Research Associate in DIRAC Institute University of Washington, Department of Astronomy United States

Astronomy – Research Associate (NN26361)

Position Overview


Organization: College of Arts and Sciences, Astronomy


Title : Research Associate


Search Number : NN26361


Position Details


The DIRAC Institute in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Washington is seeking applicants with a strong research record in the development of statistical techniques or algorithms for analyzing large astrophysical data sets for two postdoctoral positions.


AstroML: The first position is to lead the development of the second edition of astroML ( a popular Python-based machine learning package for astrophysics. New components in astroML will include methodologies from deep learning and hierarchical Bayesian statistics. Special emphasis will be placed on building a broader community and making astroML a sustainable open-source project. The successful candidate will lead these activities, including the application of the new codes to dataset available to UW researchers.


Time Series Data: The second position is to lead the development of new approaches for analyzing astronomical time series using modern computational frameworks. The goal of this framework will be to enable science with the ZTF and LSST data sets. Promising applicants should possess a strong interest in time domain science and experience or interest in large-scale computer platforms such as Spark, Dask, or similar. Strong Python skills and experience with machine learning libraries, image processing of astronomical images, or astronomical databases is desirable.


The DIRAC Institute ( is a newly formed center for data-intensive astrophysics at the University of Washington. The Institute consists of six faculty and senior fellows and over 20 postdoctoral researchers and research scientists. It has active research programs in Cosmology, Solar System science, Milky-Way structure, and the Variable and Transient universe.


The University of Washington is a partner in the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) project, a new time-domain survey which will begin operations in early 2018. The UW is a founding partner of the LSST project and leads the construction of its time domain and solar system processing pipelines. Other research activities at UW/DIRAC include understanding the structure, formation, and evolution of the Milky Way using large surveys (SDSS, WISE, PanSTARRS PS1, and others), Solar system (minor planet) science, as well as development of techniques, algorithms, and software for analysis of large astronomical datasets (“big data” data science).


A Ph.D. degree in astronomy, physics, computer science, or a related subject is required. The initial appointment is for two years, renewable up to three years, and offers competitive salary and benefits. The appointments are available immediately and are expected to start no later than September 2018.


For benefits information, see the University of Washington benefits page:


Application Instructions


Applicants should submit a curriculum vitae, brief description of research interests, samples of code they have written (preferably a link to github or equivalent) and arrange for three letters of reference to be submitted to Nikolina Horvat at with subject line “ DIRAC postdoctoral application (your name)”. Applications will be accepted until the positions are filled, to assure full consideration, please send your application as early as possible.


University of Washington is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.

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