About Me

visualization of residual of iterative projection method for linear inequalities

I am an Assistant Professor in the Mathematics Department at Harvey Mudd College. My research focuses are in mathematical data science, optimization, and applied convex geometry. I leverage mathematical tools, such as those from probability, combinatorics, and convex geometry, on problems in data science and optimization. Areas in which I have been active recently include randomized numerical linear algebra, combinatorial methods for convex optimization, tensor decomposition for topic modeling, network consensus and ranking problems, and community detection on graphs and hypergraphs.

Before starting at HMC, I received my PhD in the Graduate Group in Applied Mathematics at the University of California, Davis where I was fortunate to be advised by Professor Jesús A. De Loera, and then was a CAM Assistant Professor (post-doc) in the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Mathematics Department where my exceptional postdoctoral mentor was Professor Deanna Needell.

Recent News

June ‘22: In 2022-2023, I am co-organizing the One World Mathematics of Information, Data, and Signals (MINDS) Seminar! Given the impossibility of travel during the COVID-19 crisis the One World MINDS seminar was founded as an inter-institutional global online seminar aimed at giving researchers interested in mathematical data science, computational harmonic analysis, and related applications access to high quality talks. Talks are held on Thursdays either at 2:30 pm New York time or at 4:30 pm Shanghai/ 9:30 am (summer 10:30 am) Paris time.

June ‘22: Our (with co-organizer Phil Chodrow) minisymposium on “Tensor Methods for Network Data Science” was accepted to the SIAM Conference on the Mathematics of Data Science (MDS22) which is to be held in San Diego, CA in September 2022! We have four fabulous speakers, Izabel P. Aguiar (Stanford University), Tamara Kolda (MathSci.ai), “Bill” Feng Shi (TigerGraph), and Francesco Tudisco (GSSI), who will speak about the exciting new developments of tensor-based methods for data science problems related to networks.

June ‘22: This month I have the honor of speaking in the Harvey Mudd College Stauffer Lecture series where I will describe my work in “Tensor Models, Methods, and Medicine.” Additionally, I will speak (virtually) to the Rice University “Data Scientists in Training” Outreach Program where I will describe my path to research in mathematical data science!

May ‘22: Check out this amazing video my summer 2021 research student Hannah Kaufman made! In it, she illustrates how the Kaczmarz method works for solving linear systems, and presents an application to the problem of rating items according to pairwise comparison information. Way to go, Hannah!!

April ‘22: We (with collaborators Phil Chodrow and Nicole Eikmeier) submitted our paper Nonbacktracking spectral clustering of nonuniform hypergraphs! In this paper, we propose methods for community detection on nonuniform (containing edges of different sizes) hypergraphs – one is a simple spectral approach using the nonbacktracking operator and the other is an alternating approach based upon linearized belief-propagation (the nonbacktracking operator appears here too!). We additionally provide some theorems that improve computational complexity of working with the nonbacktracking operator and other large matrices appearing in our methods.

April ‘22: Our (with student Edwin Chau) paper On Application of Block Kaczmarz Methods in Matrix Factorization was accepted to SIAM Undergraduate Research Online (SIURO)! In this work, we discuss and test a block Kaczmarz solver that replaces the least-squares subroutine in the common alternating scheme for matrix factorization. This variant trades a small increase in factorization error for significantly faster algorithmic performance. In doing so we find block sizes that produce a solution comparable to that of the least-squares solver for only a fraction of the runtime and working memory requirement!

March ‘22: I am participating in the IAS Women and Mathematics “The Mathematics of Machine Learning” at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton, NJ! This program will be held from May 21-27, 2022 and will feature lectures by Cynthia Rudin (Duke University) and Maria-Florina Balcan (Carnegie Mellon University). Looking forward to meeting an exceptional group of faculty and students and learning about some great new topics!

March ‘22: I am participating in the AMS MRC program “Models and Methods for Sparse (Hyper)Network Science “ as an assistant to the organizers! This program will be held June 5-11, 2022 at Beaver Hollow Conference Center in Java Center, NY and will deal with graph and hypergraph models and their applications to real world study of critical systems. Looking forward to the opportunity to learn and network with this exceptional community.

March ‘22: I am co-organizing the Southern California Applied Mathematics Symposium (SOCAMS) with Heather Zinn-Brooks (Harvey Mudd College), Christina Edholm (Scripps College), Manuchehr Aminian (Cal Poly Pomona), Phil Chodrow (UCLA), Anna Ma (UCI), Adam MacLean (USC), Chris Miles (UCI), and Alona Kryshchenko (CSU Channel Islands). This one-day meeting will be held on the campus of Harvey Mudd College on May 21, 2022! This conference aims to bring together researchers from universities throughout Southern California, working in all areas of Applied Mathematics, for a one-day exchange of ideas in an informal and collaborative atmosphere. More information and registration available at https://www.socams.org”!

February ‘22: Elizaveta Rebrova (Princeton Univ. ORFE) and I are organizing sessions titled “Randomized Iterative Methods beyond Least-squares” and “Tensor Modeling and Optimization” for the “Optimization for Data Science and Machine learning” cluster at the seventh International Conference on Continuous Optimization (ICCOPT) which will take place at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania during July 25-28, 2022. We have two great slates of speakers organized to speak on these topics!

February ‘22: Applications are now open for my funded summer undergraduate research projects Tensor Models and Methods for Medical Imaging, Numerical Linear Algebraic Analyses of Opinion Dynamics on Networks, and Iterative Methods for Large-scale Systems of Linear Equations! Applications may be submitted via the HMC URO portal until February 20.