Peter J. Mucha

Mucha-Peter_MG_3547 Affiliations:
Department of Mathematics
Carolina Center for Interdisciplinary Applied Mathematics
Social Network Analysis at Carolina
Department of Applied Physical Sciences
Duke Network Analysis Center

Research:  Our current research focus is in networks. We use mathematical models and statistical principles to develop and apply computational tools for the study of real-world data. Networks appear across many disciplines and our group activities have included collaborations with Archeology, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Finance, Geography, Infectious Diseases, Neuroscience, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Public Policy, Sociology, and Statistics. With “nodes” representing actors of interest and “edges” connecting 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.

Group:  Our research group currently includes postdoctoral scholars Nishant Malik, Saray Shai and Dane Taylor; graduate students Sam Heroy, Hsuan-Wei “Wayne” Lee, Alexis Sparko and Natalie Stanley; frequent appearances by STOR graduate student James Wilson; and undergraduates Drew Cabaniss, Austen Kelly, Phillip Maraveyias, David Spencer and Sean Xiao. Each is working on some aspect of the study of networks, including developments in community detection, modeling network dynamics, collaborating with Greg Forest on model interactions in networked materials, and collaborating with Jim Moody on diffusive processes with applications to disease and health behaviors. The group also continues ongoing collaborations with a variety of graduate students from other departments and universities.

My other pages:

  • NetWiki is a dual-purpose wiki about network science, including space both for private collaborations and public posting of data and links.
  • 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 edit for the Department of Mathematics (launched when I was Chair of that Department).

Biographical Sketch:  After a childhood spent mostly in Minnesota, I moved east to attend college at Cornell University where I majored in Engineering Physics. I then took a Churchill Scholarship to study in the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge with an M.Phil. in Physics. Returning to the States, I continued my studies at Princeton, leading to 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, Nanoscience and Technology (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/).