HR: Employment Opportunities
 Job posting 20-52
Opening date: July 30, 2020
Closing date: November 30, 2020

TITLE Electronics Engineer, IS-0855, Grade 14, $120,043.00 to 156,053.00 annually
TYPE OF POSITION: Trust Fund (non-Federal) Indefinite
DIVISION: - CE Central Engineering Department
LOCATION: Cambridge, MA

AREA OF CONSIDERATION: This position is open to all qualified US Citizens or US permanent Resident.

Note:First selection may be made 14 days after the position is announced.


Provide expert electronics engineering, with digital signal processing specialization, to work with senior Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) instrument scientists. The incumbent will implement advanced analog-to-digital conversion technologies matched to ultra-high performance recording and computing platforms based on Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), Graphics Processor Unit (GPU), and Central Processor Unit (CPU) technologies.


1. Contribute to the planning and implementation of an upgrade path to significantly increase the EHT's observing sensitivity through improvements in sampled bandwidth, signal processing and recording throughput.

2. Help define the optimum architecture and technologies connecting ultra-fast (~20 gigasample-per-second) analog-to-digital converter (ADC) integrated circuit chips with correspondingly fast state-of-the-art digital signal processing (DSP) components such as FPGA's and GPU's.

3. Work with the development team to make key contributions to the detailed design, construction, testing and commissioning of a next general digital signal processing EHT platform, or building block, defined by the fully characterized ADC-DSP interfaced hardware.

4. Take a lead role in the development of Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) configuration codes ("gateware"), using hardware description languages such as VHDL or Verilog, and MATLAB-Simulink. This includes writing high-level layers of control software in object-oriented languages such as Python and C++. Also, develop digital signal processing codes for GPU processors in languages such as CUDA and OpenCL.

5. Use the next generation ADC-DSP platform to develop the next generation EHT Digital Back End (DBE) and phased array platforms. The phased arrays are potentially to be deployed at the Submillimeter Array (SMA) in Hawaii in the first instance, and later possibly at the Atacama Large mm/Submm Array (ALMA) in Chile.

6. Participate in preparation of results of technical developments for publication in professional journals and for presentation at engineering or scientific conferences and technical symposia. Contribute to review meetings covering technical and scientific research and development.

7. Assist with the requirements definition of the overall ngEHT from a system engineering perspective, including traceability, testability, and documentation.

8. Perform other assignments as required.


Candidates must possess one year of specialized experience at least equivalent to the grade 13 level. Specialized experience such as analog and digital circuit design techniques, including low noise / low power analog, and digital to analog / analog to digital converter design with follow-up FPGA-based digital signal processing. Experience deriving specifications for complex, electronics boards and subsystems by flow-down analysis from higher-level instrument requirements. Experience with reliability design and system integration and test.

PART-TIME OR UNPAID EXPERIENCE: Credit will be given for appropriate unpaid work on the same basis as for paid experience. Part-time experience will be credited on the basis of time actually spent in appropriate activities. To receive credit for such experience you must indicate clearly the nature of the duties and responsibilities in each position held and the average number of hours per week spent in such employment.


BASIC REQUIREMENTS: Degree: professional engineering. To be acceptable, the curriculum must:

(1) be in a school of engineering with at least one curriculum accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) as a professional engineering curriculum; or

2) include differential and integral calculus and courses (more advanced than first-year physics and chemistry) in five of the following seven areas of engineering science or physics: (a) statics, dynamics; (b) strength of materials (stress-strain relationships); (c) fluid mechanics, hydraulics; (d) thermodynamics; (e) electrical fields and circuits; (f) nature and properties of materials (relating particle and aggregate structure to properties); and (g) any other comparable area of fundamental engineering science or physics, such as optics, heat transfer, soil mechanics, or electronics.


a combination of education and experience--college-level education, training, and/or technical experience that furnished (1) a thorough knowledge of the physical and mathematical sciences underlying professional engineering, and (2) a good understanding, both theoretical and practical, of the engineering sciences and techniques and their applications to one of the branches of engineering. OR

Bachelor's degree in computer science or bachelor's degree with 30 semester hours in a combination of mathematics, statistics, and computer science. At least 15 of the 30 semester hours must have included any combination of statistics and mathematics that included differential and integral calculus. All academic degrees and course work must be from accredited or pre-accredited institutions. APPLICANT MUST LIST ALL COLLEGE COURSES.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: We are only accepting online applications for this position. To apply, please visit: USAJOBS

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace.

Visit our SAO website.


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