Category Archives: Activity

IC2S2 2023 in Copenhagen!

Copenhagen will host the 9th edition of the International Conference of Computational Social Science (IC2S2) in July 2023, brought here by NERDS & Co!

IC²S² is the premier annual meeting bringing together researchers from different disciplines interested in using computational and data-intensive methods to address societally relevant problems.

The event will be organized jointly between the IT University of Copenhagen (ITU), the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), and the University of Copenhagen (KU). NERDS will have a crucial role in the organization: Luca Aiello will be General Co-Chair, Roberta Sinatra will be Program Co-Chair, and NERDS will be heavily involved in organization and connecting conference participants. The event will take place at the Maersk Tower, a fabulous venue in the heart of the city.

The Maersk Tower in Copenhagen

All previous editions of the conference have been a great success, with hundreds of participants, and we’ll work hard to go above and beyond with the next edition. The conference will feature around 10 keynote talks, 6 tutorials, 200+ contributed presentations, and a 3-day poster session.

Busy attendees during the last two in-presence conferences in Amsterdam and Chicago.

We’re looking forward to welcoming you in Copenhagen next year!

NERDS at ISI Foundation in Turin

For the last week, several of us NERDS have been visiting Turin, Italy, and our friends at ISI Foundation for a truly hearty scientific and social interchange.

Yesterday, ISI held a workshop in which our research groups exchanged know-how and learned from each other about all things data science, and how to apply it to the social good. We learned about topics as diverse as AI-based pdf crawlers, algorithmic bias, bicycle networks, or how to survive in a big research group.

Here some visual impressions of the workshop:
















And of course, also many extracurricular activities were to be had!










We are having a great time in Turin but every party must come to an end, and most of us will leave back to our home in Denmark soon. Some of us are more lucky though and will stay a few more weeks, keeping enjoying this amazing city with our wonderful friends.

Roberta became co-lead in the AI Pioneer Centre

Yesterday Denmark’s new Pioneer Center for Artificial Intelligence was opened ceremonially, where Roberta took part in a panel discussion. Roberta’s role in the centre will be the new co-load of the Networks and Graphs Collaboratory together with Sune Lehmann.

The Pioneer Centre for Artificial Intelligence focuses on fundamental research, and within an interdisciplinary framework, develops platforms, methods, and practices addressing society’s greatest challenges. It brings together world-class artificial intelligence research in Denmark.

We are excited to see the novel science the centre will enable and produce, and which opportunities it will bring for attracting more world-class research to the country.

New group photos

Taking advantage of the still relatively relaxed pandemic situation in Denmark we finally all met up and took new group photos:

Taking these group photos was way overdue, since the last time we took one, in April 2019, we were only 4 members. Now we are 14, and growing soon again..

Establishing the Nightingale Network

Together with Sune Lehmann and Laura Alessandretti from SODAS/DTU we are establishing the Nightingale Network: The Nightingale Network brings together faculty, postdocs, and students based in Denmark who share an interest in Computational Social Science, Complex Systems, and Network Science.

More info and subscribe here:

We aim to strengthen the Denmark-based data and network science community, and send out a monthly newsletter listing relevant events, news, and job postings in Denmark and beyond. Please also share your tips, calls, and job postings!

We will also organize regular gatherings. The first event was the first Nightingale Network Night which happened last week at ITU, and which successfully established and strengthened many social and culinary connections, from Scaccia to Borek and Apfelstrudel:

We will also share the nerdy party games we created on our github page so that others can replicate the fun!

Sign up to our news, and see you soon (modulo lockdown)!

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”:

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! 🖖

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:
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!

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:


NERDS are currently active at this year’s International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM): International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM) is a forum for researchers from multiple disciplines to come together to share knowledge, discuss ideas, exchange information, and learn about cutting-edge research in diverse fields with the common theme of online social media. This overall theme includes research in new perspectives in social theories, as well as computational algorithms for analyzing social media. ICWSM is a singularly fitting venue for research that blends social science and computational approaches to answer important and challenging questions about human social behavior through social media while advancing computational tools for vast and unstructured data.

As usual, Luca Maria Aiello fulfils his role as Senior PC member at ICWSM. Further, we published two new papers at the event:

  1. The Healthy States of America: Creating a Health Taxonomy with Social Media, by S. Šćepanović, L.M. Aiello, K. Zhou, S. Joglekar, and D. Quercia

    Since the uptake of social media, researchers have mined online discussions to track the outbreak and evolution of specific diseases or chronic conditions such as influenza or depression. Here we developed a Deