A dream come true for Luca Aiello 🖖

Our very own Luca Aiello was interviewed by none other than William “Captain Kirk” Shatner on his recent dreams research, in Shatner’s show “I Don’t Understand”:

https://www.rt.com/shows/i-don-t-understand-with-william-shatner/532878-dream-analysis-social-science/

Watch the 26 minute interview to see Luca baffling and exciting Shatner by answering his burning questions, such as:

What in heaven’s name is computational science doing with dreams?

What methodology did you use to give us an algorithm about dreams?

Say you meant to say “maybe” and you said “baby”, one would have said prior to your science “That was a Freudian slip” – you don’t work that way?

It could be Hitler all over again?

Could you understand why an individual does not take a vaccine?

No doubt this interview was a NERDS dream come true! 🖖

Two new NERDS papers: NFT market and Pearson correlations on networks

Two new papers from the NERDS crew!

    1. Mapping the NFT revolution: market trends, trade networks, and visual features, by M. Nadini, L. Alessandretti, F. Di Giacinto, M. Martino, L.M. Aiello, A. Baronchelli, published in Scientific Reports

      Luca and collaborators performed the first large-scale analysis of the market of Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) since its birth. The looked at 6.1 million trades of 4.7 million NFTs to learn about market, traders, visual features and price prediction. The dataset they collected is available. Learn more on this blogpost from the Alan Turing Institute.
      Also, watch the accompanying video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyIITtPKJbY
    2. Pearson correlations on complex networks, by M. Coscia, published in Journal of Complex Networks
       

       
      Estimating the correlation between two processes happening on the same network is therefore an important problem with a number of applications. However, at present there is no way to do so: current methods to estimate the correlation between two processes happening on the same network either correlate a network with itself, a single process with the network structure, or calculate a network distance between two processes. To fill this gap, Michele created a new method to extend the Pearson correlation coefficient to work on complex networks, and showed its usefulness in tasks related to social network analysis and economics. Learn more on this blogpost.

Sandro Sousa has joined NERDS

We are delighted to welcome Sandro Sousa to our research group!

Sandro joins us as Postdoc coming from Queen Mary University of London. He recently completed his PhD in Complex Systems, on quantifying the heterogeneity of spatial systems through random walks on graphs with a particular interest on urban segregation.

Due to his Brazilian origins, before that he had worked on projects focusing on São Paulo, for example on social segregation, transport accessibility, or graph-based approaches to quantify topological changes in Sao Paulo’s public transport network at different spatial scales. Before his research career, he worked on IT consulting and data solutions for more than 7 years. Find more info about Sandro on his stylish webpage: https://sandrofsousa.github.io

He is hired through our recently won VILLUM project, at NERDS he will therefore be focusing on topics of Science of Science and success together with Roberta Sinatra, including algorithmic fairness in research.

NERDS at CRBAM21 cycling research conference

This year’s Cycling Research Board Annual Meeting, the premier CRBAM21 conference on cycling research, will be held in Copenhagen this week, Oct 13-15, and 3 of us will present our research (of course attending via bicycle). Click the talk titles below for the abstracts of our three current members, Anastassia Vybornova, Bojan Kostic, and Michael Szell, and of our future member Ane Rahbek Vierø:

Anastassia Vybornova
Network algorithms for the identification and classification of gaps in urban bicycle networks based on OSM data
Oct 15, 10:40, Session 2.5: Bicycle network analysis

Bojan Kostic
Analysing cyclist behavior at signalized intersections using computer vision
Oct 14, 15:30, Session 2.4: Modelling bicycle traffic

Michael Szell
The geometric limits of growing urban bicycle networks
Oct 15, 11:00, Session 2.5: Bicycle network analysis

Ane Rahbek Vierø (currently at Aalborg University)
Cyclists’ access to everyday amenities
Oct 15, 10:00, Session 2.5: Bicycle network analysis


See here for the full program: https://cyclingresearchboard.com/2021/?page_id=1433
The conference will also feature an exciting panel of the “who is who” in cycling research and policy:

We are looking forward to the conference and to seeing you at #CRBAM21!

The unsung heroes of NERDS

Our research group has recently grown to a milestone of 10 members, however this number does not give the full picture of NERDS. There are several short-term members and visitors that make our group and its activities more lively, and whose hard work allow our research to fully prosper. Further, now that Corona is kind-of-resolved in Denmark, we want to increase liveliness even more by re-booting our hospitality towards research visitors: If you are interested in visiting us in Copenhagen, for scientific exchange and/or a seminar/talk, please reach out to us.

To shine more light onto our “unsung heros”, here an overview of our past and current NERDS-embedded colleagues, helpers, and friends, apart from the yearly one to two dozen Bachelor and Master students who we supervise:

Victor Møller Poulsen, Intern (2021-08 to 2022-01)
Marilena Hohmann, Intern (2021-08 to 2022-01)
Lasse Buschmann Alsbrik, Research assistant (2021-08 to 2021-10)
Morten Lynghede, Student programmer (2021-06)
Cecilia Laura Kolding Andersen, Student programmer (2021-06)

We have updated our people page accordingly.

