Networks

Welcome, I am an assistant professor of Social Networks at ETH Zürich. I am professionally interested in analytical social network analysis, statistical methods for social networks, and social networks software development. For latest information about job openings at ETH, teaching, software, and recent publications, please refer to the website of the Chair of Social Networks at ETH Zürich.

Why social networks are amazing

Social networks are the structures that emerge when humans interact. You can sometimes read that social networks are amazingly complex. Well, they start amazingly simple: The nuclei of social networks are the interactions of two or a few individuals. Think of trust, friendship, dislike, behavioral imitation, social learning. All these things usually happen on a small scale.

But then many networks of two or a few individuals interconnect like pieces of a puzzle, forming large scale social networks with up to billions of nodes. New things happen: Specialized collaboration, polarization of opinions, spread of knowledge and diffusion of culture are enabled by large scale social networks. These dynamic processes have in turn effects on individuals and their small scale behavior. And suddenly, trying to understanding social networks is getting amazingly complex and amazingly fun!

What my research is about

It is this duality of small scale behavior and large scale processes in social networks that has been fascinating me for a few years now. In my research I use cutting-edge tools from statistics and computer science and try to combine them with the theoretical foundation of the social sciences. Today we have new huge, behavioral data sources — think of phone call data sets with millions of people. We can make use computational power available to study for the first time large scale processes that are driven by small scale behavior. I believe we should make use of these tools to tackle research questions and test theories that are based on the ideas of the early social networks researchers.