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New Mathematical Model Can Measure Political Party Power

Date:
October 2, 2008
Source:
University of Southampton
Summary:
A new algorithm developed by a computer scientist can be used to predict political power balances.

A new algorithm developed by a computer scientist at the University of Southampton can be used to predict political power balances.

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In a paper entitled: Manipulating the Quota in Weighted Voting Games published in the proceedings of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence conference, Dr Edith Elkind at the University's School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) describes how a mathematical model developed to describe voting in a parliament, can facilitate decision making among groups of computerised agents.

'Agents tend to form coalitions in much the same way as political parties,' she said. 'So I thought it would be interesting to look at what would happen to the balance of power if you change the number of votes needed to make a decision.'

In her paper, Dr Elkind, who is part of ECS’ Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia Group, illustrates that the power of a political party is very much dependent on whether bills are passed by a simple majority (50% of all votes) or a qualified majority (two thirds of all votes).

She believes that the same is true of autonomous agents, and that by applying the model to these scenarios, possible outcomes can be predicted.

'We can quantify the change in the balance of power caused by changing the voting threshold, like requiring a two-thirds majority to pass a bill rather than a 50 percent majority.'

A copy of Dr Elkind's paper can be accessed at: http://eprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk/16715/


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southampton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Southampton. "New Mathematical Model Can Measure Political Party Power." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081001093749.htm>.
University of Southampton. (2008, October 2). New Mathematical Model Can Measure Political Party Power. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081001093749.htm
University of Southampton. "New Mathematical Model Can Measure Political Party Power." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081001093749.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

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