Areas of Interest

I am a second year graduate student interested in applied mathematics; specifically applications of numerical optimization, machine learning, and numerical linear algebra. Currently, I am studying the development and implementation of algorithms for solving constrained optimization problems. I am working as a research assistant for Dr. William Hager. Additionally, this year I am pleased to be serving as the president of the student chapter of SIAM at the University of Florida. Some of my interests that lie outside of the mathematics department are programming and music. When I am not busy studying mathematics, I often venture over to the computer science department to attend lectures.


Before my time at the University of Florida, I received my Master of Science in Mathematics from Georgia Southern University where I then served as a mathematics instructor for two years. During my studies at Georgia Southern University, I focused on combinatorics and number theory. My master’s thesis, titled Restricted Compositions, was written under the direction of Dr. Andrew Sills.

Contact Information

Email: jdiffen1 [at] ufl [dot] edu
Phone: (352) 294-2350
Office: 463 Little Hall

Mailing address:
Department of Mathematics
PO Box 118105
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611-8105