Self Photo
Research Fellow, Michigan Society of Fellows
Department of Mathematics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems
University of Michigan

I am an applied mathematician and general scientist with a specialization in dynamical systems, networks, and algorithms. I use methods from these and other areas of mathematics to study problems in a range of fields, including biology, ecology, sociology, linguistics, engineering, and philosophy. I am especially interested in problems that are both mathematically interesting and of strong fundamental or practical significance in some clear and direct sense. (I find this constraint limiting enough that drawing from a broad range of fields is helpful.) For each problem, I try to arrive at a new solution by building up from fundamental principles.

The following are students that have conducted research with me for one or more academic terms. All of them either are undergraduates or were so when they worked with me. (Some are now in graduate school or industry positions.)

[Last updated January 27, 2015.]
Photo of Dom Parise

Dominick is in a Computer Science major at the University of Michigan. He is the Technology Chair of the University of Michigan Chapter of Kappa Theta Pi, a Professional Technology Fraternity, and Lead Developer of the technology startup Vivergy. Dominick has worked on projects ranging from parsing and analyzing the structure of English language lexicons, to coding interactive multi-player web environments for online experiments, to implementing and optimizing ranking algorithms for computational testing.

Photo of Linglu Zhou

Linglu is completing a B.S. in Statistics at the University of Michigan. She is a James B. Angell Scholar and has helped organize TEDx talks at the University of Michigan. She is fluent in numerous computer languages – R, C/C++, Java, PL/SQL, Python, SPSS, several different platforms for data visualization – and has industry experience in predictive analytics at Target and Cisco. She has helped extensively with extracting, parsing and storing definitions from online lexicons.

Photo of Namyi Kang

Namyi is receiving a B.A. in Mathematics from Amherst College and will be joining Deloitte after graduation. She has lived in five countries on four continents and is proficient in six languages. She has been a visiting student at the University of Oxford, completing training in Mathematics and Experimental Psychology. During an REU summer research experience at Michigan, Namyi rapidly developed a web-based interface for an interactive online environment to investigate mechanisms for the emergence of language.

Photo of Cheng Qian

Cheng Qian is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Statistics at the University of Michigan. He has a B.S. in Mathematics from Southeast University in Nanjing, China and has received numerous honors, including being named among the Top 200 Chinese University Students of 2010 and receiving the distinction of meritorious winner in the 2010 International Mathematical Content in Modeling. Cheng was critical in helping to evaluate several very early stage research projects with computational and analytical work.

Photo of Anna Papush

Anna is a Ph.D. student in Operations Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research interests lie in using statistics and optimization to address open questions in sociology, business, and economics. While an undergraduate in the Department of Mathematics at Cornell University, she contributed to a paper on encouraging moderation, available here. The paper was published in Physical Review Letters, where it received an Editors' Suggestion distinction.

I also feel that I should acknowledge my appreciation to a special set of individuals that have had a critical effect on the trajectory that my life has taken. The course of a life is often determined by a few pivotal moments, and each of the following individuals were present at one of those points in my life and made a choice that dramatically changed my life for the better. I have intentionally omitted family and peers.

Paul Cherukuri, Michael Daniels, David Delchamps, Lawrence Endo, Terrence Fine, Mel Hochster, John Hopcroft, Randall Hulet, Jon Kleinberg, Robert Kleinberg, Adam Law, Donald Lopez, Mark Newman, Scott Page,
Richard Smalley, Steven Strogatz, Lon Wilson

To these and others whose names or contributions I do not know but to whom I am no less indebted, thank you.