John W. Hessler, FRGS

Mathematician, GIS Scientist, and Professor in Baltimore, MD

John W. Hessler, FRGS

Mathematician, GIS Scientist, and Professor in Baltimore, MD

When not climbing in the Alps or racing a carbon fiber Cervélo, I am the director and founder of the λ-LAB (Lambda-Lab), where our philosophy is to apply high-performance computing and geospatial analysis to some of the most difficult humanitarian and policy issues facing the world today.

At the λ-LAB we are developing new statistical and computational tools for mapping, modeling and visualizing the dynamics of far from equilibrium spatial processes, like the spread of pandemics and refugee flows. Recently, our theoretical work has centered on studying the influence of population movement on the spread of infectious diseases, like Ebola & SARS-Cov-2, using fluid dynamic models and Debye–Hückel theory.

Formerly a specialist in Computational Geography and Geographic Information Science (GIS) at the Library of Congress, I have provided geospatial & computational policy analysis for Congressional members and committees on a wide variety of issues from SARS-CoV-2 and economic inequality, to the Census, the mathematics of the database reconstruction theorems, and Congressional redistricting.

A lecturer in mathematics and computer science in the Odyssey Program at the Johns Hopkins University, I have given lectures about or taught seminars in Quantum Computing; Mereology, Topology and the Foundations of GIS; Quantum Algorithms via Linear Algebra; the Mathematical Modeling Refugee Flows; and the Mathematics of the Redistricting & Gerrymandering Problem. I also teach courses in the theoretical & algorithmic foundations of GIS in the Pierre and Marie Curie Faculty at Sorbonne Université in Paris.

The author of more than one hundred articles and books, including the New York Times bestseller, MAP: Exploring the World, my work has been featured in many media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, the BBC, CBS News, Bloomberg News, and NPR’s All Things Considered.

Currently I am trying to turn a mess of mathematical course notes into the book, The Algebra of Space: Lectures on Mereotopology and the Ontological Foundations of Geographic Information Science.

A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, I find being close to the gentle hum of supercomputers, pondering the depths of quantum category theory, and confronting the intricate philosophical knots of evolutionary algorithms, strangely comforting.