Sidney W. Hess Computer Research on Nonpartisan Districting, Inc. records
Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267
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Overview and metadata sections
Sidney W. Hess (b. 1932 in Ames, Iowa), distinguished in the practice and education of operations research (OR), joined with a team in the early 1960s to apply computer programming and OR as a practical solution to the political challenge of non-partisan redistricting of voting districts. The methodology, using decision trees and dynamic programming, was later applied in business to realignment of sales territories and selection of research and development projects.
Through his involvement with the project knows as CROND (Computer Research on Nonpartisan Districting), Sidney W. Hess developed the first computer program for legislative redistricting. CROND was an operations research study run by volunteers aiming to uncover equitable methods of drawing legislative districts in accordance with the Supreme Court's one-man one-vote ruling.
Sidney Hess earned his bachelors in science studying chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was introduced to OR as a lieutenant assigned to the US. Army's Chemical Corps Operations Research Group (1954-1956). He earned one of the first doctorates in OR from Case Institute of Technology in 1960. From 1959-1966, Hess was manager of OR at Atlas Chemical Industries.
During this time, Hess joined James B. Weaver in searching for a computer approach to redistricting. The two were provided computer time by Atlas until DuPont offered use of a larger computer facility. They were joined by new volunteers from DuPont: John N. Whelan, Harry J. Siegfeldt, Paul A. Zitlau, and W. Henry Wagner. Together, this group formed the nucleus of the volunteer research team that became known as CROND. The team first published their results in the 1963Yale Law Journal.
In 1964, when the DuPont Company was no longer able to supply computer time, CROND obtained a $96,000 grant from the Ford Foundation through the National Municipal League. The team developed the "Redist" computer program for nonpartisan redistricting and published a manual for this program in April 1967. CROND provided proposals for legislative districts in New York and Delaware. After the Federal Court ruled Delaware districting unconstitutional in 1967, the legislature accepted one of CROND's computer plans. It was signed by Governor Charles Terry and approved by the Federal Court. In May 1970, CROND received the Good Government Award from the Committee of 39.
Hess worked in both industry and teaching. He was as an associate professor at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania (1966) and director of Wharton's Management and Behavioral Science Center (1966-1976). He returned to industry as director of Pharmaceutical Development and later VP/general manager of the Aerospace Division at ICI Americas (1974-1986). Hess was professor of management at Drexel University (1986-1996). Professionally, Hess served as president of TIMS (The Institute of Management Sciences) and received other honors. He was elected a Fellow of INFORMS (The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, successor to TIMS).
"Sidney W. Hess." INFORMS. https://www.informs.org/About-INFORMS/History-and-Traditions/Miser-Harris-Presidential-Portrait-Gallery/Sidney-W.-Hess (accessed January 2016).
The Sidney W. Hess CROND records span the dates 1963-1971. Records include academic journal articles, reports, conference papers, manuals, presentation notes, a Good Government Award, and a letter of congratulations from Russell W. Peterson. The collection consists of approximately 0.5 linear feet of paper records.
Gift of Sidney W. Hess, 2016
Processed and encoded by Cheryl Mariani, January 2016.
- University of Delaware Library Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
- Finding Aid Date
- 2016 January 14
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research.
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