Dec 6, 2000
An Election Year Mess! Finding Relief through Tools of Chaos and Symmetry from Physics and Mathematics
Dr. Donald G. Saari, University of California, Irvine
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As this year's Presidential election proved, our current voting procedures can create a mess
where it is not clear whether the "winner" is who the voters really wanted. This is not a new
problem; already in 1770 the mathematician -physicist J.C. de Borda warned the French
Academy of Sciences that serious difficulties can emerge if the "wrong" voting procedure is
used. Since then, this search for a reliable election and decision method has been widely
studied and hotly debated. Finally, answers now are emerging thanks to the use of tools
commonly used in mathematics and physics. In particular, answers are being found through
the use of chaotic dynamics and the orbit structure of symmetry groups.
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