Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Discover how prized achievements around the world rely on mathematics and statistics

Mathematics is humanity's most powerful tool for comprehending the universe and is essential for many fields of modern endeavours such as science, technology, engineering and finance.

The study of Mathematics and Statistics at UWA involves data analysis, forecasting, decision making and detailed problem solving, while determining creative ways to improve modern life with mathematical tools and techniques.

The expertise of the Mathematics of Symmetry and Computation research cluster covers matrix groups and computational group theory, permutation groups, graph theory, finite geometry and buildings and matroid theory.

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics was awarded 5 out of 5 in Excellence of Research Australia in Mathematical Sciences (Pure and Applied Mathematics). 

Our course

Selecting an Honours project and supervisor

The project and dissertation is a pivotal element of the Honours year.

Your first task should be to find a supervisor and project you think will suit you.

Most staff work on a first-come-first-served basis, so we recommend you get in early.

Role of the supervisor:

While your Honours supervisor is your first contact when you have any issues, your project is ultimately your own responsibility and a degree of independence in your part is expected.

You should clarify early in the year the pattern of contact that you and your supervisor are going to have.

Support from your project supervisor includes:

  • Supervision meetings - student and supervisor usually meet weekly or fortnightly. Frequency of meetings increases as the project submission date approaches.
  • Reading of drafts - your supervisor will read a couple of drafts of your final dissertation providing you provide sufficient time for them - they may need three days to a week to read your draft and make comments.
  • Honours Seminar advice - your supervisor will provide advice for your Honours Seminar presentation in the Scientific Communication course.


Supervisors and project topics:

Applied mathematics and complex systems
  • Snezhana Abarzhi: Applied Mathematics - applied analysis, partial differential equations, dynamical systems, data analysis; Applied and Theoretical Physics - dynamics of plasmas, fluids, materials. Please see details of available projects here
  • Debora Correa: Music information retrieval with nonlinear time series analysis and complex networks. Please see details of available projects here
  • Neville FowkesModelling industrial and scientific problems. Please see details of available projects here
  • Des HillFluid mechanics, Differential equations, Dynamical systems
  • Jenny Hopwood: Atmospheric modelling
  • Thomas JunglingEcho-state networks for nonlinear time-series analysis.Please see details of available projects here
  • Miccal MatthewsTheoretical mechanics
  • David PfefferléMathematical physics: applications of differential geometry, Lagrangian/Hamiltonian dynamics, reduction by symmetry (Lie-Poincaré); Numerical methods: symplectic and structure-preserving integrators, finite-element, particle-in-cell, Monte-Carlo; Plasmas: Magneto-hydrodynamics, kinetic theories and collisional fluid closure
  • Leonardo PortesUnveiling the hidden stories within data: nonlinear time series analysis, complex systems, big data visualisation.
  • Michael SmallComplex systems, dynamical systems, nonlinear time series analysis, complex engineering systems.Please see details of available projects here
  • Thomas Stemler: Complex systems, dynamical systems, nonlinear time series analysis
  • David WalkerComplex systems data analysis, applications of complex networks. Please see details of available projects here
  • Ayham ZaitounyPositioning,navigating and tracking moving objects. Please see details of available projects here
Pure mathematics and discrete mathematics
  • John BambergPlease see details of available projects here
  • Alice DevillersPermutation groups, graphs, geometries
  • Serena DipierroMathematical analysis, partial differential equations, calculus of variations, nonlinear analysis, free boundary problems
  • Michael GiudiciPermutation groups,group theory,graph symmetry. Please see details of available projects here
  • Lyle NoakesApplications of differential geometry
  • Cheryl PraegerGroup Theory, geometry and combinatorics
  • Gordon RoyleAlgebra, geometry, graph theory
  • Phil SchultzAlgebra, history of mathematics
  • Luchezar StoyanovFractal geometry, topological dynamics, differential dynamics and inverse spectral problems
  • Enrico ValdinociPartial differential equations, nonlocal equations, free boundary problems, dynamical systems, atom dislocation in crystals, mathematical biology, differential geometry 
Mathematical statistics and applied statistics
  • Ed CrippsBayesian statistics, computational statistics, mixture models, model uncertainty
  • Nazim KhanProbability and stochastic processes, Medical and Biological statistics, Mathematics education. Please see details of available projects here 
  • John LauBayesian statistics, computational statistics, mixture models, Time series
  • Robin MilneStochastic processes, statistical inference, industrial statistics, history of probability and statistics
  • Gopal NairStochastic Modelling, Queuing theory, Spatial point processes, Probability Theory
  • Tony PakesProbability and stochastic processes
  • Adriano PolpoBayesian methods; Functional data analysis; Hypothesis test; (multi)bivariate data; Regression models (Categorical, Longitudina, Nonlinear, Penalised, Quantile); Reliability theory (survival analysis); Semiparametric models; Time series
  • Berwin TurlachComputational statistics, smoothing techniques, model selection
Other topics currently available
Statistical assessment of pile design approaches: Prof Barry Lehane and Prof Berwin Turlach

