Postdoctoral Research Associate, Applied Machine Learning

Date: Feb 17, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 12110 


The Scalable Engineering Applications (SEA) Group in the Computational Sciences and Engineering Division is seeking a Post-Doctoral Associate who will specialize in applying the latest advancements in machine learning, high performance computing, and numerical methods to develop computational tools and models that are used for large-scale, physics-based simulations of a variety of science and energy applications in the national interest.


In this role, you will work with groups across the lab to develop new machine learning models and software for scale-bridging and physics coupling in Multiscale and Multiphysics simulation codes. Applications will include working with a multi-institution team creating a suite of high-fidelity codes for floating offshore wind energy that incorporates the microscale (e.g., floating wind turbines, platforms, and mooring systems), mesoscale (e.g., regional weather dynamics), and the global/climate scales to create data-driven surrogate models that are computationally efficient and able to explore parameter spaces and time horizons not accessible with high-fidelity models. In partnership with subject matter experts, you will create new closure models for atmospheric turbulence and other key phenomena in atmospheric flows to enable model coupling. The models you develop will leverage exascale-computing power to help create a new understanding of the floating offshore wind energy system, including how climate change will impact offshore wind resources, the physics of floating wind farm and turbine wake dynamics, and the loads and dynamics of floating wind turbines during operational and extreme events. In addition, you will partner with a team of experts to develop and deploy machine learning models for closure modeling in large-scale Multiphysics simulations using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), Electromagnetics, and Plasma Physics for other problems in the national interest.


The Scalable Engineering Applications group is comprised of computational scientists with a diverse spectrum of technical backgrounds, ranging from applied mathematics to engineering. Our group mission is to use innovative computational science to deliver scalable modeling and simulation tools for engineering and science applications. We develop and apply new scalable algorithms for advanced computing architectures and use the latest advancements in numerical methods and performance portability for high performance computing. This includes designing and crafting novel software packages at the confluence of modern engineering and computational science which are then deployed as production capabilities to a network of subject matter expert collaborators throughout ORNL and DOE.


As a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science national laboratory, ORNL has an extraordinary 80-year history of solving the nation’s biggest problems. We have a dedicated and creative staff of over 6,000 people! Our vision for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) is to cultivate an environment and practices that foster diversity in ideas and in the people across the organization, as well as to ensure ORNL is recognized as a workplace of choice. These elements are critical for enabling the execution of ORNL’s broader mission to accelerate scientific discoveries and their translation into energy, environment, and security solutions for the nation.


Major Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Participate in new and ongoing research in computational science applied to engineering systems including, but not limited to: Atmospheric Science, Wind Turbines, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), Electromagnetics, and Plasma Physics
  • Build new advancements in the scientific application of Climate Modeling and Simulation, Regional Weather Modeling, Finite Element Methods (FEM), linear and nonlinear solvers, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML), Automatic Differentiation (AD), and software development methods for performance portability on heterogenous computing systems.
  • Assist in formulating novel solutions to problems of national interest and execute the research and development necessary for the practical implementation of those solutions.
  • Take part in multiple R&D projects.
  • Interpret, report, and present research concepts and results to national audiences at all levels.
  • Work independently and in teams to develop conduct research and produce working prototypes for demonstration.
  • Write peer-reviewed papers and technical reports for internal and external release and represent the organization by giving technical presentations in large public forums.
  • Lead and maintain a strong publication record.
  • Deliver ORNL’s mission by aligning behaviors, priorities, and interactions with our core values of Impact, Integrity, Teamwork, Safety, and Service. Promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility by fostering a respectful workplace – in how we treat one another, work together, and measure success.


Basic Qualifications:

  • PhD in computer science; computational science; atmospheric science, mechanical engineering; aerospace engineering; nuclear engineering; chemical engineering; engineering physics; applied math; physics; or related fields.
  • Experience in applying Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) to scientific problems
  • Experience in developing surrogate models for physics-based simulations


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in scientific software development
  • Experience with parallel computing techniques including HPC in a Linux environment
  • Experience developing and assessing computational algorithms and numerical methods for physics-based simulations
  • Familiarity with C++ and GPU programming
  • Experience with modern software development practices to ensure code quality
  • Experience with applications in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), Electromagnetics, and/or Plasma Physics
  • Experience in turbulence modeling and/or multiscale closure models
  • Experience in applying Automatic Differentiation (AD) to scientific problems
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to work with a measure of autonomy and a willingness to participate creatively in a collaborative team environment


Special Requirements:

  • This position requires access to technology that is subject to export control requirements and to sensitive projects. Successful candidates must be qualified for such access without an export control license.
  • This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a clearance from the Department of Energy. As such, this position is a Workplace Substance Abuse program (WSAP) testing designed position which requires passing a pre-placement drug test and participation in an ongoing random drug testing program in which employees are subject to being randomly selected for testing. The occupant of this position will also be subject to an ongoing requirement to report to ORNL any drug-related arrest or conviction or receipt of a positive drug test result.


Please submit three letters of reference when applying to this position. You can upload these directly to your application or have them sent to with the position title and number referenced in the subject line.


Instructions to upload documents to your candidate profile:

  • Login to your account via
  • View Profile
  • Under the My Documents section, select Add a Document


Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be for up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and the availability of funding.


Benefits at ORNL:  

ORNL offers competitive pay and benefits programs to attract and retain talented people. The laboratory offers many employee benefits, including medical and retirement plans and flexible work hours, to help you and your family live happy and healthy. Employee amenities such as on-site fitness, banking, and cafeteria facilities are also provided for convenience.


Other benefits include: Prescription Drug Plan, Dental Plan, Vision Plan, 401(k) Retirement Plan, Life Insurance, Pet Insurance, Generous Vacation and Holidays, Parental Leave, Legal Insurance with Identity Theft Protection, Employee Assistance Plan, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts, Wellness Programs, Educational Assistance, Relocation Assistance, and Employee Discounts.




This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

Nearest Major Market: Knoxville