UNT Math Celebrates Successful PhD Dissertation Defenses | College of Science
July 16, 2019

UNT Math Celebrates Successful PhD Dissertation Defenses

Please join the College of Science in congratulating Di Wu, Rajanikanth Rajendran, Colin Craft, and Ed Brophy for their successful PhD dissertation defenses in UNT Mathematics. For information on our graduate programs and degrees in mathematics, where our students study alongside award-winning faculty and researchers, please visit https://math.unt.edu/academics/graduate-program-degrees.

"A Global Spatial Model for Loop Pattern Fingerprints and its Spectral Analysis"

Di Wu

Abstract: The use of fingerprints for personal identification has been around for thousands of years (first established in ancient China and India). Fingerprint identification is based on two basic premises that the fingerprint is unique to an individual and the basic characteristics such as ridge pattern do not change over time. Despite extensive research, there are still mathematical challenges in characterization of fingerprints, matching and compression. We develop a new mathematical model in the spatial domain for globally modeling loop pattern fingerprints. Although it is based on the well-known AM-FM (amplitude modulation and frequency modulation) image representation, the model is constructed by a global mathematical function for the continuous phase and it provides a flexible parametric model for loop pattern fingerprints. In sharp contrast to the existing methods, we estimate spatial parameters from the spectral domain by combining the exact values of frequencies with their orientations perpendicular to the fingerprint ridge flow. In addition, to compress fingerprint images and test background Gaussian white noise, we propose a new method based on periodogram spacings. We obtain the joint pdf of these m-dependent random variables at Fourier frequencies and derive the asymptotic distribution of the test statistic.

"A Novel Two-Stage Adaptive Method for Estimating Large Covariance and Precision Matrices"

Rajanikanth Rajendran

Abstract: Estimating large covariance and precision (inverse covariance) matrices has become increasingly important in high dimensional statistics because of its wide applications. The estimation problem is challenging not only theoretically due to the constraint of its positive definiteness, but also computationally because of the curse of dimensionality. Many types of estimators have been proposed such as thresholding under the sparsity assumption of the target matrix, banding and tapering the sample covariance matrix. However, these estimators are not always guaranteed to be positive-definite, especially, for finite samples, and the sparsity assumption is rather restrictive. We propose a novel two-stage adaptive method based on the Cholesky decomposition of a general covariance matrix. By banding the precision matrix in the first stage and adapting the estimates to the second stage estimation, we develop a computationally efficient and statistically accurate method for estimating high dimensional precision matrices. We demonstrate the finite-sample performance of the proposed method by simulations from autoregressive, moving average, and long-range dependent processes. We illustrate its wide applicability by analyzing financial data such S&P 500 index and IBM stock returns, and electric power consumption of individual households. The theoretical properties of the proposed method are also investigated within a large class of covariance matrices.

PhD Dissertation Defense: "Applications of a Model-Theoretic Approach to Borel Equivalence Relations"

Colin Craft

Abstract: The study of Borel equivalence relations on Polish spaces has become a major area of focus within descriptive set theory. Primarily, work in this area has been carried out using the standard methods of descriptive set theory. In this work, however, we develop a model-theoretic framework suitable for the study of Borel equivalence relations, introducing a class of objects we call Borel structurings. We then use these structurings to examine conditions under which marker sets for Borel equivalence relations can be concluded to exist or not exist, as well as investigating to what extent the Compactness Theorem from first-order logic continues to hold for Borel structurings.

PhD Dissertation Defense: "Prophet Inequalities for Multivariate Random Variables with Cost for Observations"

Edmond Brophy

Abstract: In prophet problems, two players with different levels of information make decisions to optimize their return from an underlying optimal stopping problem. The player with more information is called the "prophet" while the player with less information is known as the "gambler." In this presentation, as in the majority of the literature on such problems, we assume that the prophet is omniscient, and the gambler does not know future outcomes when making his decisions. Certainly, the prophet will get a better return than the gambler. But how much better? The goal of a prophet problem is to find the least upper bound on the difference (or ratio) between the prophet's return, M, and the gambler's return, V. Most prophet problems in the literature compare M and V when prophet and gambler buy (or sell) one asset. In this presentation, we present new prophet problems where prophet and gambler optimize their return from selling two assets, when there is a fixed cost per observation. Sharp bounds for the problem on small time horizons will be given; for the n-day problem, rough bounds and a description of the distributions for the random variables that maximize M-V will be presented.