2024-01-22I won the EU Horizon grant JUST STREETS together with 31 partners. See also the NERDS News.
2023-09-15Review paper published in Computers, Environment and Urban Systems on Sidewalk networks.
2023-06-21Paper published in Environment and Planning B on BikeDNA: A tool for bicycle infrastructure data and network assessment. See also the project page.
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2023-04-19Paper published in EPJ Data Science on Revealing the determinants of gender inequality in urban cycling with large-scale data.
2023-02-21New affiliation at AI Pioneer Centre
2022-12-01Paper published in Transport Findings on Computational Desire Line Analysis of Cyclists on the Dybbølsbro Intersection in Copenhagen.
2022-11-18Mastodon instance set up, to provide a platform for researchers in human-centric data science.
2022-11-03GrowBike.Net was shortlisted at the 2022 CityVis competition, category "Research".
2022-10-22Paper published in Environment and Planning B on Data-driven micromobility network planning for demand and safety. See also the project page.
2022-07-20Paper published in Environment and Planning B on Multimodal urban mobility and multilayer transport networks.
2022-06-02Our research group NERDS won the Research Environment of the Year 2022 award. See also the Forskerforum article (in Danish).
2022-04-28Paper published in EPJ Data Science on Identifying urban features for vulnerable road user safety in Europe. See also the blog post.
2022-04-26Paper published in Scientific Reports on Growing urban bicycle networks. See also the project page.
2022-03-22Paper published in Geographical Analysis on Automated Detection of Missing Links in Bicycle Networks. See also the project page.
2021-11-01New affiliation at ISI Foundation
2021-07-07GrowBike.Net released
2021-06-07Paper published in ICWSM 2021 on Multilayer Graph Association Rules for Link Prediction.
2021-05-26Paper published in Nature on The universal visitation law of human mobility. See also the project page.
2021-01-06Taxonomy of Urban Bicycle Network Approaches released
2020-12-16Paper published in Royal Society Open Science on Data-driven strategies for optimal bicycle network growth
2020-10-01Promotion to associate professor at ITU Copenhagen
2020-06-10Paper published in Transport Findings on multiplex transport networks
2019-12-12Published editorial and completed Special Issue in International Journal of Geo-information:
Human-Centric Data Science for Urban Studies
Editors: Resch, Szell
2019-09-05What the Street?! added to Futurium's permanent exhibition
2019-08-07Joined editorial board of International Journal of Geo-information
2019-08-01New affiliation at ISI Foundation
2019-05-09Postdoc wanted at NERDS
2019-04-24New research group founded: NEtwoRks, Data, and Society (NERDS) at ITU Copenhagen
2019-02-01New position at ITU Copenhagen
2019-01-08Paper published in Nature Reviews Physics on taking census of physics
2019-01-07Call for papers at PLOS ONE:
Science of Stories
Submission deadline: 2019-06-14
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
2018-03-29Paper published in Urban Planning
2018-03-14Tribute to Stephen Hawking published
2018-01-09Joined Editorial Board of Complex Systems
2017-12-15Joined Editorial Board of PLOS ONE
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
2017-05-04Call for papers at EPJ Data Science:
Individual and Collective Human Mobility:
Description, Modelling, Prediction

Editors: Simini, Ghoshal, Pappalardo, Szell, Hövel
Submission deadline (extended): 2018-01-31

Current research

Watch my keynote to learn about my current research:


Michael Szell is associate professor in Data Science at IT University of Copenhagen, external researcher at ISI Foundation and at the Complexity Science Hub Vienna, and affiliate at the AI Pioneer Centre. His research quantifies the patterns behind interlinked human behavior and human-built structures through mining large-scale data sets. He follows an interdisciplinary approach using methods from data science and network science. Michael's current focus is on sustainable urban mobility and urban data science. He has also developed several interactive data visualization platforms such as What the Street!?, and the award-winning massive multiplayer online game Pardus.

Research interests

  • Primary: Urban/Geospatial Data Science, Sustainable mobility, Bicycle networks
  • Secondary: Network science, Complex systems, Social networks, Data visualization

Research highlights

2021-05-26: Nature paper on mobility published 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 2010-08-03: PNAS paper on multiplex networks published

Data visualization highlights

2021-07: GrowBike.Net 2021-01: Taxonomy of Urban Bicycle Network Approaches
2017-06: What the Street!? 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

2020 / 10
Associate professor, Computer Science Department, IT University of Copenhagen
2021 /11
Researcher, ISI Foundation
2017 / 04
External faculty, Complexity Science Hub Vienna
2023 / 02
Affiliate, Pioneer Centre for Artificial Intelligence
2006 / 09
Founder and manager of Bayer & Szell OG
2004 / 07
Developer and administrator of the Massive Multiplayer Online Game Pardus

Past positions

2020 / 09
2019 / 02
Assistant professor, Computer Science Department, IT University of Copenhagen
2020 / 07
2019 / 08
Researcher, ISI Foundation
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
2019 / 01
2016 / 09
Adjunct visiting professor, Center for Complex Network Research, Northeastern University
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