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    Personal information
    Contact information
    Candidate Profile
     Date Submitted:13-02-2013
     Last Modified:13-02-2013 (09:07)
    Job information
     Current job:Sr System Software Engineer
     Employment Term:Permanent
     Job location:Europe only
     Date available:within a month
     Industry:Civil Agencies/International Organizations, Satellite Operators, ,
     KeywordsDistributed Computing, HPC, High-Throughput Computing, Large Databases, Web Development

    Professional Experience

    Expert in Distributed Computing, HPC, High-Throughput Computing and Large Databases with more than thirteen years of experience, largely in international organizations. Perfectly at ease with all phases of software life-cycle from requirement engineering to design, implementation, testing, release engineering, quality assurance, support and operations for science applications both ground and space-based. 

        Adept at managing complexity and working independently in the presence of incomplete and/or evolving requirements, under tight deadlines. Extremely effective at working in a team, also with lead responsibilities. 

        Significant experience with data modeling, simulations, end-user tools, middleware and web development. Significant research, publication and presentation experience both in astronomy and information technology. Strong analytical presentation and interpersonal skills. Able to integrate into scientific, international and/or business work environments.



    Computer Experience

    Languages: Python, C/Objective-C, Perl, SQL, HTML, XML, Fortran, JavaScript, UML (have also used professionally: Java, C++).

    CASE Tools: Enterprise Architect, Visual Paradigm

    Version Control: Git, Subversion, CVS

    Platforms: UNIX (Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris), Windows



    Relevant Employment History

    2010-present: Senior System Software Engineer, Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) - Baltimore, MD USA (On-site & Telework)

    Working on both the NASA Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and the NASA James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) ground segments. Main responsibility is the workflow management system for both HST and JWST.

    • Leading the design and development of the Condor-based workflow management system for both HST and JWST called OWL (now used by both STScI and the Canadian Astronomy Data Center). OWL is a Python layer on top of Condor providing advanced features such as support for dynamic job submission files (using a template engine), blackboard architecture (to store the instantaneous and historical state of the system), data-centric view (to easily discover problematic datasets) and web-based GUIs. OWL has a plugin architecture able to support different batch job scheduling systems.
    • Handling the full OWL software release cycle for HST, JWST and the Hubble Legacy Archive development and integration & testing, supporting science pipeline developers, testers and eventually operators.
    • Part of the team that is designing the architecture of the JWST engineering and science data processing subsystem, testing that same architecture on HST data management. Responsible for the workflow manager and the data processing queue requirement engineering.
    • Part of the team developing science pipelines for JWST. Designed the Python-based JWST science pipeline description language and execution framework (called STPipe), which allows pipelines to be easily built from modular components. STPipe provides both Python classes and command-line utilities for executing both pipelines and pipeline steps, assembling and customizing pipelines, handling pipeline and step configuration and logging.
    • Playing an active role in system engineering working groups, periodic code reviews, data challenges and software demos with NASA headquarters and external reviewers.
    • Fostering collaboration with the Canadian Astronomy Data Center (CADC), interested in using OWL for their HST science data reprocessing. Working on integrating OWL with the CANFAR GRID CloudScheduler.
    • Gaining an in-depth knowledge of Condor and disseminating this knowledge to the rest of the Institute, including giving training courses to both science and IT staff.

    2006-2009: Senior Software Engineer, National Optical Astronomy Observatories (NOAO) and LSST Corporation - Tucson, AZ USA

    Worked for the LSST project and collaborated with Pan-STARRS on the design and development of the world's first integrated asteroid and comet detection and tracking system, called MOPS. In this context I have had lead responsibility for:

    • Transitioning the entire code base (hundreds of thousand of lines of code written in C, Perl, Makefiles, shell scripts and Fortran) to the LSST code baseline.
    • Transitioning from Perl, Makefiles and shell scripts to Python and wrapping C and Fortran code in Python. Porting the entire 32-bit code base to 64-bit. Transitioning from ad-hoc parallelism to a system that supported MPI as well as batch job schedulers like Condor and Moab/Torque/OpenPBS.
    • Performing critical scalability studies, proposing and implementing architecture improvements.
    • Developing a VOEvent-based alert system (client and server using a XMPP publish-subscribe architecture) for MOPS with dynamic discovery of alert rules and dynamic routing of alerts.
    • Mentoring other LSST developers on MOPS

    In addition, gave significant contributions to the design of the LSST database schema as well as its high performance, MPI-based pipeline execution framework.


