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, I currently serve as the treasurer 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. Outside of my studies in the mathematics department, I am working on a master’s degree in computer science focusing on topics in 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