Research Associate in Computational Mathematics

Job summary

The Firedrake team at Imperial is looking for two new research associates to conduct computational mathematics research through contributions to Firedrake and related projects such as FEniCS and PETSc. Firedrake is an automated system for numerically solving PDEs using the finite element method. Scientists and engineers around the world employ Firedrake to create simulations in diverse areas such as oceanography, geodynamics, quantum...

Job listing information

  • Reference NAT01233
  • Date posted 16 August 2022
  • Closing date 9 September 2022

Job description

Job summary

The Firedrake team at Imperial is looking for two new research associates to conduct computational mathematics research through contributions to Firedrake and related projects such as FEniCS and PETSc.

Firedrake is an automated system for numerically solving PDEs using the finite element method. Scientists and engineers around the world employ Firedrake to create simulations in diverse areas such as oceanography, geodynamics, quantum mechanics, and materials science. This is an opportunity to join the core Firedrake development team at Imperial and conduct computational mathematics research with direct routes to impact. The outputs of your research will be both papers in peer-reviewed journals, and high quality code contributed to Firedrake and related projects. This is an opportunity to build a reputation as a leading computational scientist whose work is used by a large community.

The essence of Firedrake is that mathematicians, scientists, and engineers write equations and the simulation is generated automatically. As a member of the core Firedrake team, you will expand the scope of mathematics that can be represented and the effectiveness and performance of the code that is generated. This is an opportunity to develop new software abstractions for mathematics, and to create new numerical algorithms for numerical PDE solving.

The two positions focus on adjacent but distinct aspects of the Firedrake system. The first position will work on a comprehensive rethink of the Unified Form Language, the domain specific language for the finite element method that is used by Firedrake, FEniCS, DUNE and others. You will work with the FEniCS developers and engage with the users of both Firedrake and FEniCS to create a new UFL which spans a greater class of simulation problems, enables more efficient code generation, and is informed by the state of the art in programming language design.

The second position will focus on expanding the class of grid discretisations and linear solvers that Firedrake is able to exploit. A key part of this is to incorporate adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) in the Firedrake system. This also provides the opportunity for research into effective solver strategies on AMR meshes. Along the way you will give Firedrake support for unstructured meshes of hexahedra, and the high performance evaluation of finite element operators on them.

Both positions enjoy considerable scope for defining the focus of your research within the overall theme. As core members of the Firedrake team, you will benefit from the support and collaboration of the Firedrake community and will contribute to the development, and support of Firedrake and its user community.

Duties and responsibilities


  • You will conduct computational mathematics research by developing, implementing, and evaluating new algorithms in the Firedrake automated PDE system and in related software packages.

  • You will publish your results in peer-reviewed journals and present them at conferences and meetings in the UK and overseas.

  • You will play an active part in the Firedrake user community and develop a reputation for the expertise you provide to that community.

  • You will develop collaborations within Imperial and around the world.

  • You will contribute to bids for research funding and to the supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate research students at a level appropriate to your experience.

Essential requirements

The essential requirements for this post are as follow:

  • You will hold a PhD (or equivalent) in mathematics, computer science or a closely related discipline such as physics 
  • You will have experience in the analysis, development, or implementation of numerical methods for partial differential equations; or in programming languages, especially domain-specific languages applied to computational mathematics.
  • You will have software development experience, ideally in Python but otherwise in any computer language.
  • You will have a commitment to open science and to best practices in scientific software development, including revision control, continuous integration testing, and code review.

Further information

Both positions are full-time and fixed term for 30 months. The expected start date is 1 October 2022 or soon thereafter.

*Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as Research Assistant within the salary range, £38,194- £41,388 per annum.

In addition to completing the online application, candidates should attach:

  • A full CV,
  • A 1-page research statement describing why the candidate’s expertise is relevant to this position and future research plans; and
  • The details of three referees.

Applicants need to apply online via the Imperial College applications site. For any specific queries regarding the post please contact Dr David Ham (David.Ham@imperial.ac.uk).

If you experience any technical issues when applying online please email support.jobs@imperial.ac.uk

The College is a proud signatory to the San-Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which means that in hiring and promotion decisions, we evaluate applicants on the quality of their work, not the journal impact factor where it is published. For more information, see https://www.imperial.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/about-imperial-research/research-evaluation/

The College believes that the use of animals in research is vital to improve human and animal health and welfare. Animals may only be used in research programmes where their use is shown to be necessary for developing new treatments and making medical advances. Imperial is committed to ensuring that, in cases where this research is deemed essential, all animals in the College’s care are treated with full respect, and that all staff involved with this work show due consideration at every level.

http://www.imperial.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/about-imperial-research/research-integrity/animal-research

Documents

About Imperial College London

Imperial College London is the UK’s only university focussed entirely on science, engineering, medicine and business and we are consistently rated in the top 10 universities in the world.

You will find our main London campus in South Kensington, with our hospital campuses located nearby in West and North London. We also have Silwood Park in Berkshire and state-of-the-art facilities in development at our major new campus in White City.

We work in a multidisciplinary and diverse community for education, research, translation and commercialisation, harnessing science and innovation to tackle the big global challenges our complex world faces.

It’s our mission to achieve enduring excellence in all that we do for the benefit of society – and we are looking for the most talented people to help us get there.

Additional information

Please note that job descriptions cannot be exhaustive, and the post-holder may be required to undertake other duties, which are broadly in line with the above key responsibilities.

Imperial College is committed to equality of opportunity and to eliminating discrimination. All employees are expected to follow the Imperial Values & Behaviours framework. Our values are: 

  • Respect              
  • Collaboration
  • Excellence          
  • Integrity
  • Innovation

In addition to the above, employees are required to observe and comply with all College policies and regulations.

We are committed to equality of opportunity, to eliminating discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment for all. We therefore encourage candidates to apply irrespective of age, disability, marriage or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion and belief, gender reassignment, sex, or sexual orientation. We are an Athena SWAN Silver Award winner, a Disability Confident Leader and a Stonewall Diversity Champion.

For technical issues when applying online please email support.jobs@imperial.ac.uk.