Ethan Kelly

Please feel free to get in touch with any questions, queries or ideas for joint research at any time. I can be reached at:

Pandemic notwithstanding, I would normally be based in:

Room 502
Sir Alwyn Williams Building
University of Glasgow
G12 8RZ

Currently, I am of course working from home so email is the best way to contact me.

To see what I'm up to, my GitHub repository is here: and my staff page is here: 

Research title: Game-theoretic and probabilistic methods applied to spatial network models of contagion

Research Summary

Current research

At the moment, I am working on using the Firefighter Problem to model scenarios such as disease spread and dissemination of ideas through communications networks. In particular, I am interested in how applying stochastic and game-theoretic methods to Firefighter may imbue the model with more realistic features. For instance, rather than a straightforward rule about when fire spreads to neighbouring vertices, we might introduce a probability of this occurring, removing the assumption that entire populations are well mixed and have equal chance of passing on a disease or piece of information to anyone they have contact with, since this is a far cry from reality (when introducing social distancing, the structure of social groups and so on).

I am also interested in the ethical implications and payoff considerations when introducing various measures to limit the spread of disease or communications across a given network. For instance, are there measures that may halt the spread of a disease quickly but are considered too damaging or draconian to the population to be justified? Or what are the ramifications of pursuing a herd-immunity approach for a new disease in which the acquisition of immunity is not understood?

Previous research

I have had a keen interest in acoustics and using mathematical models and techniques to describe acoustical principles, such as using solutions to the acoustic wave equation in different coordinate systems to provide graphs of waves (given useful boundary conditions). I used this to help understand the mathematics of the pipe organ and other Helmholtz resonators like those used in architecture and engineering.

Another area I keep up with developments in is formal logic. On the more philosophical side, I enjoy the debates that spark from the nature of the conditional operator to the utility of higher-order logic systems. One area in particular that I have followed discourse closely is in modal logical systems, such as Plantinga's S5 Ontological Argument.

Further, I have followed research and developments in: artificial intelligence, and the ethical consequences thereof; bioethics, more generally; and many areas of discrete mathematics. I hope to return to these in the near future and would be happy to collaborate on publications in these areas.



Lanfine Organ Studentship

I am a Lanfine Organ Student for the University, which involves playing the organ on a rota at weekday services in the University chapel. This is a position I value a great deal, as the chapel organ is a remarkably fine instrument and I feel profoundly lucky to be able to play it for my own practice (and enjoyment) as well as at morning services under Organist to the University, Dr Kevin Bowyer.


I am currently a Demonstrator for two level 2 courses in Computing Science:

  • COMPSCI2001: Java Programming 2,
  • COMPSCI2003: Algorithmic Foundations 2.

If you are a current or prospective student, either of these courses or of Computing Science/Maths and Stats/Philosophy, please feel free to get in touch if you would like to talk about University life, course content and so on. I am more than happy to help!

Additional Information

About me

I grew up in the North East of England, in a town called Gateshead, but I was born in London and lived there for the first few years of my life (but I couldn't shake the accent)! I'm now a PhD student at the University and a graduate teaching assistant in the School of Computing Science. I completed my undergraduate degree (BSc) at the University of Glasgow in Mathematics and Philosophy, and I am very excited to now be a postgraduate here!

Because of my undergraduate degree, I try and keep a foot in both Maths and Philosophy in my own time; conversations about either topic are always very welcome. In particular, I am interested in formal logical systems, epistemology and bioethics as well as applied maths. I am an associate member of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications and now work mainly in mathematical and formal problems in Computing Science, with my main research being into developing meaningful models of contagion (disease, memes, fire and so on) using graph problems.

Outside of my regular work, I am a keen organist and usually play for several services in the University and across Glasgow, particularly in the West End. I have been a musician for many years (my principal instrument being the viola) but thoroughly enjoy playing, listening to, writing and discussing music at any and every opportunity. 

From 2018-2019, I was Science editor for the Glasgow University Magazine (GUM), which was a fascinating and enjoyable position in science communication. During my undergraduate degree, I was involved in a number of societies (from PhilSoc to the Alexandrian Society) and I would always thoroughly recommend involvement (so long as you have time) in any of them!

Academic and Professional Body Membership