Stanford University

Quantifying Gerrymandering: a mathematician goes to court

Building 200 Room 002
Thursday, March 8, 2018 4:30 PM
Jonathan Mattingly (Duke University)

In October 2017, I found myself testifying for hours in a federal court.  I had not been arrested.  Rather, I was attempting to quantify gerrymandering using analysis which grew from asking whether a surprising 2012 election was indeed surprising.  It hinged on probing the geopolitical structure of North Carolina using a Markov Chain Monte Carlo algorithm.  I will start at the beginning and describe the mathematical ideas involved in our analysis.  The talk will be accessible to undergraduates.  In fact, this project began as a sequence of undergraduate research projects and undergraduates continue to be involved to this day.

You can learn more about Professor Jonathan Mattingly at

MRC, Stanford department of Mathematics