The Penn State Symposium on Election Security is pleased to announce Andrew Appel as the keynote speaker. Appel is Eugene Higgins Professor Computer Science, and served from 2009-2015 as Chair of the department. His research is in software verification, computer security, programming languages and compilers, and technology policy. He received his A.B. summa cum laude in physics from Princeton in 1981, and his Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1985. Professor Appel has been editor in chief of ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems and is a fellow of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery). He has worked on fast N-body algorithms (1980s), Standard ML of New Jersey (1990s), Foundational Proof-Carrying Code (2000s), and the Verified Software Toolchain (2010s).
Appel’s address is titled Principles and Protocols for Transparent Counting of Secret Ballots. A brief abstract of the speech can be found below.
Abstract: Elections in the United States must record, count, and aggregate the
preferences indicated by the voters, (1) without subjecting voters to
coercion or bribery (i.e., using a secret ballot); (2) with many
different contests to vote on in the same election (making it
impractical to count by hand); (3) administered by sometimes partisan
election officials (thus requiring protocols that are sufficiently
transparent for the losing candidate to trust the result); (4) using
voting machines in which (like any modern computers) we’re not
completely sure what software is installed; and (5) with voters who
are only human and use the machines only once every two or four years
(so human-factor issues are important).
It’s difficult to satisfy all these requirements simultaneously;
I will describe the consensus that has been reached in the U.S. about
how to record and count votes, and the use of risk-limiting audits
to detect and correct computer hacking and inaccuracies.