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Job Details

Requisition Number 17-0020
Post Date 1/24/2017
Title Cloud Infrastructure Engineer
City Tucson
State AZ

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) operates several observatory centers (including the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the National Solar Observatory, Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) and the Gemini Observatory) in the United States and Chile under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation.

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Project Office seeks an individual with demonstrated experience in designing and managing cloud infrastructure for the position of LSST Cloud Infrastructure Engineer.

LSST is a large aperture, wide-field, ground-based facility designed to survey the entire southern sky down to faint magnitudes in six optical colors every few nights. As such it will enable a broad array of diverse scientific investigations ranging from studies of moving objects in the solar system to constraining the structure and evolution of the universe as a whole. Through an ambitious Education and Public Outreach (EPO) program, non-specialists will access LSST data products to actively engage in science discovery and the research process, gaining awareness, skills, and knowledge.

Formal construction of this world-leading survey facility began in August of 2014 as a joint project of the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy, resulting in the anticipated onset of science operations in late 2022. During the ongoing construction phase, funding has been allocated for the design, development, and evaluation of LSST EPO infrastructure, tools, and educational materials to be delivered with the LSST Observatory in preparation for full EPO operations in 2022.

One core component of LSST EPO's community mission will be the delivery and support of a cloud-based, petabyte-scale data center to store a subset of LSST astronomical data for use by educators, citizen scientists, and the general public. This data subset will include nightly text-based alert messages and binary images as well as annual image sets and database tabular data. The successful candidate will manage the import of this data subset, data transformation, storage, and use by various EPO products and programs.

The LSST Cloud Infrastructure Engineer reports to the LSST EPO Project Manager and works closely with the EPO, Data Management, and NCSA teams. This full-time position is based in Tucson, Arizona.

Essential Functions:

  • Architect, build, and manage cloud resources, including: a publish/subscribe service for millions of astronomical events weekly, compute nodes for processing terabytes of image data nightly, petabyte-scale storage, web servers, load balancers, Content Delivery Network (CDN), and database for catalog tabular data.
  • Assist in the effort to integrate the EPO data center with other systems.
  • Install and manage software to support the public EPO website and EPO education program.
  • Monitor cloud usage and provide regular cost reports.
  • Manage cloud user accounts and access rights, including periodic security audits.
  • Create clear and up-to-date documentation, including architecture diagrams and related visuals as needed.
  • Strong system architecture and administration experience (preferably Linux), including architecting and managing cloud resources from one or more major cloud service providers. Minimum 5 years experience preferred.
  • Demonstrable experience working with distributed storage and tools for processing, querying, and analyzing very large data sets. Minimum 2 years experience preferred.
  • Expert at Big Data scalability, including: automatic resource de/initialization, dynamic load balancing, service discovery, distributed/high availability, data stream processors, and web-based/REST APIs designed to handle intense data flow.
  • Comfortable developing scripts (preferably bash or python) to automate or integrate.
  • Willingness to travel occasionally and talk to technical and non-technical groups.
  • Comfortable interacting with individuals remotely using a variety of technologies, including: email, phone calls, instant messaging, teleconferencing.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Familiarity with version control (preferably git) and online code management systems (preferably GitHub).
  • Familiarity with Docker, or similar containerization products.
  • Familiarity with Continuous Integration concepts.
  • Familiarity with serverless architectures.
  • Interest in astronomy, citizen science, and/or education.

Preference is granted to applications received by March 12th.

Please list 3 professional references in your application. Please attach a statement of professional interests or cover letter and CV or resume (PDF Files preferred) to your application. Please name any attachments with the following format: 17-0020LastnameDocname. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to

AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, is committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Learn more at

As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA does not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws. The statements below as well as the requests for self-identification are required pursuant to these regulations. We encourage your participation in meeting these federal reporting requirements which are included for protection and to assist us in our recordkeeping and reporting. Your responses are kept strictly confidential.

Preference granted to qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O'odham reservation.

  • Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities.
  • Please view Equal Employment Opportunity Posters provided by OFCCP here.
  • The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor's legal duty to furnish information.
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