Samuel Baltz


Hello! I'm a PhD candidate in political science and scientific computing at the University of Michigan. In 2021-2022 I will be a Rackham Predoctoral Fellow, and I was a 2019-2020 Fellow of the Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering. I have an MS in mathematics and a graduate certificate in complex systems from the University of Michigan, and a BSc in astrophysics from the University of Toronto.

In my research I examine the problems of electoral democracy using computational social science. I am particularly interested in how electoral systems and party systems define the choices that electors face, and how that affects their representation. I also study how methods in computational social science can be used to answer questions about politics.

My dissertation uses computer simulations to estimate how election results might change when a country switches away from a Single-Member District electoral system to a variety of other rulesets, by explicitly simulating how the electorate might respond to that change. Building on game theoretic models of strategic voting, I develop a computational social science toolkit that produces specific numerical estimates of legislative election results in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom under proportional and ranked choice voting systems. I have also done methodological work on the problem of studying strategic interactions between electors and parties as an iterative game, which connects game theory to computer models. Both in my dissertation and in a series of related projects, I use and create large historical datasets of elections and regime types. I'm also working on projects in computational stellar astrophysics, recreational math, and making political science coverage on Wikipedia fairer and more accurate. Here you can read more about my active research.

On this website you can also view the course notes for classes I've taught, and read my notes on special topics.


Email: sbaltz {at} umich {dot} edu

Office: 6556 Haven Hall, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Except during global pandemics.

Everything I know, I learned at Spacesim.

This page was last modified on 2021 April 30 by Samuel Baltz