elections, certification/testing, reform, vendors, standards, open source, secrecy, privacy, patents, berkeley, problems, friends, research, policy, legal, education, iSchool

Joe giving his dissertation talk I gave my dissertation talk today. It went surprisingly well. I felt my delivery was smooth---with nary an ?um?---and people seemed interested! I?ve learned that I have to practice talks 3-4 times before I?m ready to give them. (and the ?presenter tools? feature in powerpoint is killer, I must say.)

The dissertation talk is a curious beast on the academic landscape. It involves summing up 5 years of work (at least!) in about 50 minutes. I found it very challenging to both adequately explain the work I?ve done and then make that explanation accessible to a multidisciplinary audience. Apparently, I didn't do such a bad job; I can?t explain how gratifying that is for someone who enjoys teaching.

I?ll post my slides one slideshare in a bit and update this post, but they do need a bit of massaging---I used animation to make images appear and disappear over the text, which doesn?t seem to work with slideshare.

Anyway, I?s tie tie now.

(image by the Schultz-enator)

Cool Runnings

hacks, photos, exercise

What do you do when you get tired of your old running routes and want a new one? Maybe even a bit longer? Well, you can combine two old ones into a new one! It's like recycling.

Gmaps Pedometer image of my uber run---from Oakland to Piedmont then around lake Merrit

The run above combines my Oakland Ave. -> Piedmont run and my Lake Merritt run into one uber-run. It's pretty and about 8 miles (although it really feels like about 9).

FBI withdraws NSL letter to Brewster

wtf?, secrecy, photos, friends, policy, legal
lolcat image of brewster kahle

(full res. here, EFF press release here)

Statistical Solutions to Elections Mysteries

elections, news, politics, berkeley, problems, friends, research, policy, legal

Cover of Chance volume 21, no. 2 (which has a map of Florida with District 13 highlighted) Chance, a popular Scientific American-like journal for statistics, has published a cover piece by Arlene Ash (BU) and John Lamperti (Dartmouth), ?Florida 2006: Can Statistics Tell Us Who Won Congressional District-13??

The piece explores a range of statistical arguments to show, with high probability, that the currently seated candidate, Vern Buchanan, was not the candidate the voters of FL-13 intended to elect.

The piece can be accessed in PDF here.

It also includes two commentaries... one by myself, ?Statistical Solutions to Elections Mysteries? and one by Walter Mebane (U Mich), ?Counting Frustrated Voter Intentions?.

ACCURATE's Comments on the VVSG

elections, certification/testing, accessibility, reform, standards, news, secrecy, patents, berkeley, friends, research, policy, legal

Aaron Burstein (UC Berkeley Law) and I just finished a large regulatory filing that will be of interest to any of you election technology geeks out there. Enjoy and be sure to let us know if you have feedback (there's another round of comments sometime in the future on a revised draft).

bmits Comments on the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines

5 May 2008

A Center for Correct, Usable, Reliable, Auditable and Transparent Elections (ACCURATE) submitted public comment today to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission on their draft Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG), urging the Commission to adopt certain key features fo the draft. The VVSG provides a national certification framework for U.S. voting systems against which 40 states require their voting systems to be certified.

ACCURATE's comments laud the new draft as a groundbreaking and badly needed overhaul of our national voting system standards while making constructive suggestions for further development.

The most significant element of the draft VVSG is the requirement for software independence, which would require voting systems to be designed so that undetected flaws in the voting system software cannot cause changes in the vote count. ACCURATE fully supports requiring software independence as the backbone of a robust and comprehensive next-generation voting system certification regime.

The commentary goes on to emphasize the importance of welcome features of the draft: adversarial vulnerability testing, volume testing, the new framework for usability and accessibility testing and comprehensive voting system documentation requirements. The comment closes by pointing out areas of the VVSG that will require increased institutional support outside of the VVSG process, including the crucial innovation class and a closed loop for incident reporting and feedback.

ACCURATE plans to participate further as the draft VVSG is modified and extended.

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