Firmware Engineer (Particle Physics) – School of Physics and Astronomy – 52067 - Grade 7
School of Physics and Astronomy
University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK
Full time starting salary is normally in the range £30,942 to £40,322. With potential progression once in post to £42,792 a year.
Fixed Term Contract up to 30 September 2023
30 January 2020
The Birmingham Particle Physics group currently has 33 academic, post doctoral research and engineering staff, 3 technicians and around 30 research students. Our present activities include ATLAS and LHCb at the CERN Large Hadron Collider, NA62 on the CERN SPS and DUNE at Fermilab. The group is very well equipped with computing facilities and has access to sizeable clean room and other facilities, used for the development of particle detectors and associated electronics. The School of Physics and Astronomy is one of the largest in the UK. It takes around 180 undergraduates a year and has over 100 academic and research staff, 120 graduate students and 35 technical support staff.
This postholder will be primarily an expert in FPGA firmware design, simulation and implementation. They will develop FPGA firmware as part of the particle physics group’s commitment to produce trigger and data-acquisition electronics for the upgrade of the ATLAS experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider and the DUNE experiment at the Fermilab Long Baseline Neutrino Facility.
This post will contribute to the delivery of major particle physics research projects through the development of new techniques and solutions, implemented in highly specialised FPGA firmware, to control the complex electronics of experiments. The post holder will take the technical lead in aspects of the firmware development, which will involve coordinating contributions from other group members, with support from technical staff. Regular communication will be required with senior academics from Birmingham, other academic institutes and CERN, in order to understand the constantly developing requirements as the project evolves and to ensure that the necessary solutions are found. Contact with external industrial suppliers will also be required for tool development and optimisation. The post holder will constantly monitor the effectiveness of the procedures in use for the project development and recommend improvements accordingly. The postholder will be required to travel for short periods within the UK and abroad to meet the needs of the project.
The design, simulation and implementation of firmware which contains algorithms for the Phase-II upgrade of the first level calorimeter trigger processor of the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. Firmware blocks will be written in VHDL using the Vivado design suite for Xilinx FPGAs.
The design, simulation and implementation of firmware which contains algorithms for the data-acquisition system of the DUNE liquid argon time projection chamber readout. This will also be based on Xilinx FPGAs.
To play a role (with internal and external collaborators) in the development of the specification of the associated algorithms and/or electronics.
To present regular status reports at internal and international external meetings.
To maintain the group’s up-to-date specialist understanding of developments in firmware design, both in industry and in particle physics experiments.
To contribute to directing and supervising the group’s technicians and graduate students.
Required to organise the multiple aspects of the firmware development, to adhere to rigid deadlines for review points and final delivery schedule. This will include the development of policies, procedures and plans and will require an ability to adapt rapidly to changes in priorities.
Ability to progress several initiatives concurrently and to plan effectively over short and long timescales.
To direct and make effective use of support from technical staff and, to some extent, other researchers.
Independently conceive and develop algorithm implementations and solutions in highly specialised firmware.
Contribute strongly, in consultation with internal and international external collaborators, to the specification of the electronics.
Interact effectively with internal and international external colleagues who have physics, electronics engineering and software backgrounds. This will take place at multiple levels, from influencing project direction and decision making in consultation with academic colleagues to daily/weekly directing of technical staff.
Contact and negotiate with external contractors over equipment specifications and fault diagnoses.
Give regular presentations and updates at internal and external meetings.
Knowledge, Skills, Qualifications and Experience Required
First degree in a relevant subject (e.g. electronics engineering, physics, or software engineering).
Experience of the development of FPGA firmware.
Very strong general programming skills.
Experience with PCs running windows and linux.
Good time and priority management.
Excellent technical problem-solving skills.
Flexibility and ability to travel for short periods within the UK and abroad.
Higher degree in a relevant subject
Previous firmware programming experience in a particle physics context using VHDL / Verilog
Previous experience with high-speed electronics in a particle physics context will be an advantage
Experience with high-speed FPGA-based PCB design.
Experience with a broad range of FPGAs (Intel / Altera as well as Xilinx)
Thorough understanding of digital electronics design and board layout.
Good presentation and inter-personal skills.
Informal enquiries to Dr Alan Watson, firstname.lastname@example.org or Prof. Paul Newman email@example.com
We value diversity at The University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community
Valuing excellence; sustaining investment
Primary Location GB-GB-Birmingham
Work Locations School of Physics and Astronomy West Building (Stores) The University of BirminghamEdgbaston Birmingham B15 2TT
Organization Physics and Astronomy
Job Posting 17.12.2019, 6:00:00 PM
Grade (for job description) Grade 7