Research Scientist — Compilers & Programming Languages

About Basis

Basis is a nonprofit applied AI research organization with two mutually reinforcing goals.

The first is to understand and build intelligence. This entails establishing the mathematical principles of reasoning, learning, decision-making, understanding, and explaining, and constructing software that embodies these principles.

The second is to advance society’s ability to solve intractable problems. This involves expanding the scale, complexity, and breadth of problems we can solve today and, more importantly, accelerating our ability to solve problems in the future.

To achieve these goals, we are building both a new technological foundation inspired by human reasoning, and a new type of collaborative organization that prioritizes human value

About the Role

Research scientists advance Basis’ efforts to develop a deeper understanding of the conceptual, mathematical, and computational principles of intelligence.

Research scientists at Basis are distinguished by the following traits:

  1. Exceptional technical depth—solid mathematical and computational foundations.
  2. A builder’s mindset—ability to design, construct, and refine complex systems from foundational principles.
  3. Scientific rigor—rigorous, high-quality, robust science, without fear of tinkering, making mistakes, and exploring radically different ideas in order to get there.

Basis is a collaborative effort, both internally and with our external partners; we are looking for people who enjoy working with others on problems larger than ones they can tackle alone.

Programming Languages Research Scientists

This role targets experts in programming languages design, implementation, and analysis. Research scientists will help design and implement the core computational reasoning systems that Basis is developing.

The core areas of PL research encompass compiler design, partial evaluation, program analysis, abstract interpretation, and program transformation. These are developed within the context of building reasoning systems. Consequently, research scientists will also engage with topics such as probabilistic programming, automatic differentiation, and SAT/SMT solvers, among others.

We expect you to:

  • Have a PhD (or equivalent experience) in a relevant area.
  • Have demonstrated an ability to conduct first-class scientific research, published in venues such as PLDI, OOPSLA, and POPL, or in technical reports.
  • Have demonstrated an ability to write excellent software.
  • Be excited about solving real-world problems and having a positive societal impact.
  • Have demonstrated significant technical achievements within PL research and engineering. Examples include:
    • You’ve designed the full stack of a novel programming language, all the way from a formalized semantics to an optimized compiler
    • You’ve contributed heavily to the compiler infrastructure of a machine learning or statistics framework, such as PyTorch, Stan, or Jax
    • You’ve built a program analysis technique that has helped identify bugs or inefficiencies in a real code base.


  • Design, implement, and maintain programming languages tools for Basis' core reasoning technology.
  • Develop and explore computational theories of intelligence, including reasoning, learning, and decision-making.
  • Collaborate with domain experts on Basis scientific and societal challenge problems.
  • Publish and present findings in journals and conferences (optional).
  • Contribute to the culture and direction of Basis

Role Details

Exceptional candidates who may not meet all of the following criteria are still encouraged to apply.

  • FT/PT: This is a full-time position
  • Hours: While we prioritize in-person collaboration for its benefits to creative work, there is a degree of flexibility in your working hours. Expect to be available during certain set times each week for meetings, and be prepared to attend multi-day Basis-wide in-person events.
  • Location: This role is in-person in either New York City or Boston.
  • Salary range: Competitive salary and bonuses