Postdoctoral Research Associate - Quantum Computing for Fluid Dynamics

Date: Feb 1, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 12177 



The National Center for Computational Sciences (NCCS) provides state-of-the-art computational and data science infrastructure for technical and scientific professionals to accelerate scientific discovery and engineering advances across a broad range of disciplines. As an important part of the broader High-Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructure, the division also hosts the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF), a Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility. The OLCF has the charge to develop and apply transformational computational science capabilities in support of dramatic advances in our understanding of the physical world and using that knowledge to address the most pressing national and international concerns. It delivers leadership-class computing for science and engineering; focuses on grand-challenge science and engineering applications; procures largest-scale computer systems (beyond typical vendor design points) and develops high-end operational and application software; and educates and trains the next generation of computational scientists.


A postdoctoral research associate position is available immediately for candidates interested in and capable of performing leading-edge computational science research and development with a focus on quantum computing for fluid dynamics applications. Areas of specific interest include use of high-performance computing and quantum hardware stacks for developing quantum algorithms to solve fluid dynamics problems. This position will reside in the Advanced Computing for Life Sciences and Engineering Group within the Science Engagement section of NCCS. Members of the Advanced Computing for Life Sciences and Engineering Group within the Scientific Engagement Section partners with HPC and data analytics users in climate science, geophysics, biology, biomedical sciences, and engineering to enable, promote and optimize the use of, and to maximize the benefits of using the world class facilities provided by NCCS. Members of the group liaise with and represent users and user applications within NCCS, carry out independent research, and provide broad expertise, technical input and service within the division to assist in strategic decision making, future system and infrastructure development, procurement and deployment, and to further the mission of NCCS and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.


The successful candidate will be mentored and teamed with a staff member in the Scientific Engagement section in the OLCF, and will collaborate with leading computer and computational scientists at ORNL and the quantum computing community, in the development and application of new computational techniques specifically targeted at the key DOE Office of Science and other missions. The appointment will be for one year, with the possibility of renewal for a second year, depending on performance and the availability of funding.


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:

Work closely with ORNL researchers in using the resources of the OLCF effectively and efficiently, including:

  • Developing and porting of scalable quantum computing applications for fluid dynamics problems and algorithms for OLCF and other leadership computers.
  • Test and assess the capability of the developed quantum algorithms on various quantum hardware stacks.
  • Debugging and tuning applications for high performance.
  • Conduct research and report results in journal publications, conference papers and technical manuals.
  • 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:

  • Ph.D. in mechanical/aerospace engineering, physics, computer science, or a related discipline, earned no more than five years prior to the date of the application.
  • A strong computational science background in Fluid Dynamics, Quantum Computing, Computer Science, Physics, or related field.
  • Deep understanding of application development techniques (programming models, algorithms, software) at scale (large processor counts).


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with computational fluid dynamics and associated numerical methods.
  • Experience with one or more prominent software packages in the area of quantum computing is highly desirable. These include but are not limited to in-house quantum computing simulator codes, Qiskit, PennyLane, Cirq, Classiq, cuQuantum, and / or CUDA Quantum.
  • Familiarity with C/C++ and accelerator application programming models such as CUDA, HIP, SYCL, OpenMP, Kokkos or Raja, vectorization; MPI; and one-sided asynchronous programming models.
  • Experience in heterogeneous computing, developing and debugging massively parallel algorithms and code performance profiling are a plus.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, oral and written communication skills, organizational skills, and strong personal motivation.
  • The ability to work in a dynamic, team environment.


ORNL Ethics and Conduct:

As a member of the ORNL scientific community, you will be expected to commit to ORNL's Research Code of Conduct. Our full code of conduct, and a statement by the Lab Director's office can be found here:


Special Requirements:

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 up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and availability of funding.


Please submit three letters of reference when applying to this position. You may 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


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 the following: Prescription Drug Plan, Dental Plan, Vision Plan, 401(k) Retirement Plan, Contributory Pension Plan, Life Insurance, Disability Benefits, 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.


If you have difficulty using the online application system or need an accommodation to apply due to a disability, please email: or call 1.866.963.9545.


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