Friday, April 29 @ 2:35pm
Wege (TCL 123)
Gerrymandering, redistricting, and the quest for fairer representative democracy
Partisan gerrymandering in the United States is an old problem. However, our most effective tools for measuring and regulating it are fairly new and still not well-understood. This talk will highlight what roles computer science can play in the evolution of electoral systems using political redistricting as the primary example. We’ll summarize recent advances in the area of measuring and quantifying gerrymandering that have led to partisan maps being struck down in state courts. Then, we’ll examine how these new tools can alter the theoretical analysis of electoral systems and even be used to draw fairer maps in practice. Finally, we’ll look to the future at what can be achieved through bigger, systemic changes. Along the way, we’ll explore how to identify new research directions and how computer science can help redefine what a right to vote means.
Brian Brubach is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Wellesley College and an Affiliate of the Institute for Mathematics and Democracy. His research focuses on algorithms and theoretical computer science with broad applications in areas such as e-commerce, algorithmic fairness, and electoral systems.