Sampling-based techniques for designing school boundaries

8 Jun 2022  ·  Subhodip Biswas, Fanglan Chen, Zhiqian Chen, Chang-Tien Lu, Naren Ramakrishnan ·

Recently, an increasing number of researchers, especially in the realm of political redistricting, have proposed sampling-based techniques to generate a subset of plans from the vast space of districting plans. These techniques have been increasingly adopted by U.S. courts of law and independent commissions as a tool for identifying partisan gerrymanders. Motivated by these recent developments, we develop a set of similar sampling techniques for designing school boundaries based on the flip proposal. Note that the flip proposal here refers to the change in the districting plan by a single assignment. These sampling-based techniques serve a dual purpose. They can be used as a baseline for comparing redistricting algorithms based on local search. Additionally, these techniques can help to infer the problem characteristics that may be further used for developing efficient redistricting methods. We empirically touch on both these aspects in regards to the problem of school redistricting.

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