Working Groups

Civic Participation

In most cases, addressing large-scale social problems requires changes in policy. For this, democratic institutions are invaluable achievements since they offer paths for effecting positive social change and since theyprovide protections against changes that would harm subgroups in the population. Still, prominent examples show that existing institutions often fail to be responsive to needed change or fail to protect minority rights. Because of this, there is an urgent need to investigate changes and additions to democratic processes that could improve their performance. Additionally, there is recent concern about the stability of democratic institutions across the world, and it preserving these institutions might require democratic reform. The MD4SG working group on Civic Participation brings together researchers who are passionate about exploring ways to deepen democracies. Crucially, our group connect mathematical views on these questions with perspectives from social science and practical experience.

Fall 2021 Syllabus

This Fall, our main interest is practice: We've been hearing about problems encountered on the ground that computer science and economics have perhaps abstracted away, and about ways in which ideas from these disciplines can contribute to discussions among practitioners and lead to eventual real-world impact. Throughout the semester, we have invited three outside speakers with experience in driving democratic reform and innovation. Each speaker joined the group for two sessions: In the first session, the speaker presented their work and afterwards discussed with the group. Over the following two weeks, a subset of the group reflected on the speaker's presentation, read up on connected topics, and drew connections to existing work/possible opportunities for work in the mathematical fields. Two weeks after the original presentation, this subgroup presented their thoughts to the rest of the seminar and to the invited speaker, sparking a second round of discussions.

Yves Dejaeghere (FIDE) Yves Dejaeghere (FIDE)Oct 7 and Oct 21Yves is a long-time activist for sortition: He is the executive director of the Federation for Innovation in Democracy Europe (FIDE), a nonprofit think tank advising government authorities on creating citizens' assemblies, and he has previously coordinated the Belgian think tank G1000. Recently, Yves and his organizations have been involved in the creation of the first permanent sortition bodies in different regions of Belgium. In the past, Yves has worked on related questions as a political scientist.
Diane Silver (FairVote) Diane Silver (FairVote)Nov 4 and Nov 18Diane is the Partnerships Program Coordinator at FairVote, a nonprofit advocating for voting reform and voting rights across the US. Diane has been very active in the push for ranked-choice voting, which is now adopted for all state and federal elections in Alaska and Maine, for party primaries in multiple states, and for many local elections. Diane's broad background spanns environmental education, science education, policy making, and advocacy.
Andreas Nitsche (Interaktive Demokratie) Andreas Nitsche (Interaktive Demokratie)Nov 4 and Nov 18Over a decade ago, Andreas co-founded LiquidFeedback, which is probably the most prominent platform for liquid democracy and uses liquid democracy not only for voting on decisions but also for deliberation. Ever since, Andreas has been thinking, writing, and advocating for integrating liquid democracy into society. Andreas and his nonprofit, the Association for Interactive Democracy, take a wide view on these questions, which includes for example questions of transparency, usability, the protection of minority opinions, and how these tools interact with social polarization.

Working Group Organizers

Paul Gölz PhD student Carnegie Mellon University
Anson Kahng Postdoc University of Toronto

Working Group Members

Abhishek Gupta Montreal AI Ethics Institute, Microsoft
Adela Gasiorowska PhD student University of Warsaw
Ben Abramowitz PhD student RPI
Bryan Wilder Postdoc Harvard University, Carnegie Mellon University
Carlos Garza Herrera Paz Es
Daniel Firebanks-Quevedo IBM Research
Darshan Chakrabarti Strategy Robot, Harvard University
David Lee Assistant Professor UC Santa Cruz
Davide Grossi Associate professor University of Groningen
Emmaline Rial University of Pittsburgh
Evi Micha PhD student University of Toronto
Fernando Delgado PhD student Cornell University
Francisco Marmolejo Postdoc Harvard University
Georgios Papasotiropoulos PhD student Athens University of Economics and Business
Janel Yamashiro Design Justice Network, Data Advisory board for the City of Detroit
Jimmy Lin Hawkfish
Jonas Israel PhD student TU Berlin
Kwame Porter Robinson PhD candidate University of Michigan
Logan Stapleton PhD student University of Minnesota (and CMU)
Luis Enrique Santana Universidad Adolfo Ibàñez
Manon Revel PhD student Massachussets Institute of Technology
Mark Whiting Postdoc University of Pennsylvania
Markus Brill Assistant professor TU Berlin
Nicholas Teh PhD candidate University of Oxford
Olivia Muza STEAM Women
Rishi Advani PhD student University of Illinois at Chicago
Robert Streit PhD student University of Texas at Austin
Rudy Laddaga
Shiri Heffetz PhD student Ben Gurion University
Sritej Attaluri Bloomberg LP
Tina Eliassi-Rad Professor Northeastern University
Ulrike Schmidt-Kraepelin PhD student TU Berlin
Yuzhe Zhang PhD student University of Groningen