Helbing, Dirk, Prof. Dr.
Research at the Professorship of Computational Social Science aims at three-fold integration:
(1) bringing modeling and computer simulation of social processes and phenomena together with related empirical, experimental, and data-driven work,
(2) combining perspectives of different scientific disciplines (e.g. socio-physics, social, computer and complexity science),
(3) bridging between fundamental and applied work.
The research focus has quickly moved from studying pedestrian crowds and vehicle traffic to studying social coordination, cooperation, norms, crime and conflict as well as collective opinion formation and the wisdom of crowds. The team uses methods such as evolutionary game theoretical modeling, agent-based computer simulations, as well as lab and web experiments. The analysis of Big Data, cultural science, real-time data mining ("Nervousnet", "Planetary Nervous System"), the creation of self-organizing systems, innovation and the investigation how science works, are further subjects of interest ("Innovation Accelerator"). The COSS team is also engaged in the study of systemic risks, and possible measures of risk reduction and disaster response, including earthquake resilience and advice on epidemic spreading.
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Dirk Helbing is Professor of Computational Social Science at the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences and affiliate of the Computer Science Department at ETH Zurich. He earned a PhD in physics at the University of Stuttgart and was Managing Director of the Institute of Transport & Economics at Dresden University of Technology in Germany. He is internationally known for his work on pedestrian crowds, vehicle traffic, and agent-based models of social systems. Furthermore, he coordinates the FuturICT Initiative (http://www.futurict.eu), which focuses on the understanding of techno-socio-economic systems, using smart data. His work is documented in hundreds of scientific articles, keynote lectures and media reports worldwide. Helbing is an elected member of the prestigious German Academy of Sciences "Leopoldina" and worked for the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Complex Systems. He is also co-founder of the Physics of Socio-Economic Systems Division of the German Physical Society and of ETH Zurich’s Risk Center. In 2013, he became a board member of the Global Brain Institute in Brussels. Within the ERC Advanced Investigator Grant "Momentum" he works on social simulations based on cognitive agents. His recent publication in Nature discusses globally networked risks and how to respond. In a further publication in Science, he furthermore contributed to the discovery of the hidden laws of global epidemic spread. On January 10, 2014, he received a honorary PhD from Delft University of Technology, where he is now heading the PhD program "Engineering Social Technologies for a Responsible Digital Future".