Optimising for entertainment in the vote-reveal problem

Aric Fowler


Supervised by Richard Booth; Moderated by Philipp Reinecke

In many elections or competitions, a set of voters will rank a set of candidates from best to worst, or will give scores to some of the candidates, with the winner then being the candidate that gets the highest total number of points. When it comes to revealing the result after all votes have been cast, some competitions proceed by having a roll-call of all the voters in which each announces their own scores. This is often done for entertainment purposes (see, for example, the Eurovision Song Contest, in which each voting country announces their vote in turn). This raises the following question: which ordering of the voters should be chosen for the roll-call in order to maximise the entertainment value? For example a roll-call for which the eventual winner becomes obvious very early on is probably not going to be very entertaining. There are 2 main parts to this project:

Come up with some function(s) to measure the "entertainment value" of a roll-call. Solve the optimisation problem of finding a roll-call that maximises this function.

Experience with combinatorial optimisation techniques (CM3109) would be advantageous but not essential.

Initial Plan (07/02/2021) [Zip Archive]

Final Report (25/05/2021) [Zip Archive]

Publication Form