Dr. John McSweeney specializes in probability theory, stochastic (randomly determined) processes and networks and their applications to biosciences. He has applied this expertise to his research, studying random probability distribution in epidemics, population dynamics, and chemical reaction systems. Dr. McSweeney has lent his probability theory experience with media about the likelihood of winning the Powerball lottery. He also has advised Rose-Hulman's Human-Powered Vehicle Team, which has won several regional competitions.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, The Ohio State University, 2009
  • MSc, The Ohio State University, 2004
  • BSc, McGill University, 2002

Awards & Honors

Publications & Presentations

  • “Analysis of Crossword Puzzle Difficulty via a Random Graph Process,” The Mathematics of Various Entertaining Subjects: Research in Recreational Math, Princeton University Press, 2016
  • “Teaching Quantifiers via Map Coloring,” Mathematical Association of America’s Mathfest, 2016
  • McSweeney, J. and Popovic, L., “Stochastically-Induced Bistability in Chemical Reaction Systems,” Annals of Applied Probability, 24, 3, 1226-1268, 2014
  • McSweeney, J. and Pittel, B. G., “Expected Coalescence Time for a Nonuniform Allocation Model,” Advances in Applied Probability, 40.4, 1,002-1,032, 2008
  • “A Brief History of Probability,” Rose-Hulman Mathematics Seminar, 2014
  • “Biology and Mathematics: a Positive Feedback System,” California Lutheran University Chemical Biology Seminar, 2013
  • “Splitting the Rewards in Interrupted Games of Chance: How to Keep Everyone Happy?”, Berkeley Math Circle, 2012

Research Interests

  • Stochastic epidemics on networks
  • Probability theory
  • Modeling sleep/wake cycling in neuronal networks
  • Stochastic coalescent/branching models in population dynamics
  • Stochastic modeling of biochemical reaction systems
  • Recreational Mathematics
  • History of mathematics

Teaching Interests

  • Probability
  • Statistics
  • Stochastic processes
  • Stochastic optimization
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