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Posted byu/[deleted]1 month ago

Astronomy careers for a CS student?

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level 1
6 points · 1 month ago · edited 1 month ago

Computer Science?

If you're any good at analysis, data modelling or stuff along those lines, yes there are many, many roles available in astronomy and physics in general. I mean, CERN (ok not really astronomy) invented the web...

Lots of work for CS majors in analysing data that comes back from telescopes and so forth.

What country are you in? Each country's universities work a bit differently to others.

level 2
Comment deleted1 month ago
level 3
3 points · 1 month ago

I can answer this vaguely (for anonymity).

I have a masters degree in software engineering. My thesis was to rebuild my advisors old FORTAN code to focus on optimization and ease of use.

The software analyzes galactic data sets and compares many variables like morphology, density of environment etc to identify what parameters result in a statistically significant difference (komolgorov-smirnov)

My advisor estimated that with the latest data set his could would take weeks in his lab with many machines available. My system performed all the computations in less than a day on a middle tier home built PC.

I now work on a private cloud for engineering, climate simulations, and astrophysics providing them with support and even writing the code for them. One case, I’m building the job queueing and tracking system to allow the PI to achieve parallel computing in the cloud “embarrassingly parallel”.

With your CS knowledge and knowing about the science to some degree you can be very useful.

General guidance: be able to Parallelizd work in clouds. Also. Be able to use HPC with MPI for big big data. Python is the popular language for the scientists - but they don’t know the best practices for software development. One example I had a user job taking 40 seconds. I did an strace and saw many file handle Open and close. Had him refactor to open one persistent handle and it now goes in 2 seconds.

The best analytics will use the best practices For efficient processing. Be they HPC or distributed computing.

level 3

you're welcome - but wait for a few more replies before you do anything because my examples there are very non-exhaustive.

Also this thread (very similar) from a day ago by a programmer / software engineer.

http://goedhartvoordieren.nl/?page=r/askastronomy/comments/8z7mw1/i_want_to_become_an_astrophysicist_but_im_a_30/

level 2

Can you start there after undergrads, or is it preferable to do a masters in data science or something similar?

level 1

Computer Scientist working at ESA here, it is definitely possible. You will just be on the CS side of it, i.e. developing the infrastructure and the software that make space exploration and research possible. I started with an internship, I think you should do the same

level 2
Comment deleted1 month ago
level 3

New dude here.

I got a CS degree with minors in math and physics. Was not too hard to do with my program (Montana State University) back in the day.

I took a couple of advanced physics classes in Astronomy one summer. Turns out the instructors were involved with a Sol satellite. The guy was always coding.

Anyway, I went the CS route. But, take classes, make friends, you might be surprised what you find.

P.S. summer classes can be great for this. They are smaller and laid back although moving at an aggressive pace.

level 3

Mmh there are mixed CS - astronomy PhDs like this https://di.ku.dk/english/researchhttps://www.reddit.com/imagesection/machine-learning/skyml/

Uni is important. Mine was top10 in Europe and I had an exchange program in a uni that is famous for computer vision (the internship was about image processing)

level 3

You really need a PhD to do astronomy. But you it is possible to get into an astronomy PhD from a Computer Science undergrad, especially in North America where you have to do a lot of coursework in a PhD anyway.

level 2

How did you get an internship, and what did it involve? I'm interested in the same stuff as OP, but not sure of the path to getting there

level 3

I just applied and they called me. The interview was easy. Probably the most important thing was I showed motivation and passion. It was about image processing for a solar observatory.

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