News and running events

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
2019-04-24New research group founded: NEtwoRks, Data, and Society (NERDS) at ITU Copenhagen
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2019-05-09Postdoc wanted at NERDS
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


Michael Szell is assistant professor at IT University of Copenhagen, researcher at ISI Foundation, and external faculty at the Complexity Science Hub Vienna. Using an interdisciplinary approach combining computer science, physics, and social sciences, his research aims 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. Michael's current focus is exploring urban mobility, sustainable transport, and data visualization. He has also developed the award-winning massive multiplayer online game "Pardus",, and several interactive data visualization platforms.

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 / 08
Researcher, ISI Foundation
2019 / 02
Assistant professor, Computer Science Department, IT University of Copenhagen
2017 / 04
External faculty, Complexity Science Hub Vienna
2006 / 09
Founder and manager of Bayer & Szell OG
2004 / 07
Developer and administrator of the Massive Multiplayer Online Game Pardus

Past 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
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