Computer Scientist / Software Developer for multi-messenger astronomy

Posted by European Gravitational Observatory on Wed, 19 Aug 2020
Contract type: permanent. Location: Cascina (Pisa), Tuscany, Italy

Job Description

EGO is looking to recruit a talented and innovative developer to work within its IT Department and in close relationship with the Director’s European Programmes office.


The successful candidate will be a key contributor to the ESCAPE (European Science Cluster of Astronomy & Particle physics ESFRI research infrastructures) ( project. ESCAPE is an EU-funded project in the context of the Horizon 2020 Work Program. The chief objective of ESCAPE is to establish a single collaborative cluster of next generation ESFRI facilities in the area of astronomy- and accelerator-based particle physics, in order to implement a functional link between the concerned ESFRI projects and the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC).

In parallel, the successful candidate will also work within the AHEAD2020 project (, which aims to integrate the high-energy astrophysics community, including gravitational waves (GW), into a coherently acting multi-messenger consortium. On the GW side, the main enabler for having the GW observatories participating in Multi-Messenger Astronomy (MMA) is the low-latency detection of GW signals and the prompt distribution of alerts. MMA is inherently a distributed task requiring low-latency computation and communication and quality of data from the gravitational-wave detectors; along with the exchange of candidate-event descriptions and validation.

The successful candidate will also work on customised processing and workflows, interfacing with the underlying distributed, large-scale computing infrastructure tuned to the needs of the Gravitational Waves observatory Network (IGWN) (EGO/Virgo, LIGO, KAGRA, etc).

In particular, the successful candidate will contribute:

  • as part of the ESCAPE project focus will be on software deployment and virtualization, a key component will be the availability of readily accessible versions of the codes, tools, scripts, and packages developed by the IGWN community. It will include work on the standardization of build/packaging procedures and containerization of software.
  • as part of AHEAD2020, focus will be on improving the existing infrastructure and reducing the latency of trigger production by:
    • improving and accelerating (via code refactoring, compiler optimization and hardware acceleration techniques) the software applications used to characterize and reduce the noise
    • improving speed, scalability and reliability of the low latency data distribution software using well established, robust and industry proven protocols, such as APACHE Kafka


  • Software-development expertise, with a minimum 3-year academic title (bachelor’s degree)
  • Strong expertise in Python development
  • Knowledge of Containerization technologies (such as Docker and Singularity)

Experience with some of those technologies will be highly beneficial:

  • The CMake and/or Meson build tools
  • The Conda package and environment manager
  • The GitLab collaborative toolchain, including Continuous Integration (CI)
  • Experience with platforms for real-time data streaming
  • Distributed platform enabling high-availability deployments of services via orchestration technologies (such as Kubernets)
  • Expertise on Python performance monitoring and optimization is a plus.

Good knowledge of the English language; basic knowledge of Italian and/or French.

Personal skills:

  • Ability to work in a team within an international and multidisciplinary environment.

General requirements:

  • No criminal convictions
  • Driving license

Place of work: EGO – European Gravitational Observatory – via E. Amaldi 56021 Loc. S.Stefano a Macerata – Cascina (Pisa) ITALY.

Type of contract: One-year (renewable for one year) contract as “Tecnologo” (Technologist), according to the “Contratto Collettivo di Lavoro del Personale EGO” (EGO personnel collective bargaining agreement). Upon satisfactory working performances, at the end of the 2-year period, the possibility of a permanent contact will be considered.

Selection procedure: The selection will be made considering candidate qualifications and experience. The first phase of the selection will be based on the examination of the CVs and Application Forms. The best candidates will be admitted to the final phase, which will consist of an interview.

How to apply? Candidates can send their CV and the EGO Application Form (, to quoting the reference number of this vacancy notice.

Closing date for applications September 15th, 2020

Start of contract The earliest possible after October, 1st 2020