Paul Becker, Ph.D.

Paul Becker
Associate Professor, Mathematics
85 Benson
Mailing Address:
ERIE PA 16563

Paul Becker received B.S. and M.S. degrees in mathematics from Michigan State University. After several years of teaching at Saginaw Valley State University (Saginaw MI), and some study in Germany, he completed a Ph.D. at Central Michigan University. He is currently an associate professor of mathematics at Penn State Beherend, where he teaches abstract algebra, combinatorics, and related topics.

His hobbies include operating a small blueberry farm and kayaking the Great Lakes. His favorite quote is from his then 4-year-old son Logan: “Daddy, you’re wrong, and Mommy can tell you why.”

Teaching Specialties

  • Combinatorics
  • Algebra and Number Theory

Research Interests

Paul’s research applies ideas from a variety of fields (including combinatorics, ring theory, number theory, and linear algebra) to digital communication and error-correcting codes. Aspects of his research are accessible to undergraduates, and he has published several papers with student co-authors.

Error-correcting codes; Combinatorial designs; Sporadic groups; History of mathematics; Group representations.

Matrix representations as a gateway to group theory, Primus - July 1, 2021
Collaborator: Mark Medwid, Co-Author

Build a Sporadic Group in Your Basement, American Mathematical Monthly - April, 2017
Collaborators: Jennifer Ulrich, Secondary Author; Sheridan Houghten, Secondary Author; Martin Derka, Secondary Author

A Methodology for Constructing the Basis of a Putative (72, 36, 16) Extremal Code for a Given Automorphism Group, Congressus Numerantium - October, 2012
Collaborators: M. Derka, Co-Author; S. Houghten, Co-Author

A Search for Solvable Weighing Matrices, Journal of Combinatorial Math and Combinatorial Computing - August, 2007
Collaborators: S. Houghten; W. Haas

On Menon-Hadamard difference sets in groups of order 4p2, Congressus Numerantium 172 - December, 2005
Collaborators: J. Mendes; O. AbuGhneim; K. Smith

Do Normal Subgroups Have Straight Tails?, American Mathematical Monthly - May, 2005

Investigation of Solvable (120, 35, 10) Different Sets, Journal of Combinatorial Designs - February, 2005

Investigation of Perfect Ternary Arrays PTA(60,25), Ontario Technical Report -- # CS - 03 - 10 Department of Computer Science - October, 2003
Collaborators: S. Houghten; W. Haas

Investigation of Non-Abelian Difference Sets in Groups of Order 120 - May, 2000

Ph D, Mathematics, Central Michigan University

Summer school for advanced graduate students, Discrete Mathematics, Technische Universitat Braunschweig

Algebraic Combinatorics, NATO Advanced Studies Institute

MS, Mathematics, Michigan State University

BS, Mathematics, Michigan State University