Postdoc or PhD

Institution: ETH Zurich, Team of Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Dirk Helbing, Chair of Sociology, in particular of Modeling and Simulation

Salary or grade: Postdoc or PhD

Start date and contract length: March 1st 2009. Up to 4 years contract.

Announcement at
Description of position:

The successful candidate will develop his/her research in collaboration with other members of the Chair of Sociology, in particular Modeling and Simulation (SOMS) at ETH Zurich. SOMS is a young, multidisciplinary, international group, investigating social systems from the point of view of complexity science, particularly on areas such as game theory, network theory, human interaction and coordination in space and time, quantitative sociodynamics, behavior of crowds and masses, pedestrian
dynamics and panic, self-organization
and collective intelligence in complex systems, artificial societies, behavioral and decision models, robust organizations and disaster
response management.

As a member of the SOMS team within the QLectives project framework, his/her work will primarily focus on: 1) developing agent-based models to study the influence of typical characteristics of complex social systems on the efficiency, stability and resilience of techno-social collectives; 2) collecting and analyzing massive empirical datasets obtained from Qlectives’ “Living Labs“ and different information platforms supporting techno-social collectives.

Moreover he/she will continuously interact with other Qlectives partners and external collaborators, and will contribute to Qlectives’ dissemination activities by publishing in international peer-review journals, and presenting his/her research in international forums.

Qualifications and experience required:

We are looking for a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher or outstanding PhD student with international publications, particular
mathematical or computer skills and/or experience in massive data evaluation, with an interdisciplinary research approach. A social science background and experience with WEB environments and Geographic Information Systems would be desirable.

Contact email address for further details: Please send your applications, including a CV, exam documents and supporting materials to Prof. Dirk Helbing until February 15, 2009.

QLectives is a new project bringing together top social modelers, peer-to-peer engineers and physicists to design and deploy next generation self-organizing socially intelligent information systems. The project aims to bring together three recent trends within information systems:

  • Social networks - in which people link to others over the Internet to gain value and facilitate collaboration (think Facebook)

  • Peer production - in which people collectively produce informational products and experiences without traditional hierarchies or market incentives (think Wikipedia)

  • Peer-to-Peer systems - in which software clients running on user machines distribute media and other information without a central server or administrative control (think BitTorrent)

QLectives aims to bring these together to form Quality Collectives - functional decentralized communities - that self-organize and self-maintain for the benefit of the people who comprise them. We aim to generate both theory (at the social level), algorithm designs and prototype deployments targeted towards two application domains:

  • QMedia - an interactive peer-to-peer media distribution system (including live streaming) providing fully distributed social filtering and recommendation for quality (think social television 2.0)

  • QScience - a distributed platform for scientists allowing them to locate or form new communities and quality reviewing mechanisms, which are transparent and promote quality (think Slashdot for any particular discipline or sub-discipline)

The approach of the QLectives project is unique in that it brings together a highly inter-disciplinary team applied to specific real world problems. We aim to apply a scientific approach to our designs by formulating theories, applying them to real systems and then performing detailed measurement of system and user behaviour to validate or modify our theories. Our two applications will be based on two existing user communities comprising several thousand people - so-called “Living Labs”. For QMedia we will use the media sharing community. For QScience we will use the EconoPhysics community.

ELectives is 7 million Euro four year project, starting March 2008, funded by the EU under the FP7 FET programme.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at