Alex Dunbar


I'm a fourth-year PhD candidate in Mathematics at Emory University coadvised by Vicki Powers and Greg Blekherman (Georgia Tech). I graduated from Rice University in 2020 with a BS in Mathematics and a BA in Computational and Applied Math.

My research interests are broadly in algebraic methods for optimization and machine learning. Most recently, I have been thinking about applied aspects of real and tropical geometry.

Find my CV here.

Research Interests

My research interests are in applied algebraic geometry, real algebraic geometry, optimization, and machine learning. I am particularly interested in interactions between real algebraic geometry and semidefinite programming as well as applications of tropical geometry in machine learning.

Publications and Preprints

  1. "Alternating Minimization for Regression with Tropical Rational Functions" (with Lars Ruthotto ). Submitted. Code ArXiv Preprint
  2. "Relaxations and Duality for Multiobjective Integer Programming" (with Saumya Sinha and Andrew J. Schaefer). Mathematical Programming. Published Verison Optimization Online Preprint ArXiv Preprint

Conference Presentations

  1. "Alternating Minimization for Regression with Tropical Rational Functions". SIAM Conference on Applied Algebraic Geometry 2023, Minisymposium on Real Algebraic Geometry and Optimization.
  2. "Alternating Minimization for Regression with Tropical Rational Functions". AMS Spring Southeastern Sectional Meeting 2023, Special Session on Algebraic Methods in Algorithms
  3. "An Alternating Minimization Algorithm for Regression with Tropical Rational Functions". Combinatorial, Computational, and Applied Algebraic Geometry 2022 (CCAAGS-22), Poster Session (poster)
  4. "Relaxation and Duality for Multiobjective Integer Programming". INFORMS Annual Meeting 2020, Undergraduate Operations Research Prize Session A

I am teaching Advanced Calculus (MATH 211) at Emory in Fall 2023.

Some interactive graphs in Desmos which I used to supplement my Calculus I lecture notes can be found here.

Previous Teaching:

Emory Mathematics Directed Reading Program

I have been a graduate student mentor for the Emory Mathematics DRP since Fall 2021. In Spring 2022, I joined the steering comittee to help organize the program. Starting in Fall 2023, I co-direct the program with Shilpi Mandal. For more information about the program, see the DRP website.

Past reading topics include:


When I am not doing math, I enjoy distance running. In college, I competed on the Rice Cross Country and Track & Field (5000m, 10000m) teams. Since graduating, I have participated in a variety of races on roads and trails. (Picture is from 2022 Lousiana Half Marathon)