Chair of Sociology, in particular of Modeling and Simulation

International Workshop on Challenges and Visions in the Social Sciences

including a Summer School on Modeling and Simulation for Young Scientists

Semper's lecture hall of ETH Zurich (Switzerland), August 18-23, 2008


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Dirk Helbing (Coordinator)

Lars-Erik Cederman

Andreas Diekmann

Frank Schweitzer

Didier Sornette

  • Please prepare your poster in the
  • A0-format (841 x 1189mm), thank you!

By means of more than 20 keynote talks by outstanding international scientists and interdisciplinary discussions, the workshop aims at identifying future trends in the social sciences, and problems that will have to be addressed. We want to come up with visionary ideas of what will be the important topics over the next 10 or 20 years, and try to formulate a list of hard, ambitious, and important problems to be addressed by collaborative, international research projects. Contributions may be methodologically or problem oriented, but should always be of interest to a wider scientific community (which also implies to avoid special terminology in the talks, where possible, or otherwise to introduce it).

Some examples of possible subject areas are:

The meeting will combine elements of an interdisciplinary workshop with a think tank and a summer school for young scientists. Further information will follow soon.

Interested scientists and students are asked to send an e-mail to

Dr. Sergi Lozano ( to be included in the e-mail distribution list of this workshop.

I look forward to meeting you!

Dirk Helbing, on behalf of the organizing committee.

We would be grateful for displaying the workshop poster at the information board of your institute.



Summer School Tutorials:

  • Douglas Heckathorn:
    "Respondent-driven sampling"

  • Dirk Helbing:
  • "Mathematical modeling of behavioral changes by pair interactions"

  • Anders Johansson:
    "Simulating the dynamics of human crowds"

  • Jörg Reichardt:
  • "Network analysis: A physics perspective"


Invited Keynote Speakers (Talks):

  • Luis A. Nunes Amaral
  • "Measuring science: Fears, challenges and opportunities"

  • Robert Axtell
  • "Agentization: Paradigm for a computational foundation for the social sciences"

  • Carter Butts
  • "Modeling reality without sacrificing data: inferentially tractable models for complex social systems"

  • Peter Sheridan Dodds
  • "The emotional content of large-scale texts: The happiness of bloggers, song lyrics, and presidents"

  • Andreas Flache
  • "Modelling integration in a diverse society: theoretical and methodological challenges"

  • Nigel Gilbert
  • "Are social simulations ready for the real world?"

[titles may subject to change]

Deadlines and Fees:

Early Registration:

Fees after July 15, 2008:


Map of conference facilities (PDF) »»

Arrival in Zurich

Take the train to travel from Zurich Airport to Zurich main station.

Detailed information »»

From Zurich main station to the ETH main building, take tram no. 6 (direction "Zoo") from "Bahnhofstrasse" or tram no. 10 (direction "Seebach") from "Bahnhofplatz" to the stop "ETH/Universitätsspital". Alternatively, take the "Polybahn" at "Central".

Detailed directions from main station to ETH HG »»

Semper Auditorium

The workshop will be held at the Semper Auditorium in the ETH main building at Rämistrasse 101 (ETH HG G 60). Registration is between 8 and 9 am, the conference starts at 9 am.

Map of ETH HG »»

The Semper Auditorium is on floor G (3rd floor) in the ETH main building (Room ETH G 60). Inside the main building, follow the guideposts or ask at the reception.

Plan of the G floor at ETH HG »»


A list of selected Hotels in Zürich, please book by yourself.

Hotel Tiefenau ****, see (with air conditioning, queen size bed)
Hotel Rigihof ****, see (with air conditioning, queen size bed)
Hotel Krone Unterstrass ****, see (with air conditioning, queen size bed)

Hotel Basilea ***, see
Hotel Bristol ***, see
Hotel Comfort Inn Royal ***, see
Hotel Leoneck ***, see
Hotel Rex ***, see
Hotel Rütli ***, see
Hotel Sunnehus ***, see
Hôtel du Théâtre ***, see (with air conditioning, queen size bed)
Claridge Hotel Tiefenau ***, see
Novotel Zürich West ***, see

ZicZackRock Hotel**, see
Youth Hostel Zurich, see
Hostel Suisse Zurich, see


Financial support to students

Some financial support will be available for a certain number of students. The support, if granted, will cover accommodation for up to 5 nights in Hotel St. Josef (

To apply for support, students should:

• justify their need in the 'comments' field of the registration form,
• submit an abstract to the workshop for an oral or poster presentation.
• send their CV to slozano<<at>>, indicating that they have already completed the previous two steps.

The support will be granted on the basis of need (so, applications from countries with weak financial support to young researchers are specially encouraged), and on the scientific merit of both the submitted abstract and the candidate.

The deadline for applications to the financial support is April 30, 2008. We will communicate our decision to all the applicants by mid May.

Note that granted students will have to pay their conference fee in advance, and will not be refunded in case of canceling their registration.


read the protocol here

supported by:


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