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PM4E engines performance (for pref votes/UK 2013)

dr abc

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So I am currently in my third week of creating a 'what-if' scenario for Prime Minister forever... for now called "United Kingdom 2013 - the Double Dip Recession"

I am doing what I have planned to do for a while, which is a scenario with a different electoral system. It is based on the United Kingdom 2010 default scenario (with extra regions), but will simulate the new Alternative Vote which will be voted on in a referendum next year.

I thought the best option would be to use the Preferences Voting which was created for PM4E Australia, but can also be toggled in the 2010 version of PM4E UK.

To make it more manageable, I also reduced the numbers of constituencies. To make deciding on the new constituencies straight forward, I decided to simply reduce the constituencies by half - every new constituency is the average of two actual neighboring constituencies [ I can average the two, then add uniform swings in Access and manually make modifications in Constituency Editor for special cases ]

I've created the two regions of Scotland, Wales and the West Country of England that way.

The problem which has come up in testing (with 580 odd seats, since most of England has not been converted) is that the player interface takes a huge amount of time to display % shares when switching from one region to another. It takes a couple of minutes to calculate the initial party shares on first starting a new game. Switching to a region can take half a minute, but once it has loaded you can look through the individual seats without waiting. If you switch back to national view or another region the game freezes again.

I thought that a reason for this could be that there are more parties than PM4 Australia (which only had 4). The algorithm for calculating second preference votes with four times more parties and a similar number of seats must require 4 ^4 = 16 times more processing power...

My computer is not bad (4 Gb RAM, 2.13 Ghz) but I wouldn't want to go to all this effort to discover that the game is just barely playable on my computer and unplayable on many others.

Does anybody have any experience of creating Preferences-based electoral system scenarios?

Do you know if the new Australia 2010 engine has been improved, whether it can support more parties and whether it would be faster at calculating results?

In the mean time I will continue to cut the number of seats down to 325 (ideally I should have aimed 550) and could potentially remove two parties (down to 14) and hope performance improves.

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The scenario itself features:

-Rocketing unemployment/inflation -> highly unpopular government

-IMF called in, even harsher austerity plans

-A Lib - Con informal alliance

-Britain's membership of the EU in question

-Another terrorist attack on Britain occurred in Birmingham

-Ed Miliband (decided on him before he won the leadership contest - got that right!) Labour has recovered and is level with Lib-Con total, but has alienated of the unions and hard left

-The three main parties at lowest ever combined vote share (~75%)

-New: a Militant-style, union-backed socialist party; EDL/BNP merger with a demagogic street fighting new leader; Tory right defectors/and remnant of UKIP alliance backed by City interests threatening some Tory seats; a populist, media-friendly millionaire who came a shock second in the 2012 London Mayoral leads an anti-politics movement.

Scotland with AV has been very interesting just from merging and applying uniform swing... There are about 6 seats (out of 30) where Liberal ministers are barely holding on. Most of the country outside Glasgow/Edinburgh is an SNP-Labour battle ground (the SNP does well from second preferences). Give or take a few % and the seat outcome is completely different. I also put Tommy Sheridan in with a chance in a Glasgow seat.

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