University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

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2019 Undergraduate SIParCS Internship-Using Cloud-Friendly Data Format in Earth System Models

at University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

Posted: 12/13/2018
Job Reference #: 218475

Job Description

Tracking Code
Job Description

Job Title: 2019 SIParcS Undergraduate Student Internship

Project Title: Using Cloud-Friendly Data Format in Earth System Models

Location: Boulder, Colorado

Type: Internship, Full-time, Non-Exempt


May 20, 2019 through August 2, 2019

11 weeks, 40 hours per week


No relocation assistance is offered for this position.

Housing is provided for all students selected for the internship.

Application Deadline: January 11, 2019

Work Authorization:

  • Students must be authorized to work in the U.S. to be eligible for the SIParCS program.
  • UCAR/NCAR will not sponsor a work visa (e.g., J-1, H1-B, etc.) for this position.
    • For F visa students accepted to the SIParCS program, CPT work authorization issued through a U.S. Designated School Official (DSO) or OPT issued through both a DSO and the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be required.

About the Organization:

Located in Boulder, Colorado, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is one of the world’s premier scientific institutions, with an internationally recognized staff and research program dedicated to advancing knowledge, providing community-based resources, and building human capacity in the atmospheric and related sciences.

2019 SIParCS Program Description:

The Summer Internships in Parallel Computational Science (SIParCS) program at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) offers graduate students and undergraduates who have completed their sophomore year significant hands-on R&D opportunities in high performance computing (HPC) and related fields that use HPC for scientific discovery and modeling. This program embeds students as summer interns in the Computational and Information Systems Laboratory (CISL), an organization within NCAR charged with provisioning supercomputing and data systems to the geosciences research community, as well as conducting research and development in computational science, data analysis, scientific visualization and numerical modeling. These twin roles of service and research in CISL support NCAR's broad scientific mission of discovery in the atmospheric and related sciences.

The 2019 summer internships are 11 weeks in duration. Applicants must be available to work 40 hours per week from May 20, 2019 through August 2, 2019 for participation in the program.

Program requirements, beyond working on projects, include attending appropriate technical seminars, attending skills-enhancing workshops, preparing a poster, and giving an oral presentation of results at the end of the summer.

Job Overview:

Using Cloud-Friendly Data Format in Earth System Models

Areas of Interest:

  • Application optimization/parallelization
  • Software engineering

Job Description:

  • Data volume of the earth system model is increasing rapidly every year, thanks to advances in computing efficiency and increases in model resolution and complexity. To efficiently produce these data volumes, parallel Input/Output (I/O) is a necessity, and to help manage data volumes, compression is also a necessity. Unfortunately, the commonly used data format Network Common Data Form (NetCDF) in earth system model does not support parallel I/O with simultaneous compression without significant performance loss. Alternatively, Zarr is a cloud-friendly data format that provides an implementation of parallel (multiple threads or processes) I/O for chunked, compressed, N-dimensional arrays. Experience with Zarr data format could provide us insights as to whether it can improve the parallel read/write/compression performance in the earth system model.
  • Over this summer internship, the student will explore and learn about I/O development with Zarr library. The student will study how to use Zarr library and NetCDF library. The student will perform parallel benchmarks with both Zarr and NetCDF on NCAR’s Cheyenne supercomputer.

Please note: We will hire either an undergraduate or graduate student for this project.


Required for All Undergraduate Projects:

  • Must currently be enrolled in an accredited United States college or university as an undergraduate student who has completed their freshman year.
  • Ability to work with a diverse group of peers.
  • Skill in the use of software for communication purposes (e.g. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, email).
  • Ability and willingness to learn and use scientific computing tools and programs.
  • Good oral and written communication skills.
  • Basic problem solving skills.
  • Ability to analyze data and draw conclusions.
  • Basic knowledge, through coursework, of mathematics, computer science or engineering.
  • Ability to work full-time (40 hours per week) during the summer program.
  • Ability to interact with mentors and peers in a manner that supports collaboration and inquiry.
  • Ability and willingness to work with a team.
  • Ability and willingness to work within guidelines and policies of organization and assigned work groups.

Additional Required Experience for this Project:

  • Familiarity with Linux or Unix.
  • Experience with Python and C/C++ programming

Desired Experience for this Project:

  • Familiarity with parallel computing
  • Familiarity with scientific data formats
  • Experience with NumPy

Application Instructions:

Before you begin the online application process, please prepare your application materials in one (1) PDF document. Application materials must be in the order numbered below.

Please apply to no more than two (2) SIParCS projects.

Application Materials Must Include:

Please attach one (1) PDF document with the three required components to your online application.

Required materials, in order, are:

  1. A not-to-exceed one-page cover letter clearly describing each of the following four items:
    1. Your technical interests and skills
    2. Why you are interested in this project
    3. How this program addresses your educational and career goals, and what you expect to gain if selected
    4. Information on how your personal background and life experience (including social, cultural, familial, economic, educational or other opportunities or challenges) may help you make unique contributions to the program.
    5. CV or Resume
    6. Copy of most recent university transcript (unofficial transcript).
    7. For the Online Application Process:

      1. To begin the application process, at the bottom of this page click “New Resume/CV.” The next page presents options for you to submit your materials. Select “Upload a resume/CV document” then select “Continue.”
      2. You will then be prompted to submit your résumé or CV. At this point, upload your complete application as one (1) PDF document. Click “Choose File” to find your file on your computer. Click on the document, select “Open,” and then select “Continue.”
      3. Continue the application process as prompted. Step 4of the online application process will ask you if you want to upload additional documentation-ignore this step. Complete the rest of the online application information.


      In addition to the required application materials, you must submit two (2) references. Please visit to submit names and email addresses of two academic references.


      If you have questions or limitations to using the online application system, please contact Courtney Gibson at or 303-497-8722.

      If you have questions regarding submitting references or about the SIParCS program, please contact or 303-497-1288.

      More information on the SIParCS program may be found at

      EEO/AAP Statement:

      The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action employer that strives to develop and maintain a diverse workforce. UCAR is committed to providing equal opportunity for all employees and applicants for employment and does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, creed, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or pregnancy.

      Whatever your intersection of identities, you are welcome at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). We are committed to inclusivity and promoting an equitable environment that values and respects the uniqueness of all members of our organization.

    Job Location
    Boulder, Colorado, United States
    Position Type