System Administrator


Job ID: JR9755

Job Profile: AAPS Salaried - Information Systems and Technology, Level A

Job Title: Systems Administrator

Department: Research | Halpern | Department of Physics and Astronomy | Faculty of Science

Compensation Range: $4,688.67 - $6,754.00 CAD Monthly
The Compensation Range is the span between the minimum and maximum base salary for a position. The midpoint of the range is approximately halfway between the minimum and the maximum and represents an employee that possesses full job knowledge, qualifications and experience for the position. In the normal course, employees will be hired, transferred or promoted between the minimum and midpoint of the salary range for a job.

Posting End Date: February 13, 2023
Note: Applications will be accepted until 11:59 PM on the day prior to the Posting End Date above.

Job End Date: Nov 29, 2024

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Note: This position is located at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory research facility (DRAO) in Penticton, British Columbia.

Job Summary

The CHIME system administrator works with remote and on-site members of the CHIME team to maintain CHIME computer systems and networks on site. CHIME, Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, is a radio telescope situated in beautiful Okanagan Valley at Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory near Penticton BC. The telescope operates 24/7, and generates terabytes of data per day. The HPC-based data acquisition system consists of 300+ computers and many pieces of customized hardware and software. Duties include installation and deployment of servers, hardware maintenance, monitoring system health, providing advice, guidance, troubleshooting and technical support, as well as modification and maintenance of website.

Organizational Status

This candidate reports to the CHIME faculty member, and Operations Manager at UBC. The candidate interacts with CHIME team members, including researchers, faculty and students at multiple institutions.

Work Performed

CHIME site hosts an HPC-cluster in excess of 300 computers on site. In addition, there are many pieces of custom hardware on the network running custom firmware and software. The sysadmin duties (not inclusive):

  • Plans, coordinates, implements and reports on procurement, quality assurance, scheduling and implementation of approved application changes/upgrades/functionality improvements.
  • Monitors and analyzes systems issues and provides recommendations for all systems supported infrastructure as part of regular operations.
  • Monitors the IT infrastructure  and maintains CHIME inventory of equipment..
  • Assists users, both remotely and in-person, to diagnose and resolve problems, escalates when necessary, and documents problem status and action taken.
  • Modifies and debugs existing software application modules using disciplined software development processes, quality standards and procedures.
  • OS installation and patching. Plan and preparation of migration of services from legacy systems.
  • System and network administration. Backup and fault recovery. User training, and limited user management.

Consequence of Error/Judgment

Good technical judgement by the candidate will result in a well-maintained easy-to-use instrument tuned to its scientific purpose. Good decisions will result in a system that is easier to maintain and operate.
Poor judgement can result in damage, lost observing time and sensitivity, delay and lost productivity of the entire collaboration.

Supervision Received

Much of the work will be performed in a team environment. Overall supervision will come from the UBC faculty members and the Operations Managers (at CHIME site and UBC). The employee will also be expected to interact constructively with their counterparts at UBC, McGill University and the University of Toronto and the Dominion Radio Astronomical Observatory. They work independently within project objectives, with overall supervision and guidance from
the PI (a UBC faculty member) and the Project Manager (a UBC Scientific Engineer).

Supervision Given

The applicant will not directly supervise anyone, though will need to work with UBC CHIME research group members at all levels, and is expected to offer minor training to other members of the team.

Education/Work Experience

An undergraduate degree in Computer Science, Engineering or Physics is required along with minimum 3 years of sysadmin experience. Alternatively, an extensive experience in the field along with technical degree/diploma/certificate in related discipline.

Past experience with radio frequency (RF) electronics, computer clusters and scientific observatory operations are all considered to be assets. Skills

  • In-depth understanding of Unix/Linux system administration including troubleshooting systems and networking.
  • Shell programming and python scripts.
  • Ability to work in a fast-changing environment and to learn new tools and applications quickly and independently.
  • Knowledge of electronics and ability to troubleshoot computer hardware.
  • Ability to work safely around mechanical and electrical systems.
  • Clear verbal and written communication skills.