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 help in the development of the second edition of astroML (http://astroml.org) a popular Python-based machine learning package for astrophysics. New components we are incorporating within astroML 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 develop new approaches for analyzing astronomical time series data 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 an interest in time domain science and experience or interest in the use of databases and large scale compute platforms such as Spark, Dask, or similar. Good Python skills, and experience with machine learning libraries, image processing of astronomical images, or astronomical databases are 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, the Variable and Transient universe, andAstronomical Software.
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 topics in extragalactic science, as well as the understanding the structure, formation, and evolution of the Milky Way using large surveys (SDSS, WISE, PanSTARRS PS1, and others).
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.
Applicants should submit a curriculum vitae, description of research interests (with links to Github if relevant) and arrange for three letters of reference to be submitted to Nikolina Horvat at email@example.com with subject line “DIRAC postdoc application (your name)”. Applications will be accepted until the positions are filled, to assure full consideration, please send your application by Dec 31st 2017
For detailed information about the benefits available through the University of Washington, including dental, medical and disability insurance, retirement, and childcare centers, see the University of Washington benefits page: https://www.washington.edu/admin/hr/benefits/.
The DIRAC Institute is a community of people with diverse interests and areas of expertise, engaged in the understanding of our universe through the analysis of large and complex data sets. We are an open, ethical, highly engaged and collaborative community based on trust, transparency and mutual respect. We believe in providing a welcoming and inclusive environment, in the importance of quality of life, in embracing diversity, in making a difference and having fun.
I am a Computer Science Engineering student who is very much passionate about building web apps and creating products for people and communities.
I have previously worked/interned at multiple VC funded tech startups and this summer I started working remotely with the Data Engineering team from UW DiRAC institute under Google Summer of Code 2020!
My project revolved around building a Jupyter Notebook/Lab Extension. The extension can be used by the astronomy community to create and configure apache pyspark clusters just on the click of a few buttons. It can be done from within the Jupyter Environment without the need to write multiple lines of cumbersome codes.
Fig 1: The “SparkManager” Extension.
Fig 2: The options to configure an apache pyspark cluster using SparkManager
Fig 3: “spark” variable is injected into the jupyter notebook using SparkManager
UW DiRAC Data Engineering Team
The best part of my summer project was definitely getting to meet the entire team of UW DiRAC and getting to know about the astronomy projects that DiRAC is working on, like the LSST!
I feel lucky to have worked with a very experienced, passionate and welcoming team of engineers and astronomers.
Also it is so fascinating when I realize that we were thousands of miles apart and yet we were working in a very collaborative manner.
It was a great learning experience for me as I learnt a lot about the Jupyter Ecosystem and remote collaborative work.
External Links for further reading
DiRAC is pleased to introduce the new Associate Director of our Institute, Professor James (Jim) Davenport. Davenport received his PhD from the University of Washington in 2015, working on exploring magnetic activity from low-mass stars using NASA’s Kepler mission. He was then awarded a NSF postdoctoral fellowship at Western Washington University, and returned to UW in the inaugural class of DiRAC postdoctoral fellows in 2017.
Prof. Davenport’s research focuses on stars within our own Milky Way, using “time domain” astronomy techniques with large surveys such as NASA’s Kepler and TESS missions, and the ZTF survey. He is best known for exploring the evolution of “magnetic activity” as stars age, particularly in studying the declining rate of powerful stellar flares over time.
In his most recent paper, Prof. Davenport and collaborators from UW used new data from the TESS mission to revisit one of the most prominent flare stars from the original Kepler mission, a small red dwarf named GJ 1243. These datasets give two precise point-in-time estimates of the flare rate for GJ 1243, over a span of 10 years, and found that unlike our Sun, GJ 1243 does not appear to show any variation in its flaring behavior. This has opened new lines of exploration for Prof. Davenport and his group, searching for changes in stellar flare rates over decades of observations.
Davenport currently leads a group of graduate and undergraduate researchers in a range of data-intensive studies of the active lives of nearby stars, including projects on eclipsing binary stars, variability from massive stars, detecting rotating stars, and studying stellar flares. He is currently working on a review of variable star astronomy for the public with TESS. Davenport is also interested in developing methods to search for signs of life in the universe – particularly for intelligent life – using tools developed for “traditional” data intensive astronomy.
For the coming year he will be leading the DiRAC Time Domain research group in their collaborative search for mysterious “dipper” stars from the ZTF survey.
After three years of careful and thoughtful guidance by the outgoing Associate Director, Dr. Daniela Huppenkothen, DiRAC has developed a wonderfully collaborative and productive atmosphere for researchers studying a wide range of topics. Prof. Davenport is excited to take on the role of Associate Director for DiRAC. He hopes to build on this foundation, encouraging new and novel collaboration from researchers and students, and most importantly to foster an inclusive institute that places the value of people above all else.
Prof. Davenport lives north of Seattle with his family, and in the mornings can often be found drinking coffee and writing at Cafe Solstice on the Ave. He also produces a YouTube series called “Astro Vlog” that showcases the work and life of an astronomer, and can be found on Twitter @jradavenport.
Last year, Asteroid Day celebrated their Fifth anniversary, with events in 192 countries. In the next few days, Asteroid Day TV is broadcasting asteroid related programming from Discovery Science, TED, IMAX, BBC, CNN, The European Space Agency (ESA), the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and other top content producers.
DiRAC & Vera C. Rubin Observatory LSST videos are broadcasted under the names:
LSST | Making Census of the Solar System,
LSST | New Era of Cosmic Discovery
Join us for an evening with an astronomer and participate in talks and live conversations about topics that vary from searching for the most mysterious stars in our Galaxy to the Starlink satellites changing our view to the night sky!
UW astronomers will talk about their work and latest discoveries. Astronomy at Home talks are for everyone: astronomy enthusiasts, students, and all who are curious and interested in astronomy and data science in astronomy. The talks will be 20 minutes in length with plenty of time for Q&A. All talks are streamed on YouTube and you can join for live discussion via Zoom.
Tune in on October 8th at 7:00pm!
Streaming from DiRAC YouTube channel https://dirac.us/yt
Join us via Zoom
The dazzling starlight that we enjoy on a dark night originates from only the very outer surfaces of stars. Locked beneath these layers, in the deep stellar interiors, are much more extreme physical environments. In this talk, I will describe how, for some especially revealing stars, we are able to sound these distant interiors by measuring how they experience vibrations. With the tools of “asteroseismology,” we can turn seemingly ordinary stars into remote cosmic laboratories for studying extreme physics that are beyond the grasp of human-made laboratories here on Earth.
Keaton Bell grew up in Kent and is now an NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Washington. He studies all the ways that white dwarf stars change in brightness and is working to discover the first planet that orbits one.
Stephen Portillo | Computer, Enhance! | Sep 10, 2020
Emily Levesque | The Last Stargazers | Aug 6, 2020
Meredith Rawls | It’s a Star, it’s a Galaxy, it’s… Starlink? | July 23, 2020
Željko Ivezić | The Greatest Movie of All Time | June 9, 2020
James Davenport | Searching for the Most Mysterious Stars in Our Galaxy | May 28, 2020