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CNRS Research Engineer

Expiration Date: May 31, 2013

Requirements analysis, Software design and development. (3 year contract)

The successful candidate will become a member of a team of three engineers working on the AMI project, which is part of the CERN LHC ATLAS experiment off-line software.

AMI, the ATLAS Metadata Interface, is a database application framework used in particular in ATLAS for dataset search using physics metadata parameters (see below for more details). AMI is used by almost 2000 physicists, members of the ATLAS collaboration.

The engineer recruited will participate in the management of the project, in close contact with the coordination of the ATLAS collaboration. Indeed he or she should become the interface of the project with the collaboration. This involves following the evolution of ATLAS offline software, guiding the adaptation of AMI within the overall structure, and integrating new sources of physics parameters required for dataset search.

Frequent travel to the CERN and fluent English are required for this post. As AMI servers are located at the CCin2p3 (near Lyon), the post also requires close relations and discussions with the database (Oracle) group as well as the LCG-France project which is responsible for the hardware and licenses provisions.


  • Contribute to the management of the AMI project by requirements gathering, software architecture, development, deployment, maintenance and user support.
  • Analyze the needs of the collaboration, and establish the requirements for AMI.
  • Design the solution.
  • Participate in its implementation, testing and deployment.
  • Contribute actively to the improvement of software quality within the group.
  • Propose technology innovations for the project.
  • Participate in defining the hardware and software environments of the project.
  • Take a leading role in the production of the project’s documentation, from the specifications to the user guides.
  • Become the main actor in user support for the ATLAS dataset search, by for example, running tutorials, and keeping the web pages up to date.

Experience and competencies

  • Willingness to work in a large international collaboration.
  • Fluent spoken English is required.
  • Experience of work in a research environment, especially high energy physics would be an advantage.
  • Knowledge of OO principles.
  • Experience with the Python and Java languages would be an advantage.
  • Use of relational databases (Oracle).
  • Knowledge of web technologies (AJAX and Java script).
  • Methods of project management and quality assurance (code reviews, unit testing, continuous integration), and practice with corresponding tools would be an advantage.

The context of the post 

For more than 10 years a team of software engineers of the LPSC Grenoble have been responsible for two applications which are essential to the software infrastructure of the ATLAS experiment at CERN.

The first of these applications is the AMI dataset search application. This is the main entry point where physicists doing analysis can obtain the datasets which are ready to be used.

The second application is called “Tag Collector”. It is essential for the management of ATLAS software since it catalogues the versions of different software packages, and imposes rules established by the release coordinator. Both of these applications are built above the AMI framework; a system for managing catalogues.

The AMI dataset search is based on a catalogue of the official datasets of ATLAS, which are either real data, recorded by the detector, or simulated data. AMI is a mediating application which collects data from several sources, and which keeps a set of physics metadata parameters, some of them derived, which can be used for dataset selection.

Hence AMI is strongly coupled to several other systems which manage metadata, such as the conditions catalogs which describe the periods of data acquisition (“RUNS”) or the production system which produces simulated data on the Data Grid.

AMI is also the repository for smaller ATLAS catalogues such as the nomenclature reference tables. In consequence the AMI team must maintain close relations not only with the developers of other applications of metadata, but also with the physics and data preparation groups.

At the current time more than 1960 members of ATLAS are active users of these applications.

Place of work

LPSC, 53 rue des Martyrs, 38026 Grenoble, France

Qualification and professional experience required

  • Ph. D. or equivalent.
  • This post is open to non-French nationals.
  • Fixed term contract of 3 years, from September 2013.
  • Salary 2296€ to 2833€ gross according to experience.

It is particularly suitable for a person with some experience of research in high energy physics who wishes to become oriented towards computer science.


Send a CV and accompanying letter to [email protected]