John W. Hessler

Mathematcian, GIS Scientist, and Professor in Baltimore, MD

John W. Hessler

Mathematcian, GIS Scientist, and Professor in Baltimore, MD

Read my Alpinist articles

When not climbing in the Alps, racing a carbon fiber Cervélo, or mountain biking through some jungle, I am a lecturer in Mathematics & Computer Science in the Odyssey Program at Johns Hopkins University, and a Specialist in Computational Geography & Geographic Information Science (GIS) at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

Over the past few years I have lectured or taught classes on Evolutionary & Algorithmic Game Theory; Wavelet & Fourier Analysis; Quantum Computing; the Millennium Problems; Stochastic Processes & Markov Chains; and the Mathematics of the Redistricting & Gerrymandering Problem.

I am the founder of the λ-LAB, where our philosophy is to apply advanced mathematics, statistical learning, and GIS, to some of the difficult policy issues facing the world today. Our recent projects include studying the dynamics of voting systems, urban child poverty, topological data analysis of rustbelt cities, segmentation analysis of internet access in the southeastern US, and the complexity of the redistricting problem.

A member of the BAT1K Genome Project, our current research focuses on using bioacoustic recordings, along with wavelet analysis, to study the spatial distribution of Rhinolophus bats—thought to be the hosts of SARS-CoV-2.

The Lab's theoretical work currently centers around using innovative mapping methods, like bioacoustic recording and computer vision, and on the development of new ideas in evolutionary and algorithmic game theory, for complex policy analysis.

Interested in the logical & ontological foundations of spatial computation and GIS, I am currently trying to turn a mess of scribbled mathematical course notes into a book entitled, Lectures on Mereotopology and the Logical Foundations of Geographic Information Science.

The author of more than one hundred articles, 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 and NPR’s All Things Considered.

An avid mountaineer, I am a frequent contributor to Alpinist Magazine, where I write on high-altitude physiology, climate change and the history of mountaineering.

I find being close to the gentle hum of supercomputers, pondering quantum category theory, and thinking about the philosophical depth of James Joyce’s Ulysses, strangely comforting.