Fusion Reactor Systems Computer Programmer

Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey
Closing date
Sep 17, 2021

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Fusion Reactor Systems Computer Programmer


Job ID: 2020-11972
Type: Full-Time
# of Openings: 1
Category: Engineering

Princeton University


The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a world-class fusion energy research laboratory managed by Princeton University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. PPPL is dedicated to developing the scientific and technological knowledge base for fusion energy. The Laboratory advances the fields of fusion energy and plasma physics research to develop the scientific understanding and key innovations needed to realize fusion as an energy source for the world.

The Plasma Control System (PCS) is used to control fusion device plasmas around the world. The original PCS version was produced at the General Atomics DIII-D fusion device and has been exported to other worldwide fusion devices.

This opening is for a Computer Programmer to create and maintain internal software programs for our fusion reactor control programs. The ideal candidate has a strong background in software development and programming. He or she will use the Linux operating system and associated hardware.

This position is located at General Atomics, San Diego, Ca. 92121


  • Support DIII-D Real Time Systems
  • Code and test programming for in-house software programs
  • Debug code for existing programs based on immediate need
  • Document program code for users and staff
  • Conduct end-user training upon completion of software if needed
  • Balance workday between multiple projects and respond immediately to tech support requests from staff
  • Assist with the development, deployment, integration, testing, and maintenance of the scientific algorithms and surrounding infrastructure making up the Plasma Control System (PCS)
  • Troubleshoot system bugs and issues
  • This assignment also involves working with hardware and low-level drivers


Education and Experience:

  • BS in Computer Engineering with 7 years’ experience total.
    • 1-2 years experience python scripts
    • 1-3 years experience interfacing MATLAB with C
A strategic goal of PPPL is diversifying the community of scientists and engineers, ensuring equitable access, and making the STEM fields more accessible and inclusive. With this in mind, we will take into consideration equivalent work and personal experiences as well as efforts in education, outreach or other related service activities.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Fluency in C, C++, and Fortran, experience with latest language standards desirable.

  • Knowledge of the CentOS and GNU/Linux.

  • Fundamental understanding of build systems using plain GNU Make (not autotools or CMake), including compilers (both GCC and Intel).

  • A detailed demonstration of software development quality (provide either public FOSS contributions or a private portfolio) project quality standards.

  • Ability to work with others and contribute to a larger team effort across several time zones as needed.

  • Experience in working with legacy codes in debugging and modifying large and complex applications.

  • Preferred Skills:

    • experience with IDL and the ability to create graphical widgets

    • FPGA and/or GPU programming

    • Familiarity with Google G Suite environment

    • Experience with NoMachine as a daily use platform

    • Knowledge and use of RedHawk and NightStar

    • Experience with Real Time systems

Physical Requirements:

  • Ability to Lift up to 50 pounds
  • Ability to run cables under a raised floor or along a dropped ceiling
  • Ability to stand for long periods of time (when needed)
  • Ability to sit at a computer for extended periods (most frequent).
Working Conditions:

  • Expected travel for conferences: 1-2 weeks per year; Normal working hours, but flexibility to accommodate lab test times or off-site collaboration (expected during the 2nd and 3rd years) (nights, weekends) required when needed.

Princeton University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. EEO IS THE LAW

Please be aware that the Department of Energy (DOE) prohibits DOE employees and contractors from participation in certain foreign government talent recruitment programs. All PPPL employees are required to disclose any participation in a foreign government talent recruitment program and may be required to withdraw from such programs to remain employed under the DOE Contract.



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