Election Glossary

We provide explanations and background information on elections, voting rights and digital democracy

George Pólya

George Pólya was a Hungarian mathematician and is still today one of the most important thinkers in his field. He was born on December 13, 1887 in Budapest, which at that time was part of Austria-Hungary.

Pólya first studied languages and literature before he turned to physics and mathematics. After graduating, he taught in Vienna, Gottingen and Zurich, where he undertook research as a professor from 1928 onwards. In 1940, he moved to the US and taught at Stanford University from 1942-1953. He remained an Emeritus Professor at Stanford and stayed in the US where he died in 1985 at the age of 97.

George Pólya - The Mathematician 

Amongst other works, he wrote a series called "How to Solve it" which is now considered core literature in heuristics (approaches to problem solving) and is still used today. In addition, his groundwork highly contributed to the development of encryption technology and the calculation of proportional representation elections. 

An honorary scholarship at the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) is named after him (Pólya Lecturer). 

POLYAS and George Pólya

The POLYAS Online Voting System is named after George Pólya because his research greatly contributed to progress in encryption techniques and calculations involved in proportional representation, about which he wrote a number of papers.

More about electoral research at POLYAS!


See also: Proportional representation, block checksums, digital key

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