Peter J. Mucha

Department of Mathematics
Carolina Center for Interdisciplinary Applied Mathematics
Department of Applied Physical Sciences
Social Network Analysis at Carolina
Duke Network Analysis Center
Curriculum in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

Research:  We embrace an interdisciplinary approach to data science focused on networks and network representations. We use mathematical models and statistical principles to develop and apply computational tools for the study of real-world data, working in close collaboration with domain science experts. With “nodes” representing objects of interest and “edges” that connect the nodes representing relationships or similarities, the concept of a network can be flexibly used across many applications. Most people are familiar with the concept of a network in terms of hyperlinked web pages or online social networks, and online networks are indeed an area of broad interest (including some of our own work). But networks can be successfully applied to a much wider variety of connected systems, and our group’s collaborations have included researchers in departments of Archaeology, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Finance, Geography, Infectious Diseases, Neuroscience, Pharmacology, Pharmacy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Public Policy, Sociology, and Statistics, among others.

Group:  Our research group currently includes postdoctoral scholar Peter Diao; graduate students Sam Heroy (co-advised with Greg Forest), Natalie Stanley and William Weir; undergraduates Scott Emmons, Ryan Gibson, Nic Larsen and Eileah Zugger; and NCSSM high school student Vanessa Lin. Each is working on some aspect of the study of networks, including developments in community detection, network representations of data, modeling network dynamics, model interactions in networked materials, and diffusive processes with applications to disease and health behaviors. Our group activities are fundamentally collaborative, with a variety of ongoing collaborations with students and faculty from other departments and universities.

My other pages:

  • NetWiki is our old dual-purpose wiki about network science, including space both for private collaborations and public posting of data and links. While we no longer actively maintain most of this wiki, the publicly-available lists of data and links remain there. We also keep there the latest release of our GenLouvain code, a generalized Louvain method for community detection implemented in MATLAB.
  • Random Walker Rankings is my blog with Thomas Callaghan about mathematics and statistics in sports, with special emphasis on our RW/RWFL rankings of college football.
  • The Biocalculus@UNC wiki describes our efforts to provide a first-year Calclulus sequence that is better aligned with the needs of students in biology and the health sciences.
  • My courses includes information about a subset of the other courses I have taught.
  • Carolina Corollaries is the online newsletter that I previously edited for the Department of Mathematics (this online edition started when I was Chair of the Department).

Biographical Sketch: Peter Mucha is a Professor of Mathematics and Applied Physical Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He grew up in Minnesota, moving east to attend college at Cornell University where he majored in Engineering Physics. After taking a Churchill Scholarship to study in the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge with an M.Phil. in Physics, he returned to the States to continue his studies at Princeton with an M.A. and Ph.D. in Applied and Computational Mathematics. Following a postdoctoral instructorship in applied mathematics at MIT, and a tenure-track assistant professorship in Mathematics at Georgia Tech, he moved to Chapel Hill to join the Department of Mathematics and the Institute for Advanced Materials (now folded into the new Department of Applied Physical Sciences) at UNC. His research includes a variety of topics in network science, including developments in community detection, network representations of data, and modeling dynamics on and of networks. His group activities are fundamentally interdisciplinary, with collaborations on varied topics across the mathematical, physical, life, and social sciences.

Pronunciation: If you really want to get it right, my last name is pronounced the same way as Alphonse Mucha’s (sound file). My own Americanized pronunciation comes out sounding like the vowel and ‘k’ in the word “book” (/’mʊk-a/).