    2003-2005: Senior Scientific Programmer, National Optical Astronomy Observatories (NOAO) - Tucson, AZ USA

    • Designed and developed a flexible and high-performance execution framework for distributed pipelines (NHPPS) which is being used in operations in at least three different observatories (CTIO, NOAO North, STScI). 
    • Worked in a team to develop both the middleware and the science modules for distributed, data-parallel science imaging pipelines. 
    • Led the design and implementation of an survey telescope scheduling simulator, OpSim, for the LSST project which proved to be an extremely valuable tool in evaluating the science impact of design choices in both telescope and dome system as well as observing strategy. 

    OpSim is able to simulate all telescope operations during a user defined period of time (typically 10 years) using historical weather data and the full mechanical and electronic specifications of hardware and detectors. It is being used for both the LSST and Pan-STARRS projects.


    2000-2003: Data Archive and Pipeline Software Specialist, European Southern Observatory (ESO), Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility division (ST-ECF). Garching b. Muenchen, Germany

    • Designed and developed advanced, science driven, data mining and data analysis software for astronomy archival research.
    • Integrated that software into the existing ESO and Hubble Space Telescope (HST) archives and request handling systems. 
    • Handled all phases of archival research proposal life cycle for the ASTROVIRTEL project (including feasibility studies, requirement engineering, software development, user support, publication tracking).
    • Co-authored the SciSoft collection of scientific software for Mac OS X.


    1999-2000: Web developer, VIRMOS Consortium, Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera - Milano and Merate, Italy.

    Developed web interfaces, in Java, to existing sophisticated data analysis pipelines. Co-authored the specifications of the programming guidelines for software development within the VIRMOS Consortium.


    1998-2000: Database developer, Proper S.a.s. - Novara, Italy

    Developed database-driven solutions for several business companies. Acquired good knowledge of consumer-grade DB system like FileMaker Pro and Microsoft Access. Offered technical support to business customers.



    Other Projects

    Co-PI on a proposal to apply astronomical star-finding algorithms to images acquired with confocal microscopes. The main idea is twofold: on one hand count cells automatically using that code, on the other hand, validate these results with the help of volunteers over the Internet (citizen science).



    Professional Training

    2012: Condor tutorials, Condor Week, University of Wisconsin

    2011: GPU Programming tutorials, ADASS Conference

    2007: Use Case Development, In-house training

    2004: Use Case Driven Object Modeling with UML, ICONIX

    2003: Use Case Driven Object Modeling with UML, ICONIX

    2002: XML: A Comprehensive Hands-On Introduction, Learning Tree International



    Teaching and Presentation Experience

    2012: Taught two Condor classes and two advanced Python classes at Space Telescope Science Institute

    2010: Gave a Python class to software engineers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

    2000-Present: three to five presentations per year at conferences (SPIE, ADASS, PyCon) as well as in-house.



    Conference Organizing Experience

    2012: Third annual Workshop on Science Workflow Systems, Tucson, AZ

    2011: Second annual Workshop on Science Workflow Systems, Baltimore, MD




    1998: Master's Degree in Physics (110/110), University of Milan, Italy.

    Thesis title: "Multi-color Photometry of Galaxies With Signs of Interaction".

    Foreign Languages: Italian (mother tongue), English (fluent).



    Publication List

    Available upon request (approximately 40 publications)




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