Areas of Interest

I am a PhD candidate studying applied mathematics; specifically applications of numerical optimization, machine learning, and numerical linear algebra. Currently, I am focusing on the development and implementation of algorithms for solving nonlinear constrained optimization problems. I work as a research assistant for Dr. William Hager and for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Additionally and I currently serve as the treasurer of the student chapter of SIAM at the University of Florida. In addition to my studies in the mathematics department, I am working on a master’s degree in computer science focusing on machine learning and data science.


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