New Faculty to Apply Mathematical Thinking to Major Issues

News subtitle

Professors Peter Mucha and Dimitrios Giannakis join the Jack Byrne Academic Cluster.

Aerial view of campus in summer
(Photos by Eli Burakian ’00)

Peter Mucha and Dimitrios Giannakis are the newest members of the Jack Byrne Academic Cluster in Mathematics and Decision Science.

A specialist in the mathematics of networks, Mucha was named the Jack Byrne Distinguished Professor in Mathematics, and Giannakis, who specializes in data science and the analysis of dynamical systems, was appointed professor of mathematics, affiliated with the Byrne Cluster.

The interdisciplinary team focuses on applying mathematical thinking to major challenges in health care, transportation, manufacturing, and other fields. James Smith, the Jack Byrne Distinguished Professor in Decision Science at Tuck School of Business, joined the cluster in 2018.

Portrait of Peter Mucha, arms crossed, outside
Peter Mucha, the Jack Byrne Distinguished Professor in Mathematics. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

Mucha’s and Giannakis’ research applies the tools of network analysis and data science in collaborations across the mathematical, physical, life, and social sciences, to address real-world problems, says Interim Provost David Kotz ’86.

“Their work, along with James Smith’s, represents a fundamentally interdisciplinary collaboration at the leading edge of discovery in mathematics and decision science,” says Kotz. “This is the founding principle of the academic cluster initiative.”

“The cluster-hiring strategy expands the ecosystem of faculty, students, and postdocs already working in these and related areas, creating an enhanced, multidisciplinary environment that fosters activity within and across fields,” says Kotz.

Mucha, who earned his PhD in applied and computational mathematics from Princeton and most recently worked as a professor of mathematics and applied physical sciences at UNC–Chapel Hill, says the cluster initiative was one of the things that attracted him to Dartmouth.

“The Byrne Cluster was particularly appealing to me because its goals are so well aligned with the activities of my research group, both developing new mathematical tools for analyzing data and working with others to use those tools in different applications,” Mucha says.

Portrait of Dimitrios Giannakis outside, button down shirt
Dimitrios Giannakis, the Jack Byrne Professor in Mathematics. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

Giannakis says he looks forward to working across disciplines to envision new approaches to contemporary problems.

“One of my primary research areas is climate dynamics, and I am excited about the opportunities that the Byrne Cluster will provide for innovative work in this area, in both its physical and societal dimensions,” Giannakis says.

The cluster is part of the Academic Cluster Initiative, which brings together faculty from across the institution to shape and advance knowledge about current and emerging issues.