We are living in the era of the computer algorithm. Data science drives the global economy — to the point where, for many people, an algorithm will play a role in everything from what news articles they read to whom they will date — or even marry. So it’s no surprise that political scientists would want to use an algorithm to improve political redistricting, a process that is often distorted by partisan maneuverings.
About 30 years before Ada Lovelace created the world’s first algorithm, a notorious political cartoon appeared in the Boston Gazette. It was inspired by a district map drawn by the Massachusetts governor at the time, Elbridge Gerry. It was clear that his intention, in shaping districts, was to sway the race to favor his Democratic-Republican Party in the senate — and his efforts resulted in some very awkwardly shaped districts. The editorial cartoon was inspired by observations that the district was shaped like a “salamander.” Thus was born the now-famous term “gerrymandering.”
Read the full article here from Vox