The stochastic modeling group is broadly engaged in research that aims to model and analyze problems for which stochasticity is an important dimension that cannot be ignored. The group mainly focuses on decision making under uncertainty in complex, dynamic systems, and emphasizes practical relevance. Standard stochastic methodological and modeling techniques like discrete and continuous-time Markov chains, renewal and regenerative processes, Markov decision processes, diffusion processes, optimal control theory, queueing theory, discrete-event simulation, and Monte Carlo simulation are heavily used but most research projects, particularly those of interdisciplinary nature, necessitate careful integration of these techniques with methods from statistics (forecasting, machine learning etc.), deterministic optimization (integer programming, convex optimization etc.), and economics (game theory, decision theory etc.)
Recent research focus of the stochastic modeling group has been problems that come out of various applications (mostly from the service industry), healthcare operations, and emergency response systems. In line with this focus, the group has formed interdisciplinary research partnerships with a number of researchers and academics from other academic units within and outside the University of North Carolina and the industry. These other units and institutions include UNC School of Nursing, UNC School of Medicine, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, UNC Health Care, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, NC State Department of Industrial Engineering, NC State Poole School of Management, and IBM. The group has also successfully incorporated its research in the courses it offers on stochastic modeling primarily through the special topic courses given at the graduate level, the Masters Paper courses, and the Honors theses supervised at the undergraduate level.
Members of the stochastic modeling group have been serving in the editorial boards of journals like Operations Research, Management Science, Queueing Systems, IISE Transactions, Healthcare Management Science, and Mathematical Methods of Operations Research and in professional organizations (most prominently, INFORMS, the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences). Their research is mostly funded through grants from the National Science Foundation. Former students of this group have gone on to have successful careers in academia as well as industry.