ResearchMy research interests include convex analysis, matrix analysis, conic programming, and their applications to nonlinear optimization.
My current focus is on the relaxation of combinatorial optimization problems arising from applications in machine learning and highdimensional statistics, specifically, convex relaxations for learning tasks such as clustering and classification. 
Teaching
I am teaching Math 355: Introduction to Probability and Math 520 Linear Optimization Theory during Fall 2019
Materials from past courses can be found here.
I am the academic advisor for math majors with surnames starting with DF.
Please use this link to schedule an appointment. I am always interested in collaborating with promising undergraduate and graduate students. Please contact me here for more details.

Seminar TalksExact clustering by semidefinite programming under the heterogeneous planted cluster model.
UA Applied Math Seminar Friday January 25, 2019 Slides from earlier presentations can be found here.

Biography
I am an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the University of Alabama. I teach a variety of courses in the Department of Mathematics and conduct research in the area of optimization and its applications in engineering, statistics, and computer science.
Prior to joining the University of Alabama, I was a Von Karman Instructor in Applied and Computational Mathematics in the Department of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at the California Institute of Technology (20132014 academic year), where I worked with Dr. Joel Tropp, and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications at the University of Minnesota (20112013 academic years), where I worked with the Optimization for Signal Processing and Communication research group.
I completed my Ph.D. in July of 2011 under the direction of Dr. Stephen Vavasis in the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization at the University of Waterloo. I previously studied in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Guelph where I obtained a M.Sc. in Applied Mathematics (completed under the direction of Dr. Hristo Sendov) and B.Sc. in Mathematics.
Prior to joining the University of Alabama, I was a Von Karman Instructor in Applied and Computational Mathematics in the Department of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at the California Institute of Technology (20132014 academic year), where I worked with Dr. Joel Tropp, and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications at the University of Minnesota (20112013 academic years), where I worked with the Optimization for Signal Processing and Communication research group.
I completed my Ph.D. in July of 2011 under the direction of Dr. Stephen Vavasis in the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization at the University of Waterloo. I previously studied in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Guelph where I obtained a M.Sc. in Applied Mathematics (completed under the direction of Dr. Hristo Sendov) and B.Sc. in Mathematics.