Cutting a Pizza: and the Mathematics of Voting

It’s pretty difficult these days to keep from thinking about politics and the upcoming elections. Occasionally there is a mention in the news about various voting systems, which ones we use in the U.S., and the mathematics behind them. But what if you want to do your own mathematical analysis or understand the different arguments about the effectiveness of one system over another?

The Library has material for all levels of mathematical agility on the topic of Mathematics and Voting. The general interest reader might be interested in an introductory paper on Voting and Elections. Naturally, we have many books that cover this topic both in print and electronically. Two ebooks are Mathematics of social choice voting, compensation, and division; and Numbers rule the vexing mathematics of democracy, from Plato to the present.

Now what does math and voting have to do with cutting a pizza? Well, you might say that both voting and math can be computationally complex. And so too can be slicing a pizza, that is, if you want to be fair and keep everybody reasonably happy with the outcome. There is a lot of serious math behind the issue of fairness in voting systems and cutting a pizza. Not all methods will please everyone. Many are still puzzling over what is known as Dartmouth Mathematician Peter Winkler’s Pizza Problem. The mathematics of voting and cutting a pizza may both be viewed as discrete math problems. You can learn more about discrete mathematics from textbooks in our collection to titles in an online collection called Synthesis Digital Library of Engineering and Computer Science and even in Safari Tech Books.

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