SIRTF Profiles: Xiuqin Wu
SSC Uplink Group Task Lead
Hi, my name is Xiuqin (pronounced Siu-Chin) Wu. I was born and raised in mainland China. I am a software engineer with a Master's degree in computer science. How did I get to work with astronomers here at Caltech? It was all because of my husband. He came to Caltech as a graduate student in Astronomy Department. I joined him in 1989. When he saw a job posted in his department for a programmer, he forwarded my resume to Dr. George Helou and Dr. Barry Madore. They hired me after talking to me for about half hour. That was how I got my first job here in the States.
I worked on NED (NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database) for the first eight years in IPAC. I was responsible for designing and implementing the user interface to search the database. NED has gone through the terminal interface, X-window based interface, and web interface. It was challenging and fun to work with astronomers. I am surrounded by talented people. After a while, I just took it for granted. I remembered that after I had an e-mail correspondence with a Russian astronomer who was quite famous I said at one NED meeting, "I am talking to famous astronomers." George and Barry looked at me and said, "You are working with them every day."
I joined SSC uplink group about six years ago. My main job has been to work with astronomers and software developers to develop Spot (SIRTF Planning and Observation Tool). Astronomers use Spot to design their observations. In April I was named task lead for the uplink group. It has brought more challenges to me. I need to learn more about the whole uplink system and balance the workload among my team members. So far I think I am handling it well thanks in large part to my team members who are all great to work with. SIRTF was launched successfully on August 25. Good news has been coming in every day. We are looking forward to the new, exciting discoveries SIRTF will make in the next few years.
I have an eight-year-old girl and a four-year-old boy. They have brought me lots of joy. Playing with them has filled all the time when I am not working.