How to make voting-based decisions that better reflect voters’ preferences? This question has been raised by an ERC Starting Grant recipient, Prof. Piotr Skowron from the UW Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Mechanics in his project “Proportional Algorithms for Democratic Decision”.

Prof. Piotr Skowron from the UW Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Mechanics will conduct together with a team of researchers the project “Proportional Algorithms for Democratic Decision” (PRO-DEMOCRATIC).


The main topic of interest for the researchers are voting methods that could be successfully applied to complex-structured elections.


Prof. Skowron’s research was noticed by the European Research Council, which awarded him the Starting Grant in the amount of €1,479,938.


The project “Proportional Algorithms for Democratic Decision” is set in the field of computational social choice. Its main goal is to analyse formal models describing scenarios, where a group of individuals disagrees on certain matters, yet needs to make a collective decision. This can be observed, for example, in the elections of representative bodies or in participatory budgeting. In addition, proportional algorithms can be used for selecting nominees for an award or for selecting validators in consensus protocols, such as the blockchain.


Proportional public decisions

“As the project team we’ll try to answer the following question: How to ensure that the collective decisions are fair and proportionally reflect voters’ preferences? Our main goal is to create foundations of a theory, which would enable us to analyse various voting methods. We want to design voting algorithms with particularly good properties, especially those related to fairness and proportionality,” Prof. Piotr Skowron says.


The researchers plan to prove whether and under which conditions the established notions of proportionality are satisfiable. Furthermore, they will design tools for analysing both electoral data and voting systems. Finally, the team will look for the most fair and efficient voting methods.


“We are working on overcoming more complex constraints in the voting structure so that our algorithms can be widely applied in various areas of life,” the ERC’s grant recipient underlines.


The project will be conducted for five years, starting from October 2023.

Prof. Piotr Skowron works at the Institute of Informatics of the UW Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Mechanics. His research interests combine topics from various fields, such as: mathematics, informatics and theoretical economics. In 2015 he received a runner-up award for the best doctoral dissertation on multi-agent systems (IFAAMAS Victor Lesser Distinguished Dissertation Award). After doctoral studies at the University of Warsaw, Piotr Skowron did two postdocs at the University of Oxford (2016–2017) and at the Technical University of Berlin (2017–2018). In 2020 he received the prestigious IJCAI Computers and Thought Award for his contributions to computational social choice, and to the theory of committee elections.


Prof. Piotr Skowron is currently conducting a study on voting systems used during the participatory budgeting elections. The methods designed by Skowron are applied in one of the Swiss cantons and Wieliczka, for the purpose of the participatory budgeting elections, devoted to ecological matters.