Dr Nicholas Korpelainen

Nicholas Korpelainen

Position: Lecturer in Electronics and Mathematics

College: College of Engineering and Technology

Department: Computing and Mathematics

Subject area: Mathematics

Research Centre: Distributed and Intelligent Systems Centre for Research and Technology Transfer

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I work in the Department of Electronics, Computing and Mathematics, and my office is at MS229, Markeaton Street (STEM Annex).

My office phone number is +44(0)1332591674.

I am Module Leader for:

  • Patterns of Problem Solving (Level 4, Mathematics)
  • Statistical Methods 1 (Level 4, Mathematics)
  • Metric and Topological Spaces (unofficial seminars ahead of official launch from Autumn 2018, Level 5, Mathematics)
  • Graph Theory and Applications (Level 6, Mathematics)
  • Networks and Algorithms (Level 7, MSc Computational Mathematics)
  • Statistical Techniques (Level 7, MSc Big Data Analytics)

I am a trainer for student ambassadors and a supervisor for ca. 10 final year dissertations each year.

I am research coordinator for the departmental research seminars and a co-chair for our biennial IMA conference in 'Theoretical and Computational Discrete Mathematics' (next held 5-6 April 2018).

I am moderator for our facebook group, Maths@Derby, and organiser of a semesterly Mathematics Quiz.


“Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty—a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show.”    

- Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

"The most shattering experience has been the realization that an exact solution of Einstein's equations of general relativity, discovered by the New Zealand mathematician, Roy Kerr, provides the absolutely exact representation of untold numbers of massive black holes that populate the universe. This shuddering before the beautiful, this incredible fact that a discovery motivated by a search after the beautiful in mathematics should find its exact replica in Nature, persuades me to say that beauty is that to which the human mind responds at its deepest and most profound."

- Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1910-1995)

Professional interests

  • Discovering beauty and innovation in mathematics
  • Combining mathematics and recreation/entertainment to communicate its virtues a wider audience
  • Bringing research to the classroom
  • Inspiring students to develop their own critical judgement and independence
  • Contributing to the mathematical community with discoveries at the crossroads of theory and applicability
  • Promoting, organizing and taking part in research events in discrete mathematics

Research interests

  • Structural and algorithmic graph theory
  • Permutation patterns
  • Boundary properties of combinatorial objects
  • Well-quasi-orderability and infinite antichains
  • Induced subgraphs, hereditary graph classes and bipartite graphs
  • Clique-width of graphs (and other related parameters)
  • Infinite and finite words, and word-representability of graphs
  • Combinatorics
  • Discrete mathematics
  • Mathematics of juggling
  • Graph eating games
  • Recreational mathematics contributor (MathsJam)

Membership of professional bodies


  • Fellow of HEA (Higher Education Academy)


  • Guest editor for the journal 'Electronic Notes in Discrete Mathematics', Elsevier
  • Reviewer for the journal 'Discrete Applied Mathematics', Elsevier
  • Reviewer for the journal 'Order', Springer
  • Reviewer for the journal 'SIAM Journal on Discrete Mathematics'
  • Member of CDAM and DISYS research groups at the University of Derby


  • 2015: PG Cert HE, University of Derby 
  • 2012-2014: Research Associate in Combinatorics, The Open University (co-investigator for EPSRC grant EP/J006130/1: Infinite Antichains of Combinatorial Structures)
  • 2008-2012: PhD in Mathematics, 'Boundary Properties of Graphs', University of Warwick (supported by EPSRC doctoral grant)
  • 2007-2008: CASM, MMath Part III of Mathematical Tripos, Trinity College, University of Cambridge
  • 2004-2007: BA in Mathematics, Trinity College, University of Cambridge

Recent publications

15. Linear Clique-Width for Hereditary Classes of Cographs 

With R. Brignall and V. Vatter. Journal of Graph Theory, 84(4) (2017) p. 501.

14. Infinitely many minimal graph classes of unbounded clique-width

With A. Collins, J. Foniok, V. V. Lozin and V. Zamaraev. Discrete Applied Mathematics, In Press, available online 23 March 2017.

