Not a bad year

As we enter the new year, it’s always fun to reflect on the year that’s just passed. And it’s been a good one. So good that I almost entitled this post “Everything is awesome”. Below is a list containing a lot of the stuff I should have written about during the year.

Graduation day

Back in June, Vedran Sekara became the first PhD graduate from my group. His thesis was on Dynamics of High Resolution Networks – a fine piece of work. And we were lucky to have Petter Holme and James Bagrow visit to be on the committee; it was great to see them both again.

2015-06-19 20.29.26

Upon graduating, Vedran landed a nice job with Sony (Lund offices) as a data scientist. He’s still a visiting researcher in the group and we’re currently collaborating on a few super interesting projects based on Sony’s LifeLog App data.

Arek @ Google

And Vedran is not the only person with a cool new job. Arek Stopczynski, a senior postdoc in my group (and all-round awesome data scientist) has landed a super exciting job with Google in California.

Arek’s work with Google is (of course) top-secret, but they’re lucky to have him!

Alan Mislove

Also this year, good friend, brilliant computer scientist, and associate professor at Northeastern University, Alan Mislove (+ familiy) is spending his sabbatical here in Denmark, with Alan visiting my group. Having him around is not only a lot of fun, but also enlightening … and we have a few exciting projects in the ‘under construction’ phase. And Alan is going to be around for another six months 🙂

Still young

For me, it was a big deal to receive the Sapere Aude Young Investigator Grant from the Danish Council for Independent research. The grant title is Microdynamics of Influence in Social Systems, and you can read a popular description of it here (it’s in Danish). This grant is not easy to win, and will  keep me in business for the next few years.

Sune & Hal Varian

And more in Google (and other) news. In September, I gave a talk at the event “Big data til gavn for vækst og velfærd – en unik dansk mulighed“, which took place at the Danish National Museum (a pretty cool venue). I gave the talk with collaborator and all-round great guy David Dreyer Lassen.This event, however, had some pretty cool remaining speakers, which included Hal Varian who’s Google’s chief economist and arguably one of the most influential people on the planet.

There were other fancy speakers, for example the Danish Minister of the Interior (“Social- og indenrigsminister”) Karen Elleman.

Press coverage

This year, my group received lot’s of nice press coverage. Below is a selection.

On TV!

As a first, fun thing I was interviewed on TV for the first time. It was just a local Copenhagen channel, but it was still scary to be right there in a pro studio being interviewed “live on tape”. Oh and the interview (which is in Danish) was about the Science paper Unique in the Shopping Mall by some of our good friends and collaborators at MIT.

There were a couple of additional videos about our works. One created by DEIC as part of their new e-Science knowledge portal. Watch it here. And German TV also sent a crew to report on the SensibleDTU experiment.

Router Crazyness

Another big event was my PhD studen Piotr Sapiezynski’s paper Tracking Human Mobility Using Wifi SignalsThe paper is about how easy it is to recreate human mobility traces using the routers that our smartphones connect to. And has a nice explainer site. I also wrote about it on this blog and tweeted this:

But that was just the beginning. That post was by far my most read in the history of this blog and still skews the month-to-month statistics.

And the paper was covered widely, also in the international press, for example the Atlantic’s CityLab:

Lots of other coverage

We also received lots of other nice Press coverage. I was in the DTU paper talking about how academics can use Twitter. You can find a link in the nice tweet from The Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation (Forsknings og Innovationsstyrelsen).

We were also covered in Politiken and in the magazine Dynamo with a beautiful photo spread, featuring Andrea Cuttone‘s beautiful graphics.

Also, my paper with Jari Saramäki and Talayeh Aladavood also got lots of coverage, below are a couple of examples:

Finally, Vedran and I wrote about Network Science in a danish popular physics journal and made with cover with one of Vedran’s beautiful visualizations.

The full details on all of this can be found on the Press page, when I get around to updating that.

Great exchange visits

This was also the where year two of my PhD students were spending 6 months of their program abroad (this is standard for Danish PhD students). Piotr Sapiezynski visited Jure Leskovec at Stanford and Andrea Cuttone is still visiting Marta Gonzalez at MIT. Feel very lucky to be able to send the guys out to these groups that are among the most exciting places on the planet.

Coursera course

And I also created a Coursera version of my Social Graphs and Interactions course. Here’s  a link to the course page: The video explains it pretty well.


Digital Halo grant

We also got a very nice grant from the Data Transparency Lab to study browsing behavior.

We were in excellent company – the other grantees were from prestigious universities like Princeton University, Carnegie Mellon University, Northwestern University, Columbia University, and many other fine schools. Here’s a little 40 sec. video explaining the project.

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