People

The Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project is directed by R. Michael Alvarez (Professor of Political Science, Caltech) and by Charles Stewart III (Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science, MIT).  Members of the VTP are Stephen Ansolabehere (Professor of Government at Harvard University), Stephen C. Graves (Abraham J. Siegel Professor of Management Science at MIT), Jonathan N. Katz (Kay Sugahara Professor of Social Sciences and Statistics, Caltech), and Ronald L. Rivest (Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electoral Engineering and Computer Science, MIT)

Michael Alvarez
R. Michael Alvarez, Co-Director, Caltech/MIT VTP

Michael Alvarez's research focuses on public opinion and voting behavior, election technology and administration, electoral politics, political campaigns, and statistical and computational modeling. He has long been interested in empirically testing formal models of elections and voting behavior. For example, he studied the 2003 California gubernatorial recall election with Caltech's Rod Kiewiet to test basic assumptions behind rational-choice models of decision making.

Since 2000, most of his work has related to the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project, studying current voting technologies and election administration and procedures as well as developing ways to improve the current system. Alvarez and his colleagues are pioneering new theories and methods for studying election administration and procedures, both in the United States and abroad.

Alvarez also studies electoral politics and voting behavior. His recent research has looked at the way applications like "voter advice applications" might influence how informed voters are and whether they turn out to vote. In other recent studies conducted with J. Andrew Sinclair (USC), Alvarez has examined the new "top-two" primary in California and evaluated the efficacy of open primary procedures. 

Alvarez is a fellow of the Society for Political Methodology and was recognized by Scientific American magazine for outstanding acts of leadership in science and technology as a policy leader in the computing category in 2004. He received the Emerging Scholar Award in the Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior Section of the American Political Science Association in 2001. He also received the Caltech Graduate Student Council Mentoring Award for 2006–2007.


Charles Stewart
Charles Stewart III, Co-Director, Caltech/MIT VTP

Charles Stewart III is the Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science at MIT, where he has taught since 1985, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His research and teaching areas include elections, congressional politics, and American political development.

Since 2001, Professor Stewart has been a member of the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project.  Professor Stewart is an established leader in the analysis of the performance of election systems and the quantitative assessment of election performance. Working with the Pew Charitable Trusts, he helped develop Pew’s Elections Performance Index. Professor Stewart also provided advice to the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. His research on measuring the performance of elections and polling place operations has been funded by Pew, the Democracy Fund, and the Hewlett Foundation. His most recent book in the area of election administration is The Measure of American Elections (2014, with Barry C. Burden).

His current research about Congress touches on the historical development of committees, origins of partisan polarization, and Senate elections. His recent books of congressional research include Electing the Senate (2014, with Wendy J. Schiller), Fighting for the Speakership (2012, with Jeffery A. Jenkins), and Analyzing Congress (2nd ed., 2011).


Stephen Ansolabehere

Stephen Ansolabehere

Stephen Ansolabehere is Professor of Government at Harvard University. He is an expert in public opinion and elections, and has published extensively on elections, mass media, and representation, political economy, and public opinion, especially concerning energy and the environment. He is author of four books: The Media Game, Going Negative, American Government, and The End of Inequality. He is a Carnegie Scholar (2000), a Hoover National Fellow (1994), and Truman Scholar (1982) and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007.

He directed the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project from its founding in 2000 through 2004; is a member of the Board of Overseers of the American National Election Study and the Reuters Institute of Journalism at Oxford University; and consults for CBS News Election Decision Desk. He is the principal investigator of the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, a collaborative effort of over 60 universities and colleges in the United States.


Stephen Graves

Stephen C. Graves

Stephen C. Graves is the Abraham J. Siegel Professor of Management Science at MIT. Graves received his A.B. and M.B.A. from Dartmouth College and completed his Ph.D. in operations research from the University of Rochester. Since 1977 he has been a faculty member at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He has served as a deputy dean at the MIT Sloan School, 1990-1993 and the co-director of the MIT Leaders for Manufacturing (LFM) Program (1989-1990 and 1994-2001) and the System Design and Management (SDM) Program (1999-2001). He served a two-year term as the Chair of the MIT Faculty, 2001-2003. He has joint faculty appointment with the Mechanical Engineering Department at MIT. He is a faculty affiliate of the Engineering System and Design pillar at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. He teaches classes in supply chain planning and design, and in mathematical modeling and analysis, as applied to manufacturing, supply chains and distribution systems. His primary research interests are in the design and planning of manufacturing systems and supply chains; recent efforts have considered supply-chain optimization, the evaluation of manufacturing flexibility and various tactical issues arising in online retailing.

