CCCSS Workshop

The program for our workshop on December 15th is finally available for your reading pleasure. We’ll be talking about how to design a great sociometer experiment – and what the most exciting research questions are. Note that the workshop is open to the public, so if you’re in (or near) Copenhagen, do stop by!

We do have limited seating, so please send an email to David ( by December 12th, if you plan on attending.


The Copenhagen Center for Computational Social Science Inaugural Workshop. December 15th, 2011. Organized by Anders Blok, Søren KyllingsbækDavid Dreyer Lassen, Morten Axel Pedersen and yours truly.


At last year’s Techonomy Conference, former Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, noted: “There was 5 exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization through 2003, but that much information is now created every 2 days, and the pace is increasing”. This massive increase in the rate of data generation has opened up new possibilities for computational investigations of human behavior. We – a multi-disciplinary team of scholars from the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Copenhagen and the Technical University of Denmark – are interested in taking advantage of the recent technological developments in order to push the current boundaries of quantitatively based understandings of social systems.

Specifically, the aim of our proposed research program CCCSS (Copenhagen Center for Computational Social Science) is to record the network of social interactions with very high resolution (both in terms of temporal sampling and number of recorded communication channels) by using smart phones as sensors for sampling a variety of communication channels, e.g. face-to-face via Bluetooth, geolocation via GPS, social network data (Facebook, Twitter) via apps, and telecommunication data via call logs. Based on this highly complex and dynamic network, we want to develop computational (mathematical) approaches to describe the underlying social system. In addition to this overall goal, we are interested in a five concrete themes, which will support and inform our efforts to formulate a general theoretical framework spanning across different scientific disciplines:

  1. Incomplete data and sampling. The significance of having access to only a small fraction of the full data in a networked system is poorly understood at present. We will use our findings from this high-resolution sample as a tool to understand much larger `low resolution’ data sets describing millions of individuals and billions of interactions.
  2. Information stored in relationships. We know, in a casual sense, that it is possible to learn about a person by the company she keeps. We show that we can quantify this notion in a social network and we study to what extent our behavioral patterns are encoded in our social relations.
  3. Influence in social systems. We wish to study how influence spreads in social systems, which is a problematic issue in most datasets. Our experimental setup allows us to probe causal issues by running controlled interventions; we will be able to run field experiments to test our hypotheses.
  4. Methodological experiments and their epistemological effects. For a long time, social scientific methods have been split according to a qualitative/quantitative divide. Based on our experiment, we want to explore how new high-resolution datasets may shift the terms of this debate. As part of this effort, we also wish to investigate what the increasing use of digital setups in social network analysis means for the nature of the (social) scientific experiment
  5. Privacy and ethics in social network research. We explore the question of privacy and develop novel strategies to ensure that our research (and the research of others working on similar topics) does not violate individual and collective rights to privacy.


Thursday, December 15th, 2011:

  • 9.30 Coffee
  • 10.00 Sune Lehmann: Introduction
  • 11.00 Martin Raubal: Socially informed location-based knowledge discovery
  • 12.00 Lunch
  • 13.00 Daniele Quercia: Personality and Language in Social Media
  • 14.00 Tea
  • 14.30 Alan Mislove: Privacy in Online Social Networks
  • 15.30 Matt Candea: The quantity and quality of gaps: On the value of not knowing certain things

Note that we’ll follow the format 30 min. + discussion for all talks


The Seminar Room (2nd floor, CSS 26.2.21)
Department of Economics
Building 26, Centre of Health and Society (CSS)
Øster Farimagsgade 5 (
1353 København, Denmark

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