I welcome motivated research students at all levels from undergraduate to PhD (I have also supervised a postdoctoral research fellow). I am always on the lookout for sources of funding for research students. Good NZ resident students have access to more sources of government funding, so my main effort is going into supporting non-resident students. The University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship is very competitive.
Current PhD students
Previous PhD students
- Strategic manipulation in voting systems, Reyhaneh Reyhani, PhD University of Auckland 2013.
- Hooman Alavizadeh (PhD, scientometrics) – transferred to Massey University after 1 year for funding reasons.
I have supervised around 10 projects at the undergraduate/honours level.
Working with me
The important things to know about me as a supervisor are:
- A student project is a partnership (the more advanced the level, the more direction is left to the student). The amount of work that I put in will be proportional to the amount of work that the student does.
- I am best motivated by very diligent students who have a lot of initiative and ask a lot of good questions. It is never too early to start thinking for yourself.
- I typically meet weekly for at least an hour with each student.
I respond much better to students who are well prepared for our regular meetings. Time is valuable.
- Provided the student works hard, I will do my absolute best to ensure that the student gains as much as possible from the experience.
- I prefer a friendly working relationship without excessive formality or deference. But I expect students to listen very seriously to any advice I give.
These vary from summer scholarship projects to PhD theses. The main differences are as follows.
- The time allotted to research. For example, summer projects (8 weeks full time), honours dissertations (1 year 1/4 time), master theses (1 year) and PhD theses (3-4 years) vary considerably.
- The level of self-direction expected of the student. Typically, the shorter the project, the less experience the student has, and the more direction will be given.
- The type of results expected. For a summer project, the idea is to advance my research in ways that will eventually lead to publication of new results. An honours dissertation is typically expected to show good knowledge of the specific subject and good understanding of the conventions of research writing. A master’s is expected to exhibit these to a higher degree. Neither is required to produce original research results. The PhD thesis is of course expected to contain substantial original research.
- The methodology. My research projects typically require a mixture of numerical results derived from implementing a good algorithm, symbolic mathematical computations often using software to assist, and rigorous mathematical proofs. The shorter ones usually concentrate on numerical results and the longer ones on proofs, but it very much depends on the student. Commonly, students perform computer-assisted explorations to give insight into phenomena about which we may be able to prove something (“experimental mathematics”).
- Advice on research from Richard Hamming (well-known researcher from Bell Labs)
- Advice on research from Michael Nielsen (University of Queensland)
- Advice on research from John C. Baez (U.C. Riverside)
- Advice on reading a research paper from S. Keshav (University of Waterloo)
- Advice on writing a research paper from Simon Peyton Jones (Microsoft Research, Cambridge)
- Advice on giving a research talk from Simon Peyton-Jones
- Advice on writing a thesis from Steve Easterbrook (University of Toronto)
- How to write mathematics by Paul Halmos
- How to be a good graduate student by Marie desJardins
- 12 resolutions for graduate students by Matt Might
- Productivity tips, tricks and hacks by Matt Might
- Ten simple rules for many aspects of academic life published in PLoS Computational Biology