Senior Data Scientist 4 - NLP

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Seattle , WA 98113

Posted 3 weeks ago


Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL, Laboratory) is looking for a dynamic Data Scientist in Natural Language Processing. For more than 50 years, PNNL has advanced the frontiers of science and engineering in the service of our nation and the world in the areas of energy, the environment, and national security. PNNL's Computing and Analytics Division, part of the National Security Directorate, is committed to advancing the state of the art in artificial intelligence through applied machine learning and deep learning to support scientific discovery and our sponsors' missions.

There are a variety of projects that rely on NLP and other human language technologies at the lab. Ranging from descriptive analyses to predictive and prescriptive modelling of phenomena, scientists leverage expertise developing and applying state of the art technologies to:

Harness Open-Source Data to Understand Human Behavior and

Explore Perspectives on COVID-19 response

WatchOwl uses natural language processing and deep learning analytics to tag COVID-19 related tweets as positive, negative, or neutral and to extract from the posts fine-grained user reactions like elaboration or disagreement to support analyses in the context of the spread of disease and the timing of non-pharmaceutical intervention policies implemented within states.

Track a Pandemic-Through Words using BioFeeds

Data-mining software developed at PNNL called BioFeeds automates the process of combing through tens of thousands of articles each day to quickly get relevant information about active, future, and emerging biothreats, including COVID-19. Dozens of government agencies and international partners rely on the reports from BioFeeds.

Analyze How Social Media Spreads Information Online

PNNL Scientists measured how fast discussion threads related to different cryptocurrencies took off, how much volume those threads generated, how many people participated and how engaged they were, illustrating clear differences in activity patterns. (GeekWire)

Predict real-world events using text-based signals

Research in content intelligence focuses on the development of novel AI models to explain and predict social systems and behaviors related to national security challenges. Examples include leveraging linguistic cues from Twitter conversations about seemingly non-flu-related topics such as the weather or coffee to identify when and where the next flu outbreaks were likely to occur (highlighted in Scientific American), and improving forecasting of cryptocurrency prices using social media discussions (highlighted in Bloomberg).

PNNL Data Scientists publish and present at top tier conferences, workshops, and journals. Read more about highlights from NeurIPS 2021 and NeurIPS 2020 and recent best paper awards at ICWSM 2021 and the NLP4IF workshop at EMNLP 2021.



Data science at PNNL addresses critical national and global issues by applying scientific, mathematical, and engineering techniques to mission-focused data and challenges. This position requires thought leadership and technical depth to support the development and advancement of natural language processing research and capabilities.

This position requires interactions with government, military, and industry officials nationwide for a variety of programs, projects, and tasks, including technical and programmatic concept development, planning, coordination, integration, and execution that can be supported by data science and deep learning techniques.


Minimum Qualifications:

  • BS/BA and 7+ years of relevant work experience
  • OR-
  • MS/MA and 5+ years of relevant work experience
  • OR-
  • PhD with 3+ years of relevant experience

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience training machine learning models in frameworks like PyTorch

  • Experience applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to natural language specific applications. Additional domain application experience is preferred - geospatial intelligence, computer vision, few-shot learning, adversarial machine learning, social computing, etc

  • 7+ years of experience with natural language processing

  • 5+ years in machine learning or applied science/research in academia or industry

  • 5+ years of experience with general purpose programming language (Python, Scala, etc.)

Hazardous Working Conditions/Environment

Not applicable.

Additional Information

This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a federal security clearance.


  • U.S. Citizenship

  • Background Investigation: Applicants selected will be subject to a Federal background investigation and must meet eligibility requirements for access to classified matter in accordance with 10 CFR 710, Appendix B.

  • Drug Testing: All Security Clearance positions are Testing Designated Positions, which means that the candidate selected is subject to pre-employment and random drug testing. In addition, applicants must be able to demonstrate non-use of illegal drugs, including marijuana, for the 12 consecutive months preceding completion of the requisite Questionnaire for National Security Positions (QNSP).

Note: Applicants will be considered ineligible for security clearance processing by the U.S. Department of Energy until non-use of illegal drugs, including marijuana, for 12 months can be demonstrated.

"Referral Eligible"

Testing Designated Position

This position is a Testing Designated Position (TDP). The candidate selected for this position will be subject to pre-employment and random drug testing for illegal drugs, including marijuana, consistent with the Controlled Substances Act and the PNNL Workplace Substance Abuse Program.

About PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is a world-class research institution powered by a highly educated, diverse workforce committed to the values of Integrity, Creativity, Collaboration, Impact, and Courage. Every year, scores of dynamic, driven people come to PNNL to work with renowned researchers on meaningful science, innovations and outcomes for the U.S. Department of Energy and other sponsors; here is your chance to be one of them!

At PNNL, you will find an exciting research environment and excellent benefits including health insurance, flexible work schedules and telework options. PNNL is located in eastern Washington State-the dry side of Washington known for its stellar outdoor recreation and affordable cost of living. The Lab's campus is only a 45-minute flight (or ~3-hour drive) from Seattle or Portland, and is serviced by the convenient PSC airport, connected to 8 major hubs.

Commitment to Excellence, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Equal Employment Opportunity

Our laboratory is committed to a diverse and inclusive work environment dedicated to solving critical challenges in fundamental sciences, national security, and energy resiliency. We are proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer. In support of this commitment, we encourage people of all racial/ethnic identities, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities to apply for employment.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory considers all applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), national origin, age, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), protected veteran status, and any other status or characteristic protected by federal, state, and/or local laws.

We are committed to providing reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application procedures and in employment. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, contact us at

Drug Free Workplace

PNNL is committed to a drug-free workplace supported by Workplace Substance Abuse Program (WSAP) and complies with federal laws prohibiting the possession and use of illegal drugs.

Mandatory Requirements

Battelle requires employees to have a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment, subject to accommodation. Applicants are required to disclose their vaccination status following a conditional offer of employment and must attest to being fully vaccinated with a Center for Disease Control (CDC)-approved COVID-19 vaccination or provide documentation of need for medical or religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement.

Please be aware that the Department of Energy (DOE) prohibits DOE employees and contractors from having any affiliation with the foreign government of a country DOE has identified as a "country of risk" without explicit approval by DOE and Battelle. If you are offered a position at PNNL and currently have any affiliation with the government of one of these countries, you will be required to disclose this information and recuse yourself of that affiliation or receive approval from DOE and Battelle prior to your first day of employment.

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Senior Data Scientist 4 - NLP

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory