851-0585-41L  Computational Social Science

SemesterAutumn Semester 2023
LecturersD. Helbing, E. Stockinger, J. C.‑Y. Yang
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


851-0585-41 SComputational Social Science Special students and auditors need a special permission from the lecturers.2 hrs
Tue10:15-12:00LEE D 101 »
D. Helbing, E. Stockinger, J. C.‑Y. Yang

Catalogue data

AbstractThe seminar aims at three-fold integration: (1) bringing modeling and computer simulation of techno-socio-economic processes and phenomena together with related empirical, experimental, and data-driven work, (2) combining perspectives of different scientific disciplines (e.g. sociology, computer science, physics, complexity science, engineering), (3) bridging between fundamental and applied work.
ObjectiveParticipants of the seminar should understand how tightly connected systems lead to networked risks, and why this can imply systems we do not understand and cannot control well, thereby causing systemic risks and extreme events.

They should also be able to explain how systemic instabilities can be understood by changing the perspective from a component-oriented to an interaction- and network-oriented view, and what fundamental implications this has for the proper design and management of complex dynamical systems.

Computational Social Science and Global Systems Science serve to better understand the emerging digital society with its close co-evolution of information and communication technology (ICT) and society. They make current theories of crises and disasters applicable to the solution of global-scale problems, taking a data-based approach that builds on a serious collaboration between the natural, engineering, and social sciences, i.e. an interdisciplinary integration of knowledge.
LiteratureBall: Why Society Is A Complex Matter
• Helbing: Social Self-Organization
• Helbing: Managing Complexity
• Colander/Kupers: Complexity and the Art of Public Policy
• Mitchell: Complexity
• Buckley: Society – A Complex Adaptive System
• Castellani/Hafferty: Sociology and Complexity Science
• Mikhailov/Calenbuhr: From Cells to Society
• Mainzer: Thinking in Complexity
• Sawyer: Social Emergence
• Books published by the Santa Fe Institute

Computational Social Science

Manifesto of Computational Social Science

Social Self-Organisation

How simple rules determine pedestrian behaviour and crowd disasters

Peer review and competition in the Art Exhibition Game

Generalized network dismantling

Computational Social Science: Obstacles and Opportunities

Bit by Bit: Social Research in the Digital Age

Further literature will be recommended in the lectures.
Prerequisites / NoticeStudents need to present a new subject, for which they have not earned any credit points before.

Good scientific practices, in particular citation and quotation rules, must be properly complied with.

Chatham House rules apply to this course. Materials may not be shared without previous written permission.
Subject-specific CompetenciesConcepts and Theoriesassessed
Techniques and Technologiesassessed
Method-specific CompetenciesAnalytical Competenciesassessed
Media and Digital Technologiesfostered
Project Managementfostered
Social CompetenciesCommunicationassessed
Cooperation and Teamworkfostered
Customer Orientationfostered
Leadership and Responsibilityfostered
Self-presentation and Social Influence assessed
Sensitivity to Diversityfostered
Personal CompetenciesAdaptability and Flexibilityfostered
Creative Thinkingassessed
Critical Thinkingassessed
Integrity and Work Ethicsassessed
Self-awareness and Self-reflection assessed
Self-direction and Self-management assessed

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits3 credits
ExaminersD. Helbing, E. Stockinger, J. C.-Y. Yang
Typegraded semester performance
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionRepetition only possible after re-enrolling for the course unit.
Additional information on mode of examinationStudents have to actively contribute to the Seminar and give a presentation on a subject agreed with the lecturer. The presentation should be of about 15 minutes minimum and about 30 minutes maximum, depending on the overall number of presentations in a 90-minute time slot, considering time for discussion.

Learning materials

Main linkMoodle
Only public learning materials are listed.


No information on groups available.


General : Special students and auditors need a special permission from the lecturers
Places40 at the most
Waiting listuntil 08.10.2023

Offered in

Doctorate Humanities, Social and Political SciencesSubject SpecialisationWInformation
Science, Technology, and Policy MasterElectivesWInformation
Science in PerspectiveSociologyWInformation