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Projects - Spring 2012

The research project is the core part of this course. Students are required to implement an established mathematical model from the (sociological or related) literature in MATLAB. The final grade in the course is based on a 15 min. oral presentation and a written 30-40 pages report (including source code) detailing the project.

The project work may be completed in groups of one to four people - we recommend to work at least in pairs such that the work load for each student is not too large. Project topic suggestions with literature reference will be made available below. There will be enough time to select a project among the suggested topics or a topic of a student's choice that is in accordance with the framework of the course. Students are then asked to submit a short proposal detailing their intended research project; you will be required to uploaded your proposal directly to your project's GitHub repository. An introduction to GitHub, a free open source version control software, will be given throughout the course.

Link: GitHub Repository Template



The timeline for your project work is as follows:

  • Find a topic you are interested in and a group of students you would like to work with (please also use the course mailing list to ask for project partners).
  • Please consult the list below for project suggestion; we also provide a number of links to data sets that are available online and that might serve as the basis of your self-chosen research topic.
  • Final deadline for submitting the project proposal and signing up for a project was Monday, March 26th 2012.
  • Please set up a GitHub repository for your group using the template; you may also find the template for the research proposal there. Submission of your proposal is simply through uploading to your repository.
  • We ask you to submit the proposal in order to ensure that you are on the right track with your project ideas - it is in your best interest to be as precise about what you are planning to do as possible.
  • Note: signing up for a project and later dropping out of the course/not handing in a seminar thesis is no problem; the binding registration for receiving credits in the course will be done when signing up for the final oral presentations.
  • As soon as you have submitted your research proposal and you have received our feedback you may start working on the project - the earlier you start, the better!
  • The final deadline for submission of the project reports is Friday May 25th 2012, midnight sharp. Submission is done through GitHub, please make sure that the final version of your report and code is online before the deadline.
  • The final oral presentations will take place in CLU C 1 (Clausiusstrasse 50) on
    Tuesday, May 29th 9.15-12.15
    Tuesday, May 30th 9.15-12.15
    Tuesday, May 30th 16.15-18.15

  • Please sign up for one of the three presentation slots in class or via the mailinglist; if you require a particular time please indicate so when signing up. Also note that registration for the final exams is binding, if you are registered and fail to hand in a project report/give a presentation you will fail the course.


Project Suggestions - Spring 2012

Please find below the list of projects topics we suggest this term. Each zip-archive contains one or several papers on the respective topic.
If you have an interesting project idea not listed below that you would like to realize, please approach us with a short but conclusive description of your project idea and provide us with the paper(s) you would like to base the project on.

More project suggestions will be added.

Projects of the previous semester

You may find a list of interesting projects from previous semesters in our GitHub repository here. Please look through some of the reports to get an idea for the kind of work we are expecting from you. Note that we are very aware of the projects that have been previously completed in the course and we want to remind you that copying of previously submitted work will result in automatic failure of the course.


The following links point to some interesting datasets. However, feel free to look for other datasets!

List of datasets
A list of some interesting datasets.
datasets.pdf (PDF, 139 KB)

Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study
The project provides a preliminary data set from 1.6 billion temperature reports combined from 15 preexisting data archives; the data set is available in MATLAB format.

International real-time data provider for decision makers in finance, business and government.

Maddison Data
Historical statistics about GDP and population data.

World Bank
The World Bank Data Catalog provides download access to over 2,000 socio-economic indicators from World Bank data sets.

International Monetary Found
The IMF publishes a range of time series data on IMF lending, exchange rates and other economic and financial indicators.

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM)
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor provides annual assessments of entrepreneurial activity, ambitions and attitudes for a wide range of countries.

Living Science
Living Science is a real time global science observatory based on publications submitted to It covers real time (daily) submissions of publications in areas as diverse as Physics, Astronomy, Computer Science, Mathematics and Quantitative Biology. Currently, contents are dynamically updated each day. Living Science is a powerful analysis tool to identify the magnitude and impact of scientific work worldwide.

CPSR of the University of Michigan
ICPSR offers more than 500,000 digital files containing social science research data. Disciplines represented include political science, sociology, demography, economics, history, gerontology, criminal justice, public health, foreign policy, terrorism, health and medical care, early education, education, racial and ethnic minorities, psychology, law, substance abuse and mental health, and more.

UK Data Center of the University of Essex
The UK’s largest collection of digital research data in the social sciences and humanities.

World Value Survey
The World Value Survey provides data about values and cultural changes in societies all over the world.

CSCW Data on Armed Conflict
CSCW and Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, have collaborated in the production of a dataset of armed conflicts, both internal and external, in the period 1946 to the present. Currently, probably the most extensive dataset repository available, in particular for historic data.

Partially contained in the PRIO dataset, ACLED (Armed Conflict Location and Events Dataset) is designed for disaggregated conflict analysis and crisis mapping. This dataset codes the location of all reported conflict events in 50 countries in the developing world. Data are currently being coded from 1997 to 2009 and the pro ject continues to backdate conflict information for African states to the year of independence.

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