13. A New Graph Construction of Unbounded Clique-width

Electronic Notes in Discrete Mathematics, 56 (2016) p. 31.

12. Well-quasi-order for Graphs and Permutation Graphs Omitting a Path and a Clique
With A. Atminas, R. Brignall, V. V. Lozin and V. Vatter. Electronic Journal of Combinatorics, 22(2), (2015)

11. Dominating induced matchings in graphs without a skew star
With V. V. Lozin and C. Purcell. Journal of Discrete Algorithms, 26 (2014) p. 45.

10. Split Permutation Graphs
With V. V. Lozin and C. Mayhill. Graphs and Combinatorics, 30 (2014) p. 633.

9. Minimal Classes of Bipartite Graphs of Unbounded Clique-Width
With A. Atminas, R. Brignall and V. V. Lozin. (Extended abstract.)

8. Boundary properties of well-quasi-ordered sets of graphs
With V. V. Lozin and I. Razgon. Order 30 (2013), p. 723.

7. Two forbidden induced subgraphs and well-quasi-ordering
With V. V. Lozin. Discrete Mathematics 311 (2011) p. 521.

6. Bipartite induced subgraphs and well-quasi-ordering
With V. V. Lozin. Journal of Graph Theory, 67 (2011) p. 235.

5. Boundary properties of graphs for algorithmic graph problems
With V. V. Lozin, D. S. Malyshev and A. Tiskin. Theoretical Computer Science 412 (2011) p. 3545.

4. On the complexity of the dominating induced matching problem in hereditary classes of graphs
With D. M. Cardoso and V. V. Lozin. Discrete Applied Mathematics 159 (2011) p. 521.

3. Hamiltonian Cycles in Subcubic Graphs: What Makes the Problem Difficult
With V. V. Lozin and A. Tiskin. Lecture Notes in Computer Science 6108 (2010) p. 320.

2. Bipartite Graphs of Large Clique-Width
With V. V. Lozin. Lecture Notes in Computer Science 5874 (2009) p. 385.

1. A Polynomial-time Algorithm for the Dominating Induced Matching Problem in the Class of Convex Graphs
Electronic Notes in Discrete Mathematics 32 (2009) p. 133.

Recent conferences

  • IMA Conference on Theoretical and Computational Discrete Mathematics, 5-6 April 2018, University of Derby (co-chair)
  • TREPAM Recent Trends in Pure and Applied Mathematics, 1-4 August 2017, “1 Decembrie 1918” University of Alba Iulia, Romania
  • British Combinatorial Conference, 3-7 July 2017, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
  • Istanbul Design Theory, Graph Theory & Combinatorics Workshop, 13-17 June 2016, Koc University, Istanbul, Turkey
  • IMA Conference on Theoretical and Computational Discrete Mathematics, 22-23 March 2016, University of Derby (co-organiser)
  • British Combinatorial Conference, 6-10 July 2015, University of Warwick
  • GROW workshop on graph classes, optimization and graph parameters, Santorini, 9-11 October 2013
  • British Combinatorial Conference, 1-5 July 2013, Royal Holloway University of London
  • Slovenian International Conference on Graph Theory 2011, 19–25 June 2011, Bled, Slovenia, 
  • DIMAP Workshop on Combinatorics and Graph Theory 2011, 4–7 April 2011, University of Warwick
  • Theory and Applications of Models of Computation 2010,  7–11 June 2010, Charles University, Prague
  • Montreal Spring School in Graph Theory 2010, 2–29 May 2010, McGill University, Montreal
  • British Mathematical Colloquium, 6–9 April 2010, University of Edinburgh
  • British Combinatorial Conference, 5–10 July 2009, University of St Andrews
  • DIMAP Workshop on Algorithmic Graph Theory, 23–25 March 2009, University of Warwick

Additional interests and activities


  • Board games and game design
  • Juggling
  • Singing and writing lyrics
  • Billiard and snooker
  • World cinema
  • Symphonic metal music
  • Behavioural economics

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