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Head, Computational Sciences Department (CSD)

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ
Closing date
Apr 8, 2024

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Organization Type
The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has an exciting opportunity for a proactive and visionary leader to serve as the Head of the Computational Sciences Department (CSD). This position comes with the expectation to guide, grow, and advance research initiatives and DOE Core Capabilities associated with the PPPL CSD developed during the past three years. The successful applicant for this position will support the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science (SC) mission of the Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) program "to discover, develop, and deploy computational and networking capabilities to analyze, model, simulate, and predict complex phenomena" with emphasis on supporting the Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) mission "to expand the fundamental understanding of matter at very high temperatures and densities and to build the scientific foundation needed to develop a fusion energy source ... and creating theoretical and computational models to resolve essential physics principles."

PPPL is a U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory managed by Princeton University and is a longstanding leader in the science and innovation behind the development of fusion energy - a clean, safe, and virtually limitless energy source. With an eye toward the future and in response to national priorities, PPPL has also begun a strategic shift from a singular focus on fusion energy and plasma physics to a multi-focus approach that includes quantum information science, microelectronics, and sustainability science which will also benefit from growing PPPL computational science capabilities. PPPL aims to attract and support people with a rich variety of backgrounds, interests, experiences, and cultural viewpoints. We are committed to equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility and believe that each member of our team contributes to our scientific mission in their own unique way. Come join us!
Core Duties:
  • Lead in strategic plan development, roadmapping, and execution of activities to foster PPPL computational science excellence in key areas including (for example): AI/ML, exascale and other leadership-class computing, scientific data visualization, and software engineering best practices.
  • Work with the Laboratory Director, Deputy Director for Research, and the PPPL Executive Management Team (EMT) to identify and implement strategic research opportunities, including LDRD (Laboratory-Directed Research and Development) priorities for computational science.
  • Promote the advancement of DOE Core Capabilities related to computational science and contribute to the definition and execution of the Annual Laboratory Plan, Campus Plan, and Research Agenda.
  • Provide leadership in the integration of computing and computational sciences capabilities across PPPL research departments including Tokamak Experimental Science (TES), Advanced Projects (AP), Theory, Discovery Plasma Science (DPS), Applied Materials and Sustainability Sciences (AMSS), and Engineering Research.
  • As applicable, lead the definition and successful completion of DOE Notable Outcomes.
  • Represent PPPL computational science activities to stakeholders, e.g. Princeton University, Fusion Energy Sciences (FES), Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR), and associated committees, task forces, and working groups.
  • Effectively coordinate proposals to the DOE Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR).
  • Effectively manage projects supported by ASCR for PPPL by ensuring high impact publications and presentations and successful operations and reviews.
  • Sustain and enhance partnerships with Princeton University intellectually, academically, and in computing operations including programming, system administration, training, and the development and utilization of Research Software Engineers (RSEs).
  • Provide the PPPL/Princeton research community and other collaborating research institutions with:
    • High-performance computing (HPC) resources and expertise needed for the development and execution of leading numerical simulations with emphasis on user productivity.
    • Data storage and data management consistent with the performance and capacity requirements of the above HPC resources.
    • High-speed network and data communication capabilities consistent with the above HPC and data storage and management resources.
  • Enable and accelerate the transition of PPPL/Princeton codes to utilize leading-edge computational resources and architectures including Exascale computing.
  • Aid in the establishment of PPPL as a leader in whole-device/whole-system modeling (WDM) in strategic research areas including (for example) burning plasmas, next-step facility design, extreme astrophysics, and low-temperature-plasma applications.
  • Aid the development, training, and growth of the user base for PPPL flagship computational tools.
  • Identify and implement adoption of modern software engineering and software project management practices for PPPL codes.
  • Identify, develop, and support public-private partnerships utilizing and/or advancing PPPL computational science capabilities.
  • Effectively manage CSD staff, hiring, promotions, funding, and discretionary investments.
  • Maintain compliance with PPPL policies and procedures and be responsible for the Environment, Safety, and Health (ES&H) of the CSD staff and infrastructure.
  • Foster CSD staff development through mentoring, training, growth opportunities, and succession planning.
  • Promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility for CSD and the wider PPPL staff.
  • Carry out research aligned with long-term computational strategic goals of PPPL (as time permits).
Education and Experience

Professional Experience:
  • Ph.D. in a related technical field and 10+ years of professional experience.
  • 3-10 years of demonstrated management experience, including developing and leading computational research groups, projects, and/or teams.
  • Demonstrated experience successfully developing, implementing, and executing scientific strategy with engagement from critical stakeholders.
  • Recognized stature in research in a Computation Science discipline.
  • Experience communicating with key stakeholders, program managers/sponsors, and internal staff.

Preferred Requirements:
  • Experience with the DOE Office of Science is preferred, especially Advanced Scientific Computing Research, Fusion Energy Sciences, and/or Basic Energy Sciences.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Valuable knowledge, skills, and abilities for this position include:
  • Knowledge of numerical optimization methods for high-performance architectures.
  • Knowledge of the outcomes and capabilities of the Exascale Computing Project (ECP) within the Office of Science including ECP applications, algorithms, and environments (for example the Kokkos ecosystem).
  • Ability to lead a team in the development of multi-physics and multi-scale models with a range of fidelities and with uncertainty quantification.
  • Ability to lead a team in the creation of tools to manipulate, analyze, and visualize massive data sets for research affiliated with PPPL, Princeton University, and collaborating institutions.

Physical Requirements:
  • Occasional travel to computational science conferences and events, advisory boards, and stakeholder meetings.

Working Conditions:
  • On-site or hybrid work presence is strongly preferred, remote work can be negotiated.

Princeton University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

Please be aware that the Department of Energy (DOE) prohibits DOE employees and contractors from participation in certain foreign government talent recruitment programs. All PPPL employees are required to disclose any participation in a foreign government talent recruitment program and may be required to withdraw from such programs to remain employed under the DOE Contract.
Standard Weekly Hours40.00Eligible for OvertimeNoBenefits EligibleYesProbationary Period180 daysEssential Services Personnel (see policy for detail)NoPhysical Capacity Exam RequiredNoValid Driver's License RequiredNo #LI-YM1

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