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Hirsch's Citation Index and Limit Shape of Random Partitions

PGR-P-243

Key facts

Type of research degree
PhD
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Funding
Competition funded
Supervisors
Dr Leonid Bogachev
Schools
School of Mathematics
Research groups/institutes
Statistics
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Integer partitions appear in numerous areas of mathematics and its applications. This classic research topic dates back to Euler, Cauchy, Cayley, Lagrange, Hardy and Ramanujan. The modern statistical approach is to treat partitions as a random ensemble endowed with a suitable probability measure. The uniform (equiprobable) case is well understood but more interesting models (e.g., with certain weights on the components) are mathematically more challenging. Hirsch [3] introduced his h-index to measure the quality of a researcher's output, defined as the largest integer n such that the person has h papers with at least h citations each. The h-index has become quite popular. Recently, Yong [6] proposed a statistical approach to estimate the h-index using a natural link with the theory of integer partitions [1]. Namely, identifying an integer partition with its Young diagram (with blocks representing parts), it is clear that the h-index is the size of the largest h x h square that fits in. If partitions of a given integer N are treated as random, with uniform distribution (i.e., all such partitions are assumed to be equally likely), then their Young diagrams have &quot;limit shape&quot; (under the suitable scaling), first identified by Vershik [5]. Yong's idea is to use the limit shape to deduce certain statistical properties of the h-index. In particular, it follows that the &quot;typical&quot; value of Hirsch's index for someone with a large number N of citations should be close to 0.54 N. However, the assumption of uniform distribution on partitions is of course rather arbitrary, and needs to be tested statistically. This issue is important since the limit shape may strongly depend on the distribution of partitions [2], which would also affect the asymptotics of Hirsch's index. Thus, the idea of this project is to explore such an extension of Yong's approach. To this end, one might try and apply Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) techniques [4], whereby the uniform distribution may serve as an &quot;uninformed prior&quot;. These and similar ideas have a potential to be extended beyond the citation topic, and may offer an interesting blend of theoretical and more applied issues, with a possible gateway to further applications of discrete probability and statistics in social sciences. Successful candidates should have a good degree in mathematics and/or statistics. Programming skills to carry out MCMC simulations would be useful but not essential, as the appropriate training will be provided.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>You will be based within a strong research group in&nbsp;<a href="https://physicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/info/152/probability_and_financial_mathematics">Probability and Financial Mathematics</a>.</p> <p>Integer partitions appear in numerous areas of mathematics and its applications &mdash; from number theory, algebra and topology to quantum physics, statistics, population genetics, and IT. This classic research topic dates back to Euler, Cauchy, Cayley, Lagrange, Hardy and Ramanujan. The modern statistical approach is to treat partitions as a random ensemble endowed with a suitable probability measure.</p> <p>The uniform (equiprobable) case is well understood but more interesting models (e.g., with certain weights on the components) are mathematically more challenging. Hirsch [3] introduced his h-index to measure the quality of a researcher&#39;s output, defined as the largest integer n such that the person has h papers with at least h citations each.</p> <p>The h-index has become quite popular (see, e.g., &#39;Google Scholar&#39; or &#39;Web of Science&#39;). Recently, Yong [6] proposed a statistical approach to estimate the h-index using a natural link with the theory of integer partitions [1]. Namely, identifying an integer partition with its Young diagram (with blocks representing parts), it is clear that the h-index is the size of the largest h x h square that fits in. If partitions of a given integer N are treated as random, with uniform distribution (i.e., all such partitions are assumed to be equally likely), then their Young diagrams have &quot;limit shape&quot; (under the suitable scaling), first identified by Vershik [5].