UNC gave us some server space, so I decided to create a small personal website on the .edu domain, thinking that would help catapult me to be the top result. I don't think it worked. Maybe in part because it was a horribly ugly plaintext website that looked like it was designed by a computer science professor in the 90s.read more
Getting to know Joe Puccio
Joe Puccio is currently studying Mathematics and Computer Science at UNC. Ever since he was a young lad, he has had a passion for math and technology.
Recent updates from Joe Puccio
In one of my Computer Science classes for this semester, we started learning about Graphs and their implementation as Adjacency matrices and I've been motivated to do my own research on the topics ever since. Seeing networks represented as matrices makes me understand why Linear Algebra is important, and (unlink last year), I'm now interested in matrices and their applications. I'd like to spend some time in the near future representing graphs as matrices with Java or perhaps figuring out patterns and useful tricks for understanding a graph based on its Adjacency matrix. Follow up: in a subsequent exploration of these objects, I determined an interesting way to represent a discrete dynamical system by recursively multiplying a vector by a matrix. This operation simulates a particle or file going through a network, where nodes in the network are connected to each other by directed edges, and the file is transferred to each of a node's connections once that node has the file. Interestingly, an edge from a node to itself was required for a file to still exist in any given node after any single evolution. Introducing probabilism might allow for more accurate modeling of the spread of a link amongst friends. That is, a node would spread the file to a connection probabilistically (perhaps a geometric distribution). Alternatively, and more deterministically, one could create weights to certain edges, and the system could be simulated with varying degrees of "weight thresholds", which is how weighted an edge must be for the file to be transferred across.
I've also enjoyed my Combinatorics class and the content we were learning about. There's just nothing quite like the satisfaction you get from figuring out a proof for a statement, and I feel like pure math is definitely what I should be studying in college. While there is a certain beauty to it, it is also very grounded and logical, which makes it different from a lot of other things that are regarded as beautiful. For instance, a piece of art has an intangible beauty that can't really be explained. So it's unusual to regard something purely logical as beautiful, but I think that's something that sets scientists apart from artists: they can see beauty in the logic and the processes that run our world.
I love learning how to make stuff. I have always admired people who build something from nothing, whether they be complicated, fully developed computers, or simple smart appliances that help get a common task done with more ease. 20 or 30 years ago, it may have been feasible to teach your son or daughter how to create something physical. But we live in a world where it isn't really that easy to learn how to build physical things, because recently we realized that things can be crafted with insurmountable precision using computers. So the best way to create in the modern world, is to do so using these amazing new gadgets.
I have been thinking a lot about design and what goes into making a product beautiful to people. I think that I have the capacity to determine whether something has a good design (but I'm not really sure how rare such a quality is), and critique and perfect preexisting designs, but I don't think that I am very good at creating something aesthetically pleasing from scratch. I have noticed, however, that when trying to design something, you have to take a lot of chances; sometimes, you just have to put something down on the paper and then work with it. And if you can't work with it, then you have to throw it out and hopefully you'll be able to propose a new one based on what didn't work with the last one. This process activates a part of my brain that I'm not forced to use often, and I'd like to exercise it so that perhaps in the future I'll be able to create something that has an original design and also looks good.
Joe Puccio owns two dogs, Cosmo and Logan, 4 turtles (3 Red Foot Tortoises and a Dessert Tortoise), as well as a boat load of fish. He is most fond of his dogs, and spends hours with them when he's home from college. It has been difficult for him to be away from any animals for such a long time during college, and sometimes he wonders whether it's a good thing that pets are banned from college dorms. He plans to be reunited with the all too often forgotten animal world when he graduates.
Joe's personal life
Joe Puccio's dad is from New York and his mom is from Boston. They moved to North Carolina just before he was born and they've lived in Chapel Hill since he was 2 years old. He started getting interested in computers around the same time he got his first iPod Touch. Ever since owning an iOS device, he has loved playing around with it and modifying what he knows how to (the software). In his spare time, he likes to play soccer, explore recent technology news, and hang out with his girlfriend.