Making decisions is hard enough: we spend our lives wondering what we want and trying to make the best choices. We will examine social choice from a mathematical perspective, showcasing how careful logic and thought can give us deeper insights into the possibilities and pitfalls of voting, elections, power, and representation.
What is the best or most fair way to make choices as a group? How can we quantify or measure fairness? Can we mathematically describe power and equity? How can mathematics play a role in identifying and combatting gerrymandering?
This course will consider these questions and hopefully generate many more. We study how mathematicians have attempted to understand fairness and power, how mathematics underlies important aspects of voting and representation, and how math can help illuminate many important social and political issues.
Topics: Fairness, Gerrymandering, Voting Systems, Arrow’s Theorem, Apportionment, Power, and additionall topics as time allows. Prerequisites: None