Applied Physicist (Trigger and Data Acquisition) (EP-CMD-2022-73-LD)

  • 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


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 (see The physics reach of the CMS experiment is largely 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 within the CMS collaboration for developing, operating and upgrading the trigger and DAQ system. Furthermore, the group is responsible for the upgrade of the CMS data acquisition and for the Global Trigger (GT) and the data scouting systems of the Level-1 trigger (L1) for the “Phase-2” High Luminosity LHC. A L1 data scouting demonstrator is currently being commissioned for the LHC run-3.

In the context of the R&D effort for the Phase-2 L1 data scouting system and of the CERN OpenLab programme, CMD runs an industrial partnership project with Micron Technologies Inc., aimed at integrating, adapting and exploiting hardware platforms for machine inference (Deep Learning Accelerators, DLA), provided by the industrial partner along with the accompanying firmware and software, to acquire and pre-process data from the L1 trigger system. The pre-processed data are then exploited, in the L1 data scouting system, for diagnostic and physics. The second phase of this project, aims at further integration of the current Micron platforms in the data scouting demonstrator, as well as making use of next-generation Micron platforms. It will start in October 2022 for a duration of three years.


You will be working on the trigger and data acquisition system of the CMS experiment.

In particular your work will entail:

  • Implementation and optimization of firmware and software to interface the current and future Micron DLAs with the CMS trigger subsystems via optical links, and with the Level-1 scouting DAQ.
  • Implementation of functionality and improvements of the Level-1 Trigger scouting demonstrator for the upcoming run-3, including system aspects, implementation of firmware and software, and system integration.
  • Serve as the main technical contact with the industrial partner.
  • Contribute to the coordination and supervision of students and/or fellows in the project.
  • Contribute to the operation of the L1 scouting demonstrator during run-3.
  • Contribute to the development and characterization of the machine learning algorithms for data reduction and re-calibration for the Run-3 scouting demonstrator.
  • Contribute to the overall design and development of the CMS L1 trigger scouting for the Phase-2 upgrade of CMS.


PhD or equivalent relevant experience in the field of physics or a related field.


  • Experience with firmware development for advanced FPGAs, in particular with the use and optimization of high-speed synchronous data links.
  • Experience in the development of deep learning algorithms for data reduction and selection for particle physics experiments.
  • Experience of firmware and software development in a collaborative environment and some initial experience in supervising students and coordinating activities in a collaboration.
  • Experience in collaboration with industrial partners.
  • Some initial experience with software development for configuration, control and monitoring of distributed systems.
  • Some initial experience with system design of trigger and data acquisition systems, taking into account physics objectives.

Technical competencies:

  • Design and simulation of FPGA-based electronics: vHDL.
  • 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.
  • Knowledge of deep learning development software platforms.
  • Simulation, design, development, and optimization of deep learning algorithms making use of hardware acceleration platforms.

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.
  • 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 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 15.08.2022.

Employment Conditions

Contract type: Limited duration contract (2 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.

Job grade: 6-7

Job reference: EP-CMD-2022-73-LD

Benchmark Job Title: Applied Physicist

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