Academic year 2021/22


My short blog entry, inspired by The Slow Professor, says: "As I start this (first ever!) year of sabbatical leave, I set goals for myself: 1) tie up loose ends, close gaps; and 2) reinvent myself." Let's get started!

What is this page all about?!
Perhaps it's a high-level diary of activities during my first ever sabbatical year... and perhaps I want to make sure I keep myself in check and not fall into "the same old routine".


While away, I remain involved with my graduate students (obviously), but also with SoReMo (the Fellows are an inspiration to me!).

June 2022

Summer, anyone?
The algebraic statistics meeting which Elizabeth Gross, Vishesh Karwa, and I organized at the University of Hawaii last month was great!
Initial plans are under way for the four workshops we will organize during the IMSI semester on algebraic statistics in Fall 2023 - stay tuned!

It's a writing month
We submitted the revision of Learning a performance metric of Buchberger's algorithm to Involve and published the code and the data; we sought out a new venue for GoF of log-linear ERGMs; revisions are in progress for two other network papers; etc.
I am working on two grant proposals due by end of June.

What happens at an end of a sabbatical?
I'll reflect on my sabbatical goals when I wrap up these submissions at the end of June.

Good news/bad news
Academics will understand: among all the negative news, the acceptance of the joint paper w/ two students in Involve came as a refreshing and very welcome news in my inbox. :)

April - May 2022

AS2022 happening in Honolulu mid-May -- I'm so excited to welcome everyone to the meeting!

Paper revisions!
The marginal independence model was accepted for ISSAC 2022; and 4 others came back for revision - a busy month!

Social Responsibility
I pressed "publish" on the SoReMo Journal volume 2, issue 1 in April! And SoReMo fellows from Spring 2022 are presenting on May 12th.

Difficulties, pandemic, and physical&mental health
I lost most of April to illness, but some nice progress happened on the research front. I will be updating this page one more time with summer activities... as the sabbatical leave comes to an end.

March 2022


Hope to share fresh preprints next month! Visited Jesus De Loera in UC Davis for a week, working on a few projects with him and his student Felix Almendra Hernandez.


Ah. 8 referee reports is enough for the year, yes? Can I call it quits at this point?


SoReMo for the win! :)
Back in November, a group of 7 colleagues and me applied for Illinois Tech's membership in Public Interest Technology University Network. And now, we are in!

LinkedIn post
IIT News announcement

From "The five new member universities will undertake a range of innovative work, including interdisciplinary research on implicit bias; advocating for ethical and equitable approaches in computation, modeling, and design; building a public interest technology hub for historically Black colleges or universities in the South; and more. To date, PIT-UN has invested $11.6 million in projects to build a skilled and diverse pipeline of public interest technology practitioners and researchers. "

February 2022

Just keep writing, just keep writing...

Professional development
This month, I am
honored to join the 14th cohort of WISTEM at 1871.

I said 'yes' to a couple of service items this semester, even though I am on sabbatical. :( I hope it counts for something. To all those out there considering this: just say "no"! Take your time for your own research.

January 2022

The DERGMs paper, initiated a few years ago and finally majorly revised in 2021, is going to be published in Network Science! [View publication]

I learned a bit more about causality at the Simons Workshop this month -- woohoo! 2nd trip of the sabbatical. (This pandemic is exhausting.) The link to the workshop includes excellent lecture videos!

Have you heard of the FAIR prin
ciple? Have you heard of the MathRepo? Here is info on going FAIR and our related MathRepo link from the December 21 paper.

Social Responsibility
SoReMo fellows from Fall 2021 are wrapping up submissions
, reviews, and revisions of their reports, while the new class of fellows is being selected this week! They are tackling very deep and difficult topics; learn more and follow their progress at

December 2021

Marginal independence models came out of the study of conditional independence structures from matroids! Preprint arXiv:2112.10287.

IMSI approved our long program on Algebraic Statistics, Fall 2023! I have an amazing co-organizing committee - Elizabeth Gross, Jose Rodriguez, Bernd Sturmfels, Mathias Drton, Piotr Zwiernik, Elina Robeva, and Lek-Heng Lim. More information coming soon!

BIRS approved our workshop proposal with Greg Smith and Paul Breiding. See you at Banff in April 2023!

November 2021

Two theorems, cool structure, lots of pictures and computations... That's it for now.

Billy defended his thesis! Congratulations, Dr Schwartz! :)

In the early days of November, I re-connected with CERC and found out about an exciting potential for collaborating with Action Lab at the Institute of Design! I am so excited about the opportunity to collaborate with these colleagues outside of my department once I'm back from sabbatical!

A group of 7 colleagues and me -- lead by Laura Forlano (ID) -- applied for Illinois Tech's membership in Public Interest Technology University Network. Fingers crossed!! Let's hope this continues to support our SoReMo students and cross-disciplinary collaboration!

October 2021

This month I'm buried in a new problem. Welcome to math :)

Social Responsibility
In late October, I presented this short slide deck about the SoReMo initiative to the Board of Advisors of the College of Computing.

Venturing out
I've joined 1871 this month and their Pyros start-up programming to learn more. What an inspiring place!

July/August/September 2021

I'm diving deeper into learning and nonlinear algebra:

  • attending De Loera's research group twice-weekly meetings (Zoom, unfortunately, for now);

  • speaking at Danger workshop (remote) in August 2021;

  • speaking at Breiding's kick-off workshop at MPI-Leipzig in Septembrer 2021;

  • visiting Breiding & Sturmfels at MPI-Leipzig in September 2021.

I'm diving into new topics for statistical network modeling, with my research group, locally.

I'm organizing, too:

  • accepted proposal for an AMS special session at Purdue - with Aida Maraj, who admittedly did most of the work;

  • member of the Executive Committee of MEGA 2022 conference;

  • working on a collaborative workshop proposal for BIRS;

  • submitted a long program to the new institute IMSI in Chicago for one of the upcoming quarters;

  • re-vamping organization of AS2022 - the next US-based conference on Algebraic Statistics, with Elizabeth Gross and Vishesh Karwa -- it is happening in May 2022 with support from NSF to fund junior researchers!


"How to sabbatical" has interesting tips and also defines an academic sabbatical for those random readers of this page who are wondering "what is she talking about?!".

This comment about auto-replies made me laugh; now, I no longer send out the "my inbox is paused the next few days"-type auto-replies - thank you! you're welcome!


Simons Institute at Berkeley in January 2022.
My office at MPI Leipzig for two weeks in September 2021.
UC Davis campus, March 2022.
At 1871 #BreakTheBias, IWD2022