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Computer Operations Associate/Duty Engineer (National Ignition Facility)

Job Title
Computer Operations Associate/Duty Engineer (National Ignition Facility)
Job ID
Livermore,  CA 94550
Other Location

This position is supporting the National Ignition Facility (NIF) which is the world’s largest and most energetic laser facility ever built. NIF is also the most precise and reproducible laser as well as the largest optical instrument. The giant laser has nearly 40,000 optics, which precisely guide, reflect, amplify, and focus 192 laser beams onto a fusion target about the size of a pencil eraser.

The NIF and Photon Science Principal Directorate (NIF & PS), has an opening for a Computer Operations Associate to serve as the Duty Engineer responsible for the operational support of Control Systems software, databases, networks, and hardware required to perform successful laser shots at the National Ignition Facility (NIF). The NIF system is a large sophisticated design that requires the Computer Operations Associate to have the technical skills, attention to detail and the ability to work in a team environment. The successful candidate must have demonstrated exceptional ability providing installation and/or commissioning of complex software supporting large computer-based control systems. The successful candidate will work in the NIF Control Room and have responsibilities for starting and stopping the Integrated Computer Controls System (ICCS) software processes, executing NIF shot checklists, monitoring the health of ICCS subsystems and additional software supporting the setup and analysis of laser shots, monitoring network and server health, performing basic hardware troubleshooting, documenting problems/changes, and gathering data for developers to resolve software problems. The Computer Operations Associate will interact with Shot Directors, Lead Operators, all subsystem operators, engineers, engineering associates, and other technologists. This position interacts with all levels of management both within and outside the NIF & Photon Sciences Directorate and under limited supervision reports to the NIF & PS Control Systems Software Standards and Quality Manager.

Due to the vast and varying types of experiments, NIF is a 24/7 operational facility. This position may require the successful candidate to have the flexibility to work overtime, shift and or weekends to accomplish goals. This position may also require working alternate schedules such as 4/10’s or 12 hour shifts. The successful candidate will be required to pass various on-site training modules to pursue work assignments.


Essential Duties

  • Provide SW/HW support for custom system builds.

  • Provide Phone/Email/IM/In-Person support for various tasks/issues.

  • Modify database using Linux/Unix terminal.

  • Create service orders, Jira, and problem log tickets via in-house software.

  • Perform changes to network enabled devices when applicable.

  • Utilize Microsoft Office and Cisco Jabba software.

  • Maintain contact via handheld radio at all times during shift.

  • Provide computer-based support for thick-client and web-client software Java applications.

  • Execute NIF shot checklists.
  • Perform ICCS software system restarts.
  • Monitor processes during operations, commissioning, and new software release testing.
  • Troubleshooting including restarting of servers and database connections.
  • Analyze software problems and gather data for feedback to developers.
  • Execute deployment plans; execute installation and test procedures; document test results; and support identification, prioritization, tracking, and retesting of control system defects discovered during testing.
  • Ability to troubleshoot and repair routine hardware failures and update device configuration information as needed.
  • Perform routine maintenance of hardware and conduct testing to operationally qualify hardware devices.
  • Work directly with engineers and hardware technicians to troubleshoot, commission, and qualify equipment and devices as they come online.
  • Provide feedback to software developers, engineers, engineering associates, and designers regarding appropriateness and accuracy of software, control system assembly, installation, checkout, and activation documents; suggest improvements for subsequent phased deployments.
  • Acquire detailed understanding of the structure, operation and deployment plans for the ICCS and Shot Data System (SDS) suite of software applications supporting the setup and analysis of laser shots.
  • Maintain a close interface with the various programmatic and project elements to ensure effective teamwork and end-user communication.
  • Support formal testing and commissioning activities, including updating database set-points for various hardware devices.
  • Perform all assignments in accordance with ES&H, security, and business practice requirements and policies


Essential Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities

  • AS degree in Computer Science/Engineering/Technology or 4+ years of equivalent combination of education and experience related to the Essential Skills, Knowledge and Abilities below.
  • Demonstrated experience using computer-based software applications such as web-based form applications utilizing a Java Thick Client.
  • Demonstrated experience with a command-line environment.
  • Demonstrated experience with electronic and computer-based instrumentation and control systems, interlock systems, and mechanical hardware.
  • Demonstrated experience with an understanding of informal and formal component-level and system-level test and commissioning processes.
  • Demonstrated experience with formal configuration control practices.
  • Demonstrated experience integrating and performing acceptance testing for post-production deployment of computer control system hardware for large systems.
  • Demonstrated experience deploying, activating, and troubleshooting computer control systems.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of supervisory control
  • Demonstrated experience working in a team environment that includes scientists, engineers, associates, other technologists, and designers.
  • Demonstrated experience performing in a dynamic, detail-oriented work environment under tight time constraints.
  • Demonstrated effective oral and written communication skills including procedure writing and troubleshooting documentation.


Desired Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities

  • BS degree in Computer Science/Engineering/Technology or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience supporting computer control systems, especially large laser systems.
  • Demonstrated advanced Microsoft Excel skills including pivot tables and Visual Basic.
  • Basic experience in troubleshooting electronics.
  • Experience with Oracle SQL.
  • Basic IT experience including an understanding of IP networks, switches and desktop support.
  • Experience with the Linux/Unix environment.
  • Knowledge of SolarWinds and SPLUNK.


Special Requirements

  • Pre-Placement Medical Exam: A job related pre-placement medical examination may be required.
  • Pre-employment drug test: External applicant(s) selected for this position will be required to pass a post-offer, pre-employment drug test. This includes testing for use of marijuana as Federal Law applies to us as a Federal Subcontractor.


Anticipated Clearance Level: Q (position will be cleared to this level). Applicants selected will be subject to a Federal background investigation and must meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information or matter. In addition, all L or Q cleared employees are subject to random drug testing. Q-level clearance requires U.S. citizenship. If you hold multiple citizenships (U.S. and another country), you may be required to renounce your non-U.S. citizenship before a DOE L or Q clearance will be processed/granted.

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