Joseph Albert

I am a computational scientist interested in complex and stochastic systems, statistical inference, inverse problems and emergent phenomena. I am especially interested in using statistical computing to better understand complex human-based problems such as traffic management, macroeconomics and epidemiology.


Penn State University, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

2014-08 — 2019-05

Network Science | Computational Physics | Molecular Dynamics | Nanomechanics | Data Mining | Active Matter | Gravitational Wave Astronomy

Carnegie Mellon University, Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

2011-08 — 2014-05

Biophysics | General Relativity | Solid State | Statistical Mechanics


Graduate Researcher, Penn State University

2015-05 — Present

Computational physics research on the collective motion of nanoscale motors.

Graduate Assistant, Penn State University

2014-08 — 2015-05

Teaching Assistant for General Physics: Mechanics (PHYS 211) and Electricity and Magnetism (PHYS 212)

Physics Tutor, Carnegie Mellon University

2013-09 — 2014-05

Twice weekly led Carnegie Mellon's Physics Upper Class Course Center (PUCCC), tutoring students of CMU's upper level physics courses.

Research Intern, Membrane Structures and Interactions Lab

2013-05 — 2013-08


Skill Keywords
Python NumPy | SciPy | Matplotlib | Cython | Pandas
Statistics Maximum Likelihood | Inverse Problems | Monte Carlo | Time Series Analysis
Dynamical Systems Integro-Differential | Stochastic | Brownian | Langevin
Misc. Software Matlab | Mathematica | CLI Tools | Git & Hg


Detecting Multi-Spin Interactions in the Inverse Ising Problem


We consider inferring the coupling parameters of an Ising spin glass with multi-spin interactions. We show that the method of 'pseudo-likelihood maximization' is equivalent to fitting an identity presented by H. Callen in 1963, and present simulations testing the validity of this method of inference.

Cluster simulations of multi-spin Potts models


We present simulation results for a generalized Potts model with 1-, 2-, and 4- site Hamiltonian terms, using an extended Fortuin–Kastelyn transformation. We report critical temperatures and exponents by MCRG and a comparison of thermalization times between the cluster-percolation method and a simple Metropolis alogrithm.

Testing procedures for extracting fluctuation spectra from lipid bilayer simulations


Using simulated data we test the validity of a 'direct Fourier' method used to analyze simulated lipid bilayers with periodic boundary conditions. In a 1-D analogue we found that the plane-projected density of lipid head groups added high-q noise to fluctuation spectrum given by the direct Fourier method.


Reynolds vs. Peclet - Finite acceleration in the Stokes regime from slowly relaxing gradients, APS March Meeting


Exploring, exploiting, and ignoring history dependence in active droplet simulations, APS March Meeting



Mentor, Physics Concepts Outreach Program, Carnegie Mellon University

2012-08 — 2013-02

One-on-one mentoring for Pittsburgh middle school students participating in the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Sciences regional competition.

Penn Pals Mentor, Center for Nanoscale Science

2017-06 — 2018-08

Served as a non-academic mentor to undergraduate researchers visiting the Penn State MRSEC as part of its research partnerships with NCCU and CSULA.

Member, Graduate and Postdoc Advisory Committee

2017-09 — 2019-09

The GPAC advises the MRSEC's leadership on policy and practice as concerns the junior membership.

Leader, Recruitment and Retention Team

2017-09 — 2018-09

The MRSEC R&R team focuses on improving professional development for graduate students working for the Center for Nanoscale science and on improving access to science careers among underrepresented minority groups.

  • Hosted mixer for current MRSEC members and incoming graduate students.
  • Arranged lunch sessions with graduate students and visiting professors.
  • Created position to maintain MRSEC's website.
  • Managed time accounting for 16 team members.
  • Represented team at NSF site visit.

Dog Care Volunteer, Centre County PAWS

2018-12 — 2019-09

Walked, fed, and played with shelter dogs. Provided general support such as cleaning bedding, food bowls, and toys.


Outreach Leadership Award, Penn State MRSEC


Awarded for leading the MRSEC's Recruitment and Retention team.

David C. Duncan Graduate Fellowship in Physics, Penn State


Nellie H. and Oscar L. Roberts Scholarship, Eberley College of Science


Phi Beta Kappa,


College Research Honors, Mellon College of Science


Earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher and carried out significant research.

Senior Leadership Recognition Award, Carnegie Mellon University


Presented to graduating seniors who have made substantial contributions to the Carnegie Mellon community.