Abstract: The problem of constructing ”fair” political districts and the related problem of detecting intentional gerrymandering has received a significant amount of attention in recent years. Attempting to analyze these issues from a mathematical perspective leads to a wide variety of interesting problems in geometry, graph theory, and probability. In this talk, I will discuss recent work centered around Markov chain sampling of districting plans that has motivated theoretical questions in these fields, including designing proposal distributions, evaluating the computational complexity of sampling, and measuring the geometric and partisan properties of districts. Beyond mathematics, this work has also been appeared in court challenges, including an amicus brief to the Supreme Court this past March, and legislative reform efforts. I will discuss what it is like to participate in these outreach efforts as a mathematician and some of the related data and computational challenges.
Friday, September 20, 2019 at 3:10pm to 4:00pm
Tomsich Hall, 101
200 North College Road, Gambier, OH 43022