Principal Software Engineer, Computational Methods

Principal Software Engineer, Computational Methods

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

Ashburn, VA, United States

Job Description

About HHMI

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is a science philanthropy whose mission is to advance biomedical research and science education for the benefit of humanity. We empower exceptional scientists and students to pursue fundamental questions about living systems, and work to share scientific discoveries with researchers, students, and science-curious individuals around the world.

Founded in 1953 by aviator and industrialist Howard R. Hughes, HHMI is headquartered in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and employs more than 2,500 people across the U.S. Visit to learn more about working at HHMI.


About Janelia

Janelia Research Campus is a pioneering research center in Ashburn, Virginia, where scientists pursue fundamental questions in neuroscience and cellular biology. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) launched Janelia in 2006, establishing an intellectually distinctive environment for scientists to do creative, collaborative, hands-on work. To learn more about working at Janelia, visit



Scientists and software engineers at Janelia are collaborating to develop cutting-edge techniques in machine learning, image processing, and computing to push the limits of human knowledge about neural systems and cellular biology. We are looking for an expert in these areas who likes to mentor others. The candidate will achieve outstanding individual performance in solving challenging research problems, while providing technical mentorship for a team of software engineers specializing in computational methods and algorithm development. This position requires a passion for coding, enthusiasm for applied mathematics, expert-level proficiency in multiple languages such as C/C++, Java, or Python, strong communications skills, and a track record of substantial technical accomplishments. Experience with image processing, machine learning, scientific programming, algorithms, or 3D visualization is desirable.



  • Write excellent code.
  • Enthusiastically provide technical mentorship to other developers.
  • Meet with scientists and scientific project managers (internal customers) to thoroughly understand their computational requirements and challenges.
  • Continuously learn new techniques, skills and technologies, as needed for projects.
  • Appropriately take advantage of existing tools, frameworks, and software, whether commercial or open-source.
  • Effectively manage tradeoffs that balance deliverable requirements, new features, and innovation.
  • Engage with other senior developers to leverage and guide the usage and development of longer-term engineering projects that empower scientists.
  • Potentially work on multiple projects concurrently, according to scientific needs.
  • Regularly bring new tools, innovative technical approaches, and algorithmic solutions to the scientific challenges present in Janelia research.
  • Participate in Scientific Computing departmental meetings and social events.
  • Opportunity for formal team leadership will be evaluated on individual candidate’s interest and capabilities.



  • A Ph.D. (or equivalent experience) in Computer Science, Applied Mathematics, or computational field in engineering or science.
  • Excellent communications skills.
  • Demonstrably excellent coding skills in one or more major production languages.
  • Minimum of 5 years job experience with a track record of outstanding projects involving advanced computational techniques.
  • Experience with signal processing, image processing, and/or machine learning.
  • Experience working with high performance computing (HPC) tools and environments.
  • Experience using common software development tools and techniques.


Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Experience with machine learning frameworks such as TensorFlow or Keras.
  • Experience with data analysis and prototyping environments such as SciPy/NumPy, Matlab, or R.
  • Experience with neuroscience research or microscopy.
  • Experience with 3D graphics programming using OpenGL, DirectX, or Vulkan.
  • Experience with GPU programming using CUDA or OpenCL.


HHMI is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Required Skills

Required Experience

Please apply via recruiter’s website.

Quote Reference: Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)-hhmi-869-908