A Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

START fosters a collaborative, multidisciplinary environment to create a team to meet the needs of the homeland security enterprise and train the next generation of scholars and practitioners. 

Part-Time Hourly Software Engineer – Natural Language Processing/Machine Learning

Part-Time Hourly Software Engineer – Natural Language Processing/Machine Learning

December 11, 2015
Jobs at START


The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) is now hiring a part-time hourly Software Engineer to contribute to a National Science Foundation INSPIRE project entitled, “Computational Modeling of Grievances and Political Instability through Global Media.” This position will begin as soon as possible.

The project is attempting to triangulate perceptions of institutions and grievances from three sources (traditional surveys/structural factors, online media, and social media) to determine their validity to measure these perceptions in near-real time.  In addition, the project aims to examine whether these perceptions (and their temporal and geospatial dynamics) foreshadow instability and what role internet / media penetration may play in their ability to forecast.  The project team will be experimenting with a wide variety of methods for identifying, extracting, and classifying perceptions in multiple languages.

This position will conduct software engineering across all phases of the research design and software development cycles, while collaborating with several multi-disciplinary teams at UMD. He or she will develop and evaluate research tools to support and facilitate data collection and analysis tasks for this NSF grant.

Position Focus - Natural Language Processing/Machine Learning: Structuring Textual Data for Analysis

This position will collaborate in the design and building of scalable infrastructure to support text classification and data mining capabilities in multiple TB of data (“big data”) in particular (but not limited to) social media data and news data, focusing on the application and testing best practices of information retrieval, machine learning, natural language processing, entity extraction, and sentiment analysis.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field
  • Experience with all aspects of the software development life cycle (requirements, specification, architecture, design, implementation, testing, deployment, and maintenance)
  • Familiarity with information retrieval, machine learning, and natural language processing techniques
  • Experience programming in two or more of the following languages: Java, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, C#/.NET, as well as experience with JSON, XML and other serialization formats
  • Experience with developing document classification tools using information retrieval, machine learning, and natural language processing strategies, in particular with developing and adapting the following for use with unstructured textual data:
    • entity identification, resolution, and extraction strategies
    • geo-referencing techniques and
    • sentiment analysis models
  • Experience developing software in a UNIX/Linux environment.
  • Experience with Make/Ant/Maven or similar build tools to allow for transparency and repeatability in an iterative research environment.
  • Experience with databases

Preferred Qualifications:

  • 2+ years of relevant professional experience
  • Self-starter capable of working independently
  • Experience with Bash scripting, Chef, Puppet, Capistrano, Fabric or another automation tool
  • Experience with monitoring software and version control software (git)
  • Experience in designing solutions for large scale implementations
  • Experience providing technology solutions in an academic environment
  • Familiarity with R

The hourly rate for this position will be in the range of $25-$30 per hour range (depending on education and experience) for approximately 20 hours per week. This position is not benefits eligible. The person selected for this position will work on site at START’s headquarters at the University of Maryland, College Park, and will report directly to the PI of the NSF Project.

Qualified applicants should submit a cover letter and resumé via email (with subject line “Software Engineer: Natural Language Processing”) to eiarocci@start.umd.edu. Please include contact information for two professional references.

Applicants will be reviewed until the position is filled. Candidates are encouraged to apply by December 11, 2015 for best consideration.

Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. The University of Maryland is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer.