Peter J. Mucha

Mucha-Peter_MG_3547 Affiliations:
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 scholars Peter Diao, Clara Granell, Saray Shai and Dane Taylor; graduate students Sam Heroy (co-advised with Greg Forest), Jessime Kirk (in Mauro Calabrese’s lab), Natalie Stanley and William Weir; and undergraduates Daniel Cantwell, Scott Emmons, Ryan Gibson, Austen Kelly, Nic Larsen, Zichao Li, Alex Touzov, Sean Xiao and Eileah Zugger. 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:  I grew up in Minnesota and moved east to attend college at Cornell University where I majored in Engineering Physics. After taking a Churchill Scholarship to study in the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge with an M.Phil. in Physics, I returned to the States to continue my 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, I 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.

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/).