Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Sarah Cannon

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© 2022 Vedika Vishweshwar


Identifying extreme outliers in large state spaces is a difficult prob-
lem. I consider this problem in the context of finding political district-
ing plans that maximize the number of districts in which the majority
of the population is from a minority group, such as African Americans.
Since the set of all possible districting plans is enormous and unfeasi-
ble to examine in practice, this paper proposes a sampling method to
find these outlying plans. Specifically, this paper experiments with short
bursts in the context of minority voting rights in Georgia. Short bursts
are a type of Markov Chain in which an unbiased random walk is per-
formed for a small number of steps, and is then restarted from the plan
with the most majority-minority districts. This paper shows that short
bursts successfully find outlying legislative house, legislative senate, and
congressional plans.