Baltimore Ravens Offensive Lineman John Urschel Publishes Paper In Math Journal

Some NFL players spend their offseason working out. Others travel around the world. Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel has done both while also getting an article published in a math journal.

Urschel, the Ravens’ 2014 fifth-round pick who graduated from Penn State with 4.0 GPA, also happens to be a brilliant mathematician. This week he and several co-authors published a piece titled “A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector of Graph Laplacians” in the Journal of Computational Mathematics. You can read the full piece here:

Here’s the summary of the paper:

“In this paper, we develop a cascadic multigrid algorithm for fast computation of the Fiedler vector of a graph Laplacian, namely, the eigenvector corresponding to the second smallest eigenvalue. This vector has been found to have applications in fields such as graph partitioning and graph drawing. The algorithm is a purely algebraic approach based on a heavy edge coarsening scheme and pointwise smoothing for refinement. To gain theoretical insight, we also consider the related cascadic multigrid method in the geometric setting for elliptic eigenvalue problems and show its uniform convergence under certain assumptions. Numerical tests are presented for computing the Fiedler vector of several practical graphs, and numerical results show the efficiency and optimality of our proposed cascadic multigrid algorithm.”

When he’s not protecting Joe Flacco, the 23-year-old Urschel enjoys digging into extremely complicated mathematical models.

“I am a mathematical researcher in my spare time, continuing to do research in the areas of numerical linear algebra, multigrid methods, spectral graph theory and machine learning. I’m also an avid chess player, and I have aspirations of eventually being a titled player one day.”

– See more at:

Thanks to Kebmodee for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

16 thoughts on “Baltimore Ravens Offensive Lineman John Urschel Publishes Paper In Math Journal

  1. Pingback: Baltimore Ravens’ Lineman and Mathematician - Posted on March 20th, 2015 by Thomas LoFaro

    1. TMB

      4. His coauthor on this paper is Ludmil Zikatanov, who wrote a paper with Frank Deutsch, who wrote a paper with Charles Chui, who wrote a paper with Erdős.

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  8. Ty Kelly

    Urschel is following in the great footsteps of Frank Ryan, QB of the Rice Owls in the 50s and the Cleveland Browns in 50s and 60s. Ryan was a good passer and had the good fortune of having running backs like Jim Brown and Leroy Kelley to hand off to. The Browns won at least one championship under Ryan. After the NFL, Ryan returned to his math studies, earned his PhD in some highly esoteric part of the field, and spent the rest of his life in the ivory tower. Not a bad way to go if you think about it. Don’t know if he ever developed dementia though.

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