News and running events

2018-11-01Paper published in Nature Physics on interdisciplinarity and the Nobel Prize
2018-10-17What the Street!? visualization won the City Vis 2018 competition in Art & Advocacy
2017-12-05Call for papers at International Journal of Geo-information:
Human-Centric Data Science for Urban Studies
Editors: Resch, Szell
Submission deadline: 2019-04-30


Michael Szell is assistant professor at Central European University, Department of Network and Data Science, adjunct visiting professor at Northeastern University, Center for Complex Network Research, and external faculty at the Complexity Science Hub Vienna. His interdisciplinary background of Physics, Mathematics, and Computer Science is well reflected in his research goals: To quantitatively understand collective behavior and the underlying patterns of our interlinked actions and decisions, involving mining and modeling large-scale data sets of human activities using computational and network-based approaches. Michael's current focus is exploring urban mobility, sustainability, and data visualization, following his previous research positions at MIT's Senseable City Lab and moovel lab. More generally he works on understanding urban and online environments, for example the social dynamics of players in his massive multiplayer online game "Pardus", Michael received his academic degrees in Vienna, Austria (MSc from Vienna University of Technology, PhD from University of Vienna).

Research interests

  • Quantifying human behavior and social networks, in particular online and in cities
  • Urban sustainability and human mobility
  • Data visualization, Data science, Complex systems

Research highlights

2018-11-01: Nature Physics perspective on Nobel Prizes published 2018-03-29: Urban Planning paper on mobility space inequality published 2015-10-01: Nature Physics paper on citation networks published and on the cover 2014-09-16: PNAS paper on taxi shareability published and on the cover 2013-03-19: PNAS paper on diabetes risk published 2010-08-03: PNAS paper on multiplex networks published

Data visualization highlights

2017-06: What the Street!? 2014-03: HubCab
2014-02: Tweet Bursts


2012 / 03Ph.D. in Physics, University of Vienna
Ph.D. Thesis

Advisors: Stefan Thurner, Christoph Dellago
2007 / 10M.Sc. in Technical Mathematics with focus on computer science, Vienna University of Technology
M.Sc. Thesis

Current positions

2019 / 01
2017 / 10
Assistant professor, Department of Network and Data Science, Central European University
2019 / 01
2017 / 09
Researcher, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
2017 / 04
External faculty, Complexity Science Hub Vienna
2016 / 09
Adjunct visiting professor, Center for Complex Network Research, Northeastern University
2006 / 09
Founder and manager of Bayer & Szell OG
2004 / 07
Developer and administrator of the Massive Multiplayer Online Game Pardus

Past positions

2017 / 09
2016 / 10
Visiting research fellow, Center for Network Science, Central European University
2017 / 09
2016 / 09
Research fellow, Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
2016 / 12
2016 / 09
Researcher in residence, moovel lab
2016 / 09
2014 / 07
Postdoctoral research associate, Center for Complex Network Research, Northeastern University
2014 / 07
2012 / 04
Postdoctoral research fellow, Senseable City Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2011 / 12
2009 / 01
Research assistant, Section for Science of Complex Systems, Medical University of Vienna