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Timothy LaRock

PhD Student

Contact

Office Location

177 Huntington Avenue
10th Floor
Boston, MA 02115

Biography

Tim is a third year doctoral student advised by Tina Eliassi-Rad. His work falls at the intersection of network science, data mining and machine learning. In particular, Tim’s research seeks to identify and understand sequential patterns and dependencies in network data, such as passenger movement through public transit systems, goods through logistics networks, or users navigating the Web. Prior to joining the Institute in 2016, Tim completed a BS in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics with a minor in Philosophy at the State University of New York at Albany, where he conducted research on load balancing in cellular networks and unsupervised transmitter detection in wireless frequency spectrum data, under the supervision of Prof. Petko Bogdanov and Prof. Mariya Zheleva.

Education

  • BS in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, State University of New York at Albany

About Me

  • Hometown: Elizabethtown, New York
  • Field of Study: Network Science
  • PhD Advisor: Tina Eliassi-Rad

What are the specifics of your graduate education (thus far)?

I have spent the first two years of my PhD studying the intersection of network science and machine learning. I have developed methods for adaptively learning to complete partially observed networks through node querying, as well as methods for identifying anomalies in pathway or sequence data.

What are your research interests in a bit more detail? Is your current academic/research path what you always had in mind for yourself, or has it evolved somewhat? If so, how/why?

I am broadly interested in understanding the way things in the world interact with one another. This is what makes network science appealing to me, because networks provide mathematical models to study interaction. My background is in computer science and I studied some data mining and signal processing during my undergraduate work.

What’s one problem you’d like to solve with your research/work?

I would like to develop methods that can uncover the mechanisms behind the movement of things through networks, whether those things are people through transportation networks, packages through logistics networks or signals through brain networks.

What aspect of what you do is most interesting/fascinating to you? What aspects of your research (findings, angles, problems you’re solving) might surprise others?

The scope of network science is a large part of its appeal to me. The number of systems that can be modeled effectively using networks is huge and growing.

I think my research area is surprising because the problems are very intuitive. We all travel across road networks, click hyperlinks on the world wide web, and get packages in the mail. We are intimately familiar with many systems that can be modeled as pathways through networks, but our tools for analyzing them and really understanding how they work are still being developed.

What are your research/career goals, going forward?

I would like to finish my PhD.