• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Photo: Headshot of Rich Barlow, an older white man with dark grey hair and wearing a grey shirt and grey-blue blazer, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey backdrop.

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

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There are 3 comments on Can Algorithms Lick Politicians’ Gerrymandering?

  1. Left unanswered in this article, despite the headline’s promise: What role do algorithms play in a “define-combine” approach? It sounds like a good plan on its own, sort of like the childhood method where one kid splits the candy bar and the other kid gets first pick of the two pieces. But what does this shared responsibility for creating districts have to do with algorithms?

  2. What would be the (dis)advantages of starting at one corner of the state and just dividing it up into rectangles? put cursor at NW corner, moving SE until you have the right # of people. Then (perhaps randomly) place cursor at one of the 3 available corners of this rectangle, draw new rectangle until it’s the right population. Make any decisions of which direction to move with the cursor with a random number generator.

    1. I like the random rectangles. Every ten years they would change. Therefore a candidate must appeal to new constituents. This is good. It would be like a lawyer having new clients. Political representation would be a profession like legal representation.

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