Mathematics Faculty Develops Algorithms with Predictive Capabilities

Junyuan “Joanne” Lin brings expertise in computational graph theory, machine learning and data mining to her position as assistant professor of mathematics at Loyola Marymount University. At the Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering, Lin will continue her research and collaborating with industry in using computational graph theory to analyze data sets.

As she began teaching precalculus to undergraduates in the fall of 2019, Lin was excited to see the results of her doctoral work at Tufts University published in two journals: Nature Methods and the IEEE Journal.

The first publication was the culmination of a winning team effort in an international data-mining competition to classify and cluster proteins in different species to provide a basis for future research into disease etiologies and treatment. The second publication was the development of an algorithm to calculate global rankings of movies, which sets the stage for machines to learn how to make recommendations for users.

“We are really excited,” said Lin. “We have a lot of new ideas for refining the algorithms.” Lin hopes to garner student interest in this area of mathematics, and bring on student researchers.

Lin moved from Qingdao, a coastal city in China, to pursue an academic career in mathematics. Her parents traveled from Qingdao this summer to attend her graduation, and then they spent a month together touring the United States.

Before earning her Ph.D. in mathematics in 2019 from Tufts University, she earned a master’s in mathematics from Tufts as well. Her bachelor’s degree—also in mathematics—is from Pepperdine University.

In her off hours, she pursues her dual passions of ping-pong and music. While living in China, Lin was selected to join a professional ping-pong team but decided against becoming a professional athlete. Sometimes she plays her father but has yet to beat him.

“I think once it was my birthday and he took it easy on me,” she says. “But I still didn’t win.”

Lin is also into mastering new musical instruments. She’s played the piano since she was a young child, took up guitar in middle school, and is currently learning violin. While in graduate school on the East Coast, Lin played keyboards in a punk band. Now on the West Coast, Lin will be looking to join a new band.