He has authored about 80 refereed papers and is the co-editor of two handbooks: Logistics of Production and Inventory and Supply Chain Management: Design, Coordination and Operation. Graves has served on several editorial boards for journals in operations management and management science, and is formerly the editor-in-chief of Manufacturing & Services Operations Management, the INFORMS journal for operations management. He has conducted industry-based research projects with numerous companies, including AT&T, IBM, Monsanto, Eastman Kodak, Amazon.com, Intel, General Motors, Boeing, Teradyne and Staples. He has been a member of the Board of Advisors to Optiant and Invistics, and the chief science advisor to JDA Software. He has been selected as an INFORMS Fellow, a MSOM Fellow and a POMS Fellow.


Jonathan Katz

Jonathan N. Katz

Jonathan N. Katz is the Kay Sugahara Professor of Social Science as Statistics at Caltech where he also served as Chair of the Division of Humanities and Sciences for seven years.  His research lies at the intersection of political science, economics, and statistics. His work focuses primarily on the development of statistical methods for the social sciences and their empirical applications, particularly to elections and other public policy questions.

Dr. Katz’s work on methods for time-series cross-sectional data—such as those used in comparative political economy and international relations—has been highly influential, appearing in textbooks and widely used statistical-analysis software. The paper he wrote with Nathaniel Beck in 1995 in the American Political Science Review was listed as the eighth most influential article published in the first century of the journal's history. His research on redistricting and other aspects of elections has been cited in several legal cases, including a Supreme Court decision.

Dr. Katz is currently the co-editor of the journal Political Analysis, journal of the Society for Political Methodology, and the editor for quantitative methods at the Political Science Network (PSN). He serves on the editorial board of two other journals. He previously served as co-director of the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project. 

Dr. Katz is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an inaugural fellow of the Society for Political Methodology. He was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, a visiting professor at the University of Konstanz, a John M. Olin Foundation faculty fellow, and a postdoctoral fellow in positive political economy at Harvard University He was previously on the faculty of the University of Chicago.


Ronald Rivest

Ronald L. Rivest

Ronald Rivest is an MIT Institute Professor. His home department is the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He is a member of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), a member of the lab's Theory of Computation Group and is a leader of its Cryptography and Information Security Group.

Professor Rivest has current research interests in cryptography, computer and network security, voting systems, and algorithms.  He has also worked extensively in machine learning.

Professor Rivest is a co-author (with Professors Cormen, Leiserson, and Stein) of the well-known text Introduction to Algorithms, published by MIT Press. Over 500,000 copies of this text have been sold. It has been translated into 12 languages.

Professor Rivest is an inventor of the RSA public-key cryptosystem. He has extensive experience in cryptographic design and cryptanalysis, and has published numerous papers in these areas. He has served as a Director of the International Association for Cryptologic Research, the organizing body for the Eurocrypt and Crypto conferences, and as a Director of the Financial Cryptography Association. He is a founder of RSA Data Security. (RSA was bought by Security Dynamics; the combined company was renamed to RSA Security, and later purchased by EMC), and is also a co-founder of Verisign and of Peppercoin.

Professor Rivest is a member of the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project. He has served on the Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC), advisory to the Election Assistance Commission, developing recommendations for voting system certification standards; he was chair of the TGDC's Computer Security and Transparency Subcommittee. He also serves on the Board of the Verified Voting Foundation. He is a member of a Scantegrity team developing and testing voting systems that are verifiable ``end-to-end.''

Professor Rivest is a member of the NSF Center for Science of Information.

Professor Rivest received a B.A. in Mathematics from Yale University in 1969, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University in 1974; his research supervisor was Professor Robert Floyd.  He was a post-doc at INRIA in Rocquencourt, France for the academic year 1973-74.

Professor Rivest is a member of the following professional societies: AAAS (American Academy of Arts and Sciences),
ACM (Association for Computing Machinery),  IACR (International Association for Cryptologic Research),  IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers),  NAE (National Academy of Engineering), and the NAS (National Academy of Science).

Professor Rivest has received numerous awards, including

- 2015 JD Falk Award from the Messaging Malware Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG) (as co-author of ``Keys under Doormats'' report)
- ETH Zurich ABZ Platinum Gold Medal for Computer Science and Computer Science Education
- National Cyber Security Hall of Fame Award
- RSA 2011 Conference Lifetime Achievement Award (with A. Shamir and L. Adleman)
- Killian Faculty Achievement Award from MIT
- NEC C&C Prize (with A. Shamir and L. Adleman)
- Marconi Prize
- The 2002 ACM Turing Award (with A. Shamir and L. Adleman)
- National Computer Systems Security Award

Professor Rivest serves on the EPIC Advisory Board (Electronic Privacy Information Center), and the Verified Voting Foundation Board.