Senior Research Data Scientist
New ideas are all around us, but only a few will change the world. That’s our focus at JPL. We ask the biggest questions, then search the universe for answers—literally. We build upon ideas that have guided generations, then share our discoveries to inspire generations to come. Your mission—your opportunity—is to seek out the answers that bring us one step closer. If you’re driven to discover, create, and inspire something that lasts a lifetime and beyond, you’re ready for JPL.
Located in Pasadena, California, JPL has a campus-like environment situated on 177 acres in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and offers a work environment unlike any other: we inspire passion, foster innovation, build collaboration, and reward excellence.
Research Data Scientist opportunity available to work with JPL's Machine Learning & Instrument Autonomy Group. The team employs rigorous, explainable Machine Learning (ML) methods to support scientific data investigation on the ground, inform spacecraft operations teams in a time-critical setting, infuse new capabilities into JPL’s space missions, and extend the reach of scientists beyond Earth by creating autonomous “smart” instruments that can recognize and prioritize discoveries. We eschew “black box” ML, and often our trained models are created and examined explicitly to shed light on complex data and increase human insight rather than to automate a process. We collaborate with scientists, spacecraft operators, and engineers to identify novel ways that ML and data-driven science can help achieve their goals. Finally, we infuse ML solutions throughout JPL and NASA to bring about a richer, deeper, and more complete understanding of our universe from the Earth to the stars. We measure the success of our applied ML systems in terms of human hours saved, additional discoveries made, or new questions that may be addressed. We also frequently act as ambassadors to science and engineering areas not yet familiar with data-driven approaches by teaching, explaining, and offering assistance to those ready to receive it in the complex and often risk/change-averse arena of space exploration.
Senior Research Data Scientist responsibilities include:
- Conduct R&D of ML and related technologies for application to science and engineering challenges
- Develop and lead algorithm and data processing methods for airborne and satellite remote sensing platforms, planetary surface missions, and novel instrument designs
- Collaborate with domain experts from a variety of natural science and space-related engineering fields
- Publicize practical and theoretical work through peer-reviewed conference, workshop, and journal papers
- Facilitate the infusion of high quality, data-driven technologies throughout JPL and NASA
- Provide strategic guidance on all aspects of data science at the group, section, division, and institutional level
- Drive the infusion of data-driven products into JPL missions, components, instruments, and processes
- Obtain competitive grant proposal funding, form multidisciplinary teams, and serve as Principle Investigator
The Machine Learning & Insturment Autonomy Group is part of the Instrument Software and Science Data Systems Section which provides expertise across the domains of instrument operations and science data systems with a team of multidisciplinary engineers and technologists. Our engineering teams build and operate high performance data processing, management and analysis systems capable of handling petabyte scale datasets in support of science discovery, research, operations and applications.
The Section supports JPL and NASA missions, as well as other science-based projects. Our research and technology development teams create new onboard and ground based technologies for data processing, analysis, modeling, reasoning, visualization, management, access and analytics that are infused into our data systems.
- Typically requires degree in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, or related technical discipline with a minimum of 9 years of experience, or a Master's with 7+ years experience or a Ph.D with 5+ years experience.
- Sustained record of high-quality ML and space data-oriented papers in respected, peer reviewed publications
- Demonstrated Principle Investigator leadership and independent, novel research capabilities
- Demonstrated success competitive proposal calls in space-related areas
- Active reviewer for major data science / remote sensing journals and conferences
- Broad knowledge of traditional and deep ML for time series, image, and spectral analysis
- Demonstrated examples of software that are written to be maintainable, reusable, and follows best practices
- Excellence in extracting meaningful science-relevant conclusions, identifying driving features, and performing relevant tradeoff analyses that inform data exploration, build intuition, and address specific mission needs
- Deep expertise in and dedication to rigorous validation and explainability for all analyses
- Strong written and oral communication skills including data visualization, presentation, and explanation of results
- Team-building mentality, can-do attitude, and relentless commitment to project success
- Significant programming experience with Python including NumPy / scikit-learn with high productivity
- Experience with software engineering best practices including unit and regression testing
- Optimizing and delivering algorithms to onboard, large-scale computing, or real-time critical systems
- Working knowledge of Earth Science / Atmospheric Science / Planetary Science / Physics / Astronomy / Geology
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JPL is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to sex, race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, pregnancy or perceived pregnancy, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, protected military or veteran status or any other characteristic or condition protected by Federal, state or local law.
In addition, JPL is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federal facility. Due to rules imposed by NASA, JPL will not accept applications from citizens of designated countries or those born in a designated country unless they are Legal Permanent Residents of the U.S or have other protected status under 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). The Designated Countries List is available here.