</p> <p>Yong&#39;s idea is to use the limit shape to deduce certain statistical properties of the h-index. In particular, it follows that the &quot;typical&quot; value of Hirsch&#39;s index for someone with a large number N of citations should be close to 0.54 N. However, the assumption of uniform distribution on partitions is of course rather arbitrary, and needs to be tested statistically. This issue is important since the limit shape may strongly depend on the distribution of partitions [2], which would also affect the asymptotics of Hirsch&#39;s index.</p> <p>Thus, the idea of this project is to explore such an extension of Yong&#39;s approach. To this end, one might try and apply Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) techniques [4], whereby the uniform distribution may serve as an &quot;uninformed prior&quot;. These and similar ideas have a potential to be extended beyond the citation topic, and may offer an interesting blend of theoretical and more applied issues, with a possible gateway to further applications of discrete probability and statistics in social sciences. Successful candidates should have a good degree in mathematics and/or statistics. Programming skills to carry out MCMC simulations would be useful but not essential, as the appropriate training will be provided.</p> <p><em>REFERENCES</em></p> <p><em>[1] Andrews, G.E. and Eriksson, K. Integer Partitions. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, 2004.</em></p> <p><em>[2] Bogachev, L.V. Unified derivation of the limit shape for multiplicative ensembles of random integer partitions with equiweighted parts. Random Struct. Algorithms, 47 (2015), 227&ndash;266. (doi:10.1002/rsa.20540)</em></p> <p><em>[3] Hirsch, J.E. An index to quantify an individual&#39;s scientific research output. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 102 (2005), 16569&ndash;16572. (doi:10.1073/pnas.0507655102)</em></p> <p><em>[4] Markov Chain Monte Carlo in Practice (W.R. Gilks, S. Richardson and D.J. Spiegelhalter, eds.). Chapman &amp; Hall/CRC, London, 1996.</em></p> <p><em>[5] Vershik, A.M. Asymptotic combinatorics and algebraic analysis. In: Proc. Intern. Congress Math. 1994, vol. 2. Birkh&auml;user, Basel, 1995, pp. 1384&ndash;1394. (www.mathunion.org/ICM/ICM1994.2/Main/icm1994.2.1384.1394.ocr.pdf)</em></p> <p><em>[6] Yong, A. Critique of Hirsch&#39;s citation index: a combinatorial Fermi problem. Notices Amer. Math. Soc., 61 (2014), 1040&ndash;1050. (doi:/10.1090/noti1164)</em></p> <p>The earliest start date for this project is 1 October 2020.</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.leeds.ac.uk/info/130206/applying/91/applying_for_research_degrees">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is &lsquo;Hirsch&#39;s Citation Index and Limit Shape of Random Partitions&rsquo;&nbsp;as well as <a href="https://physicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/staff/8/dr-leonid-bogachev">Dr Leonid&nbsp;Bogachev</a>&nbsp;as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p><strong>Self-Funding Students</strong></p> <p><strong>Funding Eligibility</strong></p> <p><strong>UK/EU</strong> &ndash;&nbsp;Leeds Doctoral Scholarship Award paying Academic Fees and Maintenance matching EPSRC rate of &pound;15,009 per year for 3 years, School of Mathematics Scholarship award paying Academic Fees and Maintenance matching EPSRC rate of &pound;15,009 per year for 3 years.&nbsp; Alumni Bursary is available to previous University of Leeds graduates offering 10% discount on Academic Fees.</p> <p><strong>International Students</strong> &ndash;&nbsp;China Scholarship Council-University of Leeds Scholarship Award paying Academic Fees for 3 years,&nbsp;School of Mathematics Scholarship award paying Academic Fees for 3 years, Commonwealth Scholarship and Commonwealth Split Site Scholarships.&nbsp; Alumni Bursary is available to previous University of Leeds graduates offering 10% discount on Academic Fees.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information regarding your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions by email:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:maps.pgr.admissions@leeds.ac.uk">maps.pgr.admissions@leeds.ac.uk</a>, or by telephone: +44 (0)113 343 5057.</p> <p>For further information regarding the project, please contact Dr Leonid Bogachev by email:&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="mailto:L.V.Bogachev@leeds.ac.uk">L.V.Bogachev@leeds.ac.uk</a></p>


<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>
<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>