Our Reseach Areas

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics has research expertise across the areas of Applied Mathematics, Pure Mathematics and Statistics.  
Applied Mathematics

Applied Mathematics is about using the theory and techniques of mathematics and statistics to understand and deal with the real world.

Biological and physical sciences, computing, commerce, medicine, manufacturing industry and environmental management are some of the fields which need to connect with mathematics and its the job of the applied mathematician to make the connections.

Our researchers:

  • David M. WalkerComplex networks, Nonlinear time series, Dynamical systems, Modelling animal behaviour, granular media and other physical, ecological and biological systems
  • David Pfefferle - Kinetic theory, Fluid and plasma dynamics, Hamiltonian/Lagrangian mechanics, Numerical methods
  • Debora  Correa - Nonlinear time series, Machine learning, Dynamical systems, Complex systems
  • Miccal Matthews - Theoretical mechanics, Differential equations, Mathematical modelling
  • Michael Small - Complex systems, Complex networks, Non-linear dynamics, Complex data modeling
  • Nev Fowkes - Industrial modelling, Theoretical mechanics
  • Snezhana Abarzhi - Rayleigh-Taylor interfacial mixing
  • Thomas Jungling - Synchronisation, Reservoir computing, Complex systems, Dynamical systems
  • Thomas Stemler - Complex systems and networks, Nonlinear time series analysis, Dynamical systems, Paleo-climate proxy analysis and traffic modeling
  • Leonardo Portes - Complex systems-driven data science, Differential network analysis, Synchronisation, whatever is neccessary to find a needle in a haystack of data
  • Ayham Zaitouny - Positioning and tracking, Complex systems, Nonlinear time series, Dynamical systems, Geological, ecological and biological systems
  • Shannon Algar - Swarming, Reservoir Computing, Time series analysis
Pure Mathematics

Pure Mathemathematics is about understanding the fundamental properties of mathematical concepts and objects whose original motivation may have come from problems in the real world.

Topics can be categorised roughly as “algebra”, “combinatorics”, and “analysis”. Algebra and combinatorics have a discrete feel to it (like constructing or breaking codes), whereas analysis has a continuous flavour (like studying properties of mechanical systems).

Our researchers:

