Software engineer for the development of the planning tool for the PLATO mission ground-based follow-up program


This contract is funded by the European Union – NextGenerationEU (MICINN/PRTR funds) and by Generalitat de Catalunya.

Opening Date: 29/03/2023
Closing Date: Position open until filled


Job Description

The number of exoplanet discoveries has increased exponentially in the last three decades. However, the confirmation of a true Sun-Earth twin system is still elusive because the signals imprinted by rocky planets on their host stars are small. But the scientific community is investing effort to find such planets. PLATO, an ESA space mission that will be launched in 2026, will pursue the goal of finding such Earth-like planets by means of the transit method, i.e. looking for the dip in the brightness of a star when an exoplanet passes in front of it. To confirm the planetary nature of the transits and measure the mass of the exoplanet, ground-based follow-up observations are necessary. Automatic planning tools will help to organize and optimize observational campaigns conducted at astronomical observatories on Earth to confirm PLATO candidates.

The PLATO Ground Observations Program (GOP) is currently in the subsystems design phase, with the design review expected in about 2 years. At ICE, we are working on the design of the PLATO GOP planning tool using the scheduling framework developed in house for other projects. The person contracted will join this project. The activities will be:

- Revision of the requirements and design of the PLATO planning tool.
- Manage the development of the PLATO planning tool software.
- Development of the planning tool software, optimization algorithms, testing and implementation of the interfaces with other subsystems.
- Support for the simulation of PLATO GOP observations using the planning tool to test the tool and evaluate optimization techniques.
- Preparation of the documentation of the different phases of the software development.
- Other tasks within the context of this project needed to fulfill these goals.

The contracted person should be experienced in software engineering, and:

- Be in possession of an informatics engineering, physics or mathematics degree.
- Have knowledge of C++ and object oriented design language.
- Have knowledge on continuous development and version control.
- The candidate must be registered in the CSIC Bolsa de Trabajo (fuera de convenio)

Knowledge on scheduling algorithms, Artificial Intelligence optimization techniques and astronomy are also valuable merits.

Starting date: 1 May 2023, approx.
Duration: ~20 months temporary contract ("contrato por obra y servicio").
Salary: according to CSIC "Titulado superior".

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