Elections are arguably the best way that a group of agents with preferences over a set of choices can reach a decision. This can include political domains, as well as multiagent systems in artificial-intelligence settings. It is well-known that every reasonable election system is manipulable, but determining whether such a manipulation exists may be computationally infeasible. We build on an exciting line of research that considers the complexity of election-attack problems, which include voters misrepresenting their preferences (manipulation) and attacks on the structure of the election itself (control). We must properly model such attacks and the preferences of the electorate to give us insight into the difficulty of election attacks in natural settings. This includes models for how the voters can state their preferences, their structure, and new models for the election attack itself.
We study several different natural models on the structure of the voters. In the computational study of election attacks it is generally assumed that voters strictly rank all of the candidates from most to least preferred. We consider the very natural model where voters are able to cast votes with ties, and the model where they additionally have a single-peaked structure. Specifically, we explore how voters with varying amounts of ties and structure in their preferences affect the computational complexity of different election attacks and the complexity of determining whether a given electorate is single-peaked.
For the representation of the voters, we consider how representing the voters succinctly affects the complexity of election attacks and discuss how approaches for the nonsuccinct case can be adapted.
Control and manipulation are two of the most commonly studied election-attack problems. We introduce a model of electoral control in the setting where some of the voters act strategically (i.e., are manipulators), and consider both the case where the agent controlling the election and the manipulators share a goal, and the case where they have competing goals.
The computational study of election-attack problems allows us to better understand how different election systems compare to one another, and it is important to study these problems for natural settings, as this thesis does.
Computing and Information Sciences (Ph.D.)
Department, Program, or Center
PhD Program in Computing and Information Sciences
Lane A. Hemaspaandra
Fitzsimmons, Zack, "Election-Attack Complexity for More Natural Models" (2017). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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