Anastassia Vybornova has joined NERDS

We are excited to welcome Anastassia Vybornova to our research group!

Anastassia joins us as PhD student from Vienna, Austria. She recently completed her Master degree jointly supervised at KU, BOKU Vienna, and at ITU by Michael Szell, accomplishing an outstanding thesis on Identifying and classifying gaps in the bicycle network of Copenhagen. She has won a competitive, ITU-supported PhD grant and will therefore be with us for (at least) 3 years. 

Anastassia’s background is a crazy mix of physics, environmental science, and transcultural communication, and she is educated in complex systems and network science – all of which makes her fit perfectly into NERDS.

Her PhD topic at NERDS will be Network analysis of urban transport networks: for a green transition from car-centricity to cycling, with Michael Szell as supervisor, for which her ideal combination of skills from physics, sustainability science, and programming will be indispensable. To taste an hors d’oeuvre of her work, see her talk in two weeks at CRBAM.

Yanmeng Xing has joined NERDS

We are thrilled to welcome Yanmeng Xing to our research group!

Yanmeng joins us as a visiting PhD Student for one year. Yanmeng is a PhD student in Complexity Science at Beijing Normal University who won a prestigious Chinese fellowship to spend one year abroad.

At NERDS he will be working on Science of Science topics, specifically investigating the effects of the pandemic on scientific collaborations and career dynamics.

 

Funding for bicycle network analysis by the Danish Ministry of Transport

Today we received the happy news that the Danish Ministry of Transport is funding our project Netværksanalyse af den danske cykelinfrastruktur (“Network analysis of the Danish cycling infrastructure”): https://www.trm.dk/nyheder/2021/aftale-om-nye-cykelstier-i-alle-dele-af-landet/

This funding will allow us to hire cycling network and urban planning/spatial data expert Ane Rahbek Vierø for a 3-year PhD on the topic, to start Jan 2022, supervised by Michael Szell. Our bicycle network research so far has focused on urban bicycle networks, so this funding will finally allow us to widen our perspective to the regional and national scale. We are looking forward to welcoming Ane in January and to help improving the (already quite good but certainly not perfect) Danish bicycle network!

In more detail, our plans for this project are the following:

In this research project we will apply state of the art metrics and tools from network analysis on Danish open data bicycle infrastructure networks collected from e.g. OpenStreetMap, and additionally incorporate knowledge from cycling planners and mobility researchers, to develop a scientific, evidence-based framework to suggest where to add new network connections or other interventions for improving sustainable bicycle infrastructure. While there are generally good cycling conditions in Denmark, there are many areas that have a quite poor connectivity. Using access to everyday amenities as a baseline can also show that it is not enough to install bicycle lanes – they need to be in the right location and connect to the right places. This research will explore weighting the network according to different attributes to get a more detailed understanding of how connectivity and accessibility might vary for different types of cyclists (in line with Levels of Traffic Stress). We will also use this weighted network to examine cyclists’ access to everyday amenities and facilities, in order to, for example, identify areas where you cannot comfortably cycle to basic amenities (inspired by the 15-minute city). Further, we will explore the effect of high stress intersections on network connectivity for vulnerable road user demographics such as children, and incorporate the distribution of people and workplaces in the analysis. Finally, we aim to develop an interactive web mapping tool that visualizes the results and has the ability to run analyses based on individual demographic variables or preferences of cyclists.

Roberta Sinatra receives YSA award

Today Roberta Sinatra received the 2020 Young Scientist Award for Socio- and Econophysics!

The Young Scientist Award for Socio- and Econophysics is given once a year. It pursues the goal of promoting the work of young researchers and recognizing outstanding scientific contributions that use methods derived from physics to contribute to a better understanding of socio-economic problems.

The award committee has decided to award the prize shared to:

Dr. Roberta Sinatra,

for her outstanding contributions to understanding the social dynamics of science, human mobility and behaviour, on the grounds of network science and statistical physics methods,

AND

Dr. Manlio de Domenico,

for his outstanding and insightful work on multilayer networks and their applications to the field of socio-economic systems.

🎉We congratulate the two recipients! 🎉

Back from Department Retreat

We are back from our 2-day computer science department-wide retreat in Helsingør, the closest point to Sweden across the Øresund and the original location of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, with over 100 good colleagues, where almost all NERDS finally met in person after a very long time of pandemic avoidance – thank you Denmark for handling this situation so well! 🇩🇰

We had a lot of fun and enjoyed our time together, creating new links between us and others in the department. We are also happy to have spent time and got to know better one of our next members who will join the group in October. Here a few impressions from our trip, which felt a bit like going on a school trip after an unbearably long 2+ year absence of not seeing each other: