Events

March 2, 2021 at 2:45 pm

Mathematics Colloquium | Measuring Fairness: An Overview of the Mathematics of Social Decision Making and Political Representation, April 7

The Mathematics Colloquium series presents Meghan VanderMale discussing “Measuring Fairness: An Overview of the Mathematics of Social Decision Making and Political Representation” on April 7 at 4 p.m.

  • Zoom link
  • To give participants ample opportunity to chat with the speaker, the zoom room will open at 3:45 and will remain open as long as needed after the talk.

A former faculty member at Ohio University, VanderMale is an Assistant Professor at Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan.

Abstract: When a group of individuals, with different values, opinions, and experiences live together, it can be difficult to decide how to make decisions that are representative of the whole group. By taking individual preferences and turning them into a single political outcome, we are bound to lose perfect proportionality, as well as a number of other things that we would consider desirable for a fair and just society. How can we measure fairness in our voting systems, apportionment of resources or political representatives, or district map drawing? In situations in which complete fairness is impossible (which is often), how can we use these measures to help us analyze how political power is distributed to groups and individuals? In this talk, we will see several snapshots of different areas in which Mathematics seeks to address these questions. Topics will include Voting Systems (aka Social Welfare Functions) and fairness measures (such as Ranked Choice Voting and Monotonicity), Apportionment Methods, and Compactness Measures and Measures of Partisan Fairness in redistricting. The talk is meant to give a broad overview of the types of topics that lie at the intersection of Politics and Mathematics and resources for further reading will be provided. The talk is suitable for anyone regardless of mathematical background.

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