Computing Engineer (Trigger & Data Acquisition) (EP-CMD-2020-84-LD)

  • Geneva, Switzerland
  • Contract

Company Description

At CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. Using the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments, they study the basic constituents of matter - fundamental particles that are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives physicists clues about how particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature. Find out more on

Job Description


Are you a computing engineer experienced in trigger and data acquisition systems, interested in working in an exciting international environment at the forefront of modern computing? Then join CMS as one of the largest particle physics experiments in the world, and take part in its major upgrade activities to answer questions at the heart of particle physics!

The Experimental Physics (EP) Department carries out research in the field of experimental particle physics, supporting several experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. CMS is a general-purpose particle physics experiment operated by an international collaboration. The physics reach of the CMS experiment is determined by the capability of the trigger and data acquisition (DAQ) system to select and acquire the most interesting events. The EP-CMD group has major responsibilities for developing, operating and upgrading the trigger and DAQ system. Areas covered include custom electronics, use of advanced networking and processor technologies, distributed systems and software for acquisition, control and monitoring. The group is also responsible for supporting and maintaining the experiment on-line computer farms, networks and mass storage systems. 

During the current long shutdown of 2019-2020, the group is preparing the upgrade of the trigger and DAQ system for the forthcoming LHC run-3, expected for 2021-2024. Furthermore, the group is preparing for the longer-term major Phase-II upgrade of the CMS detector and its trigger and DAQ system, currently foreseen to start operation in 2026. The requirements for the Phase-II system are an order of magnitude higher compared to the existing system.


You will be working on the data acquisition system of the CMS experiment. In particular, your work will entail:

  • Take part in the maintenance and administration of the online linux clusters used for CMS data acquisition and DAQ development, in particular through systematic performance measurements and analysis at the software and OS level, as well as the development and operation of integrated monitoring systems for network devices;
  • Contribute to the design, development, and optimization of the DAQ software and network complex for the upcoming run-3, with a focus on the optimization of packet switching and routing for event building networks, as well as low-level OS, drivers and kernel optimization for intensive I/O applications on multi-core and NUMA architectures. This work also serves as R&D for the design of the event builder for the Phase-2 DAQ system;
  • Participate in the development of the CMS Data Acquisition system for the Phase-2 upgrade, including system aspects, in particular in the area of operating systems, firmware, and software for embedded  System on Chip (SoCs) and System on Module (SoMs), for applications in the DAQ custom electronics boards;
  • Contribute to the overall development and the smooth operation of the CMS data acquisition system;
  • Supervise students. 



Master's degree or PhD or equivalent relevant experience in the field of computing engineering or a related field.


  • Extensive experience in the design, debugging, monitoring, and optimization of large high-performance network complex for HPC clusters. Experience with networking for data acquisition systems in large particle physics experiments a plus;
  • Demonstrated experience with linux cluster administration, performance analysis, system optimization, and debugging of large distributed applications;
  • Experience with the design and optimization of firmware for advanced FPGAs, in particular for networking and related applications;
  • Experience with embedded processors, including SoCs and SoMs;
  • Extensive experience in developing firmware and software in a collaborative environment.

Technical competencies:

  • Design of networks: deep knowledge of hardware, firmware, and software stacks for networking applications (e.g. TCP/IP, InfiniBand, RoCE, etc.).
  • Knowledge of programming techniques and languages: advanced level of C++, scripting languages.
  • Knowledge and application of software life-cycle tools and procedures including integration, build and test.
  • Development of software for embedded and real-time systems with/without OS, in particular operating systems, software and firmware support for SoCs and SoMs;
  • Design and simulation of FPGA-based electronics: in particular in VHDL would be an advantage (for SoCs and SoMs development).

Behavioural competencies:

  • Achieving results: having a structured and organised approach towards work; being able to set priorities and plan tasks with results in mind.
  • Solving problems: producing workable and timely solutions that meet requirements.
  • Demonstrating flexibility: adapting quickly and resourcefully to shifting priorities and requirements; actively participating in the implementation of new processes and technologies.
  • Working in teams: working well in groups and readily fitting into a team; participating fully and taking an active role in team activities.
  • Learning and Sharing Knowledge: keeping up-to-date with developments in own field of expertise and readily absorbing new information: sharing knowledge and expertise freely and willingly with others; coaching others to ensure knowledge transfer.

Language skills:

  • English: proficient level / excellent command in spoken and written. Ability to draw-up technical specifications and/or scientific reports and to make oral presentations.
  • French: elementary level or willingness to acquire it.

Additional Information

Eligibility and closing date:

Diversity has been an integral part of CERN's mission since its foundation and is an established value of the Organization. Employing a diverse workforce is central to our success. We welcome applications from all Member States and Associate Member States.

This vacancy will be filled as soon as possible, and applications should normally reach us no later than 21.07.2020

Employment Conditions

Contract type: Limited duration contract (3 years). Subject to certain conditions, holders of limited-duration contracts may apply for an indefinite position.

These functions require:

  • Work during nights, Sundays and official holidays.
  • Interventions in underground installations.
  • A valid driving licence is required.
  • Work in Radiation Areas, when required by the needs of the Organization.

Job grade: 6-7

Job reference: EP-CMD-2020-84-LD

Benchmark Job Title: Computing Engineer

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