We work on fun & challenging problems in nonlinear algebra, nonlinear statistics, and at their intersection. 

Join us at the seminars! 


Research group

PhD student 2020 - 2024(expected)

Statistical network modeling, random sampling, and optimization. Support: partially supported by my DOE grant joint with Argonne.

Ivan Gvozdanović

PhD student 2023 - 2025(expected) 

Random sampling algebraic structures and reinforcement learning


Postdocs, PhD students, MS thesis students

Mateja Raič - PhD 2024

Mateja was a UIC student who worked under my supervision for her dissertation, formally supervised by Jan Verschelde. Her dissertation extends the work for our joint JRSS-B paper on testing model fit for discrete exponetial families. 

Billy was a PhD student working with me 2017-2021 and jointly supevised by Hemanshu Kaul. His dissertation, Algorithms for discrete data in statistics and operations research, includes a joint paper with the two advisors, another one with me and collaborators, as well as his independent research work.  

Shahrzad (Sara) Jamshidi - postdoc

Sara was a postdoc with me during 2018-2020, after which she moved to Lake Forest College as an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics. Soon after joining Lake Forest, she became the Director of the Applied Data Center. 

We have worked on machine learning for non-linear algebra and threaded Gröbner bases in Macaulay2 and Python.

Dane Wilburne - PhD 2018

Dane was a PhD student working with me 2013-2018. His dissertation was on Quantifying uncertainty in random algebraic objects using discrete methods.  

Despina Stasi - postdoc

Despina was a postdoctoral researcher working with me 2012-2014 at both Penn State and Illinois Tech, and then I was lucky to be able to hire her again 2015-2017. Her research includes statistical network models, structure-based algorithms, random structures. 

Elizabeth Gross - PhD 2013

Elizabeth was a PhD student working with me 2010-2013. Her dissertation was on Algebraic complexity problems in statistics using combinatorial and tensor methods.  

Martin Dillon - MS 2016

Masters of Applied Mathematics student. Research group member 2015-2016.

Research assistants - Masters/graduate & Undergraduate

Amirreza Eshraghi

Graduate (PhD) student researcher 2023-2024. 
Random sampling and optimization. Partially funded by the DoE Argonne joint grant. 

Jelena Mojsilovic

Undergraduate research assistant 2019-2021. 
Groebner bases: database &  predictions of computational complexity and structure. Next position: PhD Mathematics program at Purdue

Denis Bajic

Research Assistant (MS Data Science student), Summer 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017.
Sampling algorithms needed for fitting network models. Funded by AFOSR FA9550-14-1-0141.

Tanner Zielinski

Research Assistant (Masters of Applied Math student), 2018-2019.
Threaded Groebner bases in Python and M2. Joint project with Shahrzad Zelenberg. Funded by NSF DMS-1522662

Yuanfang Xiang

Undergraduate. Member 2014 calendar year. Computational problems in statistics. F.R. "Buck" McMorris Summer Research Stipend awardee. SIAM Undergraduate Research Online (SIURO) journal publication. Next position: graduate student in financial engineering at Cornell.

Weronika Swiechowicz 

Undergraduate. Research group member 2014-2016.
Applied and computational algebra. College of Science Dean's Undergraduate Research Stipend awardee.  SIAM Undergraduate Research Online (SIURO) journal publication. Next position: graduate student in mathematical and computational finance at Stanford.  

Xintong Li

Undergraduate. Research group member summer 2015. 
Solving polynomial systems with special structure: theory and computation. College of Science Dean's Undergraduate Research Stipend awardee.  Research presented at IIT Research Day 2016, Undergrad Math Symposium at UIC Oct 2016. 

Focused research groups

Learning Algebra 2019 group

Phillip Hosu, Travis Koehring, Jelena Mihajlovic-Klaric

Spring / summer 2019: undergraduate research group, jointly supervised with Despina Stasi and Shahrzad Zelenberg. 

RMI 2017 group

Genevieve Hummel, Parker Joncus, Daniel Kosmas, Richard Osborn, Monica Yun, and Tanner Zielinski.

Summer 2017 undergraduate research group for Random Monomial Ideals, jointly supervised with Despina Stasi.



Each researcher and each research group has their own philosophy when it comes to mentorship, advising, grades, etc. I recently came across the fantastic Lab Philosophy page  by Bradley Voytek, whom I had the luck of meeting through SoReMo Forum. With his permission, I am linking to his page here; I hope you will read a bit about mentoring, grades, and the imposter syndrome. 

The professor is in: grad school advice!