Atılım Üniversitesi Kurumsal Arşivi
Speaker(s)/Author(s)Prof.Dr.Hayri ÖNAL (University of Illinois at Urbana -- Champaign) (METU Inst.of Applied Math. Visiting Prof.)
Mathematically Correct Political Districting
SubjectMathematics – Politics
KeywordsMathematics, politics, district
Place/Channel NameFEB 223 (Seminar Room)
DepartmentFaculty of Arts & Sciences
Inventory No1SEM_EF_20061108_2

Political districting is a well-known spatial optimization problem. Dividing a target area into a set of mutually disjoint geographical units (districts) with almost equal populations while also satisfying certain spatial and social criteria poses challenging methodological issues. Compactness, contiguity, and community integrity are particularly important districting requirements that are difficult to incorporate in a mathematical programming framework. Until 1960's districting was done manually by using map making skills which resulted in gross violations of one or more requirements. Since then, various heuristic procedures have been presented to address the problem. This approach is practical, particularly in large-scale applications, and was shown to offer significant improvement vis-à-vis manual solutions in several real districting cases. However, it is known that in general heuristics yield suboptimal solutions which may be significant in some cases. Recent progresses in computation power and optimization software may allow using formal optimization either on a stand alone basis or conjunctively with heuristics in large-scale districting applications. This talk is based on an ongoing research effort. We present integer programming formulations of the districting problem incorporating some of the most important spatial and social criteria. Computational experience with the models applied to a synthetic data set will also be presented.