Michael Szell is research fellow at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Centre for Social Sciences, and visiting at Northeastern University, Center for Complex Network Research, at Central European University, Center for Network Science, and at the Complexity Science Hub Vienna. His interdisciplinary background of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Physics is well reflected in his research goals: To quantitatively understand collective behavior and the underlying patterns of our interlinked actions and decisions in a computational social science, involving mining and modeling large-scale data sets of human activity following a complex networks/systems approach. Michael previously held research positions at MIT's Senseable City Lab and at moovel lab, exploring urban mobility and sustainability. His special focus is on urban and online environments and media, in particular he is known for his work on multiplex networks and social dynamics of the players in his massive multiplayer online game "Pardus", Michael received his academic degrees in Vienna, Austria (Vienna University of Technology and University of Vienna), studying social networks and dynamics at the Section for Science of Complex Systems, Medical University of Vienna.

Research interests

  • Computational social science, in particular of human behavior online and in cities
  • Social networks: Analysis and modeling of structure, evolution, and processes
  • Data visualization, human mobility, complex systems

Research highlights

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 2014-02-28: Book review published in Science 2013-03-19: PNAS paper on diabetes risk published 2010-08-03: PNAS paper on multiplex networks published


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

2017 / 04
External fellow, Complexity Science Hub Vienna
2016 / 09
Research fellow, Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
2016 / 09
Visiting researcher, Center for Complex Network Research, Northeastern University
2016 / 10
Visiting research fellow, Center for Network Science, Central European University
2006 / 09
Founder and manager of Bayer & Szell OG
2004 / 07
Developer and administrator of the Massive Multiplayer Online Game Pardus

Past positions

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