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Speaker Series: Mathematics and Democracy

This is a guest post by Ben Blum-Smith, a math teacher and researcher. You can find Ben on Twitter at @benblumsmith or read his blog, Research in Practice.

Announcing the first talk in a speaker series on Mathematics and Democracy!

The series will host a scholarly conversation on a broad range of issues where mathematics touches on matters of democracy: election theory, legislative redistricting, algorithmization of social infrastructure, access to mathematics, quantitative fairness, and the census, to name a few.

We are starting things off next week with CMU math professor Wesley Pegden, who was an expert witness in the Pennsylvania gerrymandering case. His team has proven a nice result in probability theory that adds further statistical rigor to an important new method for measuring gerrymanders. Here are the details:

Speaker: Wesley Pegden, Carnegie Mellon University Department of Mathematics
Location: NYU Center for Data Science, 60 Fifth Ave, Room 150
Time12pmTuesday May 8
Title: Detecting Gerrymandering with Mathematical Rigor

Abstract: In February of this year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found Pennsylvania’s Congressional districting to be an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.  In this talk, I will discuss one of the pieces of evidence which the court used to reach this conclusion.  In particular, I will discuss a theorem which allows us to use randomness to detect gerrymandering of Congressional districtings in a statistically rigorous way.


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Raphael
    May 4, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    I was wondering if this lecture will be either recorded or live-streamed. I don’t live in New York but would love to hear this lecture.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Chuck Wolf
    May 4, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    Will there be a record of the presentation? I live 90 miles away from Pittsburgh. What books can I read to learn more about the topics?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Guest2
    May 5, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    “Randomness”? Randomness is a mathematical construct. Whose “randomness” is being used here?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gwen Wagner
    May 6, 2018 at 7:35 am

    I’m also not in NY, but would like to watch or listen or read the transcript of this lecture.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. May 6, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    The talk isn’t being recorded or livestreamed, but a similar talk by Wes will eventually be online at TEDx CMU.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Stephanie Haight-Kuntze
    May 7, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Hi! Take a look if you haven‘t already done so: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/05/ai-researchers-allege-machine-learning-alchemy „Researchers, he said, do not know why some algorithms work and others don’t, nor do they have rigorous criteria for choosing one „

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

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