technical and administrative leadership, and develop and maintain efficient contacts with external computer departments and authorities. He/she will be responsible for the integration of existing and new instruments into the computer environment at the 30-meter observatory and the support of new telescope control and observing modes. This requires developing, testing, verifying, and commissioning of new steering, control, and monitoring software, while, at the same time, ensuring the seamless conduction of routine 30-meter observations. In particular, he/she is expected to have a leading role, as project manager and senior developer, in the software upgrades required to interface the existing telescope control system to the new low-level control systems being developed and deployed at the observatory. This will require a close interaction with other teams within IRAM and with the external contractors. The position holder will be also responsible for improvements to our internal science data archive, our real-time data visualisation and the full science data flow. Budgeting, performance reviews and vendor negotiations are also part of the role.


Scientific data processing at the IRAM 30-meter telescope typically involves, at the highest level, the use of the Python programming language and its scientific software stack (including numpy and other science packages) in a Linux environment. Consequently sound and proven experience in scientific Python programming is essential. Astronomical knowledge is a clear asset, as programming experience in C/C++ and/or Fortran. Working knowledge of a UNIX environment (Linux, FreeBSD, macOS) is a definite advantage.


On-call service during the day, approximately one weekend a month is required. Trips to the observatory at 3000 meters on a as-needed basis are also required.


Required Qualifications:

  • University degree in computer science or physics
  • Excellent communications skills, as this is of special importance in the multicultural working environment of IRAM.
  • Good English skills, both written and oral. Interviews will be held in English.
  • Team leadership experience: 3+ years
  • Python programming: 7+ years, preferably 10+
  • Ability to work at 3000 meters, as the work might require to stay at the observatory 1-2 weeks every month, especially during the on-site implementation phase of the telescope upgrade project.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Ability to speak and understand Spanish
  • Knowledge of astronomy and astronomical observatories, and experience developing application in this environment.
  • Experience with UNIX-like operating systems (e.g. Linux). Shell scripting
  • Knowledge of C/C++ and/or Fortran

The position is one year, converting into a permanent position. IRAM offers an inspiring working environment, a competitive salary and social benefits package.


Candidates should send, quoting reference VN2022/03, a detailed curriculum vitae and cover letter explaining their interest together with the names of at least two professional references, in a single PDF file, by email to the IRAM personnel department (Antonio Córdoba, cordoba@iram.es). Inquiries should be addressed to the 30-meter Station Manager (Miguel Sánchez Portal, msanchez@iram.es).