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Amber Puha, PhD

Amber Puha, PhD

Professor Department of Mathematics

Office: Craven Hall 6235
Hours: Please email for an appointment.

Amber Puha, PhD

I joined the faculty at CSUSM in 1999 when the university was just 10 years young.  Before joining CSUSM, I earned a BA in Mathematics at UCSD in 1993 and a PhD in Mathematics at UCLA under the supervision of Professor Thomas Liggett in 1998.    My expertise is in probability theory and stochastic processes with a focus on the modeling and analysis of stochastic networks.  Since joining CSUSM, I have spent three full-year sabbaticals at UCSD pursuing various projects related to my research interests.  More information is available through the Research tab above.  I also spent two years as an Associate Director at the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics, a federally funded mathematics research institute on the UCLA campus.  I served a three-year elected term on the American Mathematical Society Council, the main governing body of the society.  I recently served on the INFORMS Applied Probability Society Prize Committee and the Institute for Mathematical Statistics Travel Awards Committee.  I am an avid surfer, having been a competitive surfer in my younger years, which has motivated me to serve as the Faculty Advisor for the CSUSM Surf Team since its inception in 2002.

Administrative Support Coordinator
Devin Scattini
Phone: (760)750-8059

Department of Mathematics
College of Science and Mathematics



My training is in probability theory, stochastic processes, and their applications. These days I primarily work in the area of stochastic processing networks. A stochastic network model captures the inherent randomness in a variety of networks, including those that arise in modern computing and communications, as well as transportation and hi-tech manufacturing. The structure of the network is typically deterministic and the service discipline is usually specified. Randomness manifests itself in customer exogenous arrival times, service times, routing, etc. In general, such networks are complicated and involve feedback and non-head-of-the-line (HL) service disciplines. Consequently, they often evade closed form analysis, and tractable approximations are needed. Fluid approximations can be regarded as first-order deterministic (dynamical systems) approximations that yield insights about average network performance. A diffusion approximation is then a second-order stochastic approximation that captures the dominant effects of randomness. My work has centered on proving such approximation theorems for a variety of non-HL service discipline that arise in modern networks. Measure-valued stochastic processes are a key tool employed in my work to handle the infinite dimensional nature of these state-spaces.


  • 2021-24 NSF Grant DMS-2054505, $232,443
  • 2015-19 NSF Grant DMS-1510198, $180,000
  • 2015-16 Presidents Outstanding Faculty Award for Scholarship and Creative Activity
  • 2007 INFORMS Applied Probability Society Best Publication Award, Co-Recipient


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  • 2009 Greater San Diego Area Mathematics Council Outstanding Post Secondary Mathematics Teacher
  • 2020-21, On Sabbatical
    • Enrolled students may obtain information about these courses at Cougar Courses.


View my CV


2022-2023 Service and Committees

  • Department of Mathematics Chair
  • Co-PI with Anthony Matranga, Mathematics and Science Teacher Initiative, CSU Chancellors Office
  • Co-PI with Mike Picollelli, Effective and Equitable Mathematics Pathways in STEM Education, California Learning Lab
  • Learning Assistant Program Mathematics Coordinator
  • Surf Team Faculty Advisor

Editorial Work

  • Mathematics of Operations Research Associate Editor
  • Stochastic Systems Associate Editor

Conference Coordination

  • Coordinator, Southern California Probability Symposium
  • Seminar on Stochastic Processes Long Term Science Advisory Board Member
  • Stochastic Networks, Applied Probability, and Performance (SNAPP) Seminar Advisory Board

Conference Organization

Surf Team

The CSUSM Surf Team was established in January 2002. It was the second Sport Club to be recognized on campus (Women's Soccer was first).  It is the longest standing Sport Club at CSUSM.  Prof. Puha has served as the Faculty Advisor since its inception.  The team competes in the NSSA College Team Season.  In 2009, the team earned its first National Championship and then, ten years later in 2019, they earned their second. Campus Recreation presently oversees Sport Clubs at CSUSM.

2022 Tryouts

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More Information

2019 National Champions

2019 National Champs