  • John Bamberg - Incidence geometry, Combinational computation
  • Alice Devillers - Graph theory, Incidence geometry, Combinational designs
  • Serena Dipierro - Partial differential equations, Free boundary problems, Calculus of variations, Nonlocal equations
  • Michael Giudici - Group theory, Graph theory
  • Stephen Glasby - Group theory, Group algorithms
  • Jesse Lansdown - Incidence geometry, Combinational computation
  • Luca Lombardini - Minimal surfaces, Calculus of variations, Nonlocal analysis, Partial differential equations, Geometric analysis
  • Lyle Noakes - Variational problems in differential geometry, and applications in approximation theory
  • Giorgio Poggesi - Partial differential equations, Geometric properties of solutions to PDE's, Geometric and functional inequalities, Shape optimisation, Free boundary problems, Calculus of variations, and applications
  • Gordon Royle - Graph theory, Matroid theory, Combinational computation
  • Luchezar Stoyanov - Dynamical systems and ergodic theory, geometry, scattering theory
  • Cheryl Praeger - Group theory, Graph theory, Combinatorial designs, Group algorithms
  • Enrico Valdinoci - Partial differential equations, Free boundary problems, Calculus of variations, Nonlocal equations

The study of mathematical statistics involves quantitative skills and knowledge of statistical methods, both their practical application and their mathematical foundations.

Applied statistics is concerned with the application of statistical methods. These applications can be in a huge variety of areas, such as medicine, business, finance, science and industry.

Research includes practical experience using computer systems to analyse data, and the ability to understand and criticise arguments based on numerical data or mathematical reasoning.

Our researchers:

Research Clusters associated with the Department

Community and industry engagement

WA Junior Mathematics Olympiad

UWA works with the Western Australia Mathematical Olympiad Committee to host the annual WA Junior Mathematics Olympiad for exceptional Year 7, 8 and 9 students.

The competition seeks to find the youngest mathematical minds in the state. Prizes include an award for the most outstanding Year 9 and Year 8 student, as well as prizes for the best mathematic team. A number of Western Australian universities sponsor the prizes, along with the Department of Education, New Edition Bookshop and Data Analysis Australia.

Find out more

Community engagement

Blakers Mathematics Competition

The 2020 Blakers Mathematics Competition is now closed.

The Blakers Mathematics Competition was established with a bequest from the family of Professor Larry Blakers after his death in 1995.

The first Competition was a local event, for UWA students only, in 1996.  Since 1997, the Competition has been held annually, open to first to third year students at any Western Australian university.

Professor Blakers was a Professor of Mathematics at UWA for 30 years and Head of Department for 29 of them. He played an important role in the foundation of the Australian Mathematical Society, the Australian Association of Mathematical Teachers and the Mathematical Association of Western Australia (MAWA), and was a founder and long term Director of the National Mathematics Summer School for gifted high school students which takes place in Canberra each year.

The UWA Department of Mathematics and Statistics offers $300 in prizes.

Eligible candidates for the 2020 competition are all undergraduates in first, second and third years at a WA university.

See honour roll of previous winners, and problems and solutions of previous years, here.

Download the 2020 problems

The Centre for Applied Statistics

The Centre for Applied Statistics provides expert training and consultancy in statistics to enable the University, industry and government to produce excellent research.

Visit the Centre here

The Cheryl Praeger Mathematics Academy

The Cheryl Praeger Mathematics Academy is an initiative of Joseph Banks Secondary College

Awards, Grants and Prizes

  • Prof Enrico Valdinoci (2002), Prof Cheryl Praeger (1973), Prof Michael Giudici (2002) and Prof Gordon Royle (1987) appear on the MathSciNet database as the most cited mathematicians in their graduating year.
  • Prof Inge Koch, who has accepted an invitation to be one of the Australian 'Women in Mathematics' and to feature in their exhibition and Prof Cheryl Praeger who is also featured in the exhibition.
  • Alex Bors who received a 2018 Kirkman Medal from the Institute of Combinatorics and its Applications. Kirkman Medals recognise excellent research by Fellows or Associate Fellows of the ICA early in their research career, as evidenced by an excellent body of published research. According to the citation he "has made outstanding contributions to the understanding of combinatorial and quantitative problems on finite groups. He addresses fundamental theoretical questions, some of which are motivated by practical applications. He seeks characterizations that support efficient algorithmic decidability".
  • Prof Snezhana Abarzhi features in the August PNAS Podcast, Science Sessions, 'Interfaces and Mixing'. Listen here or download the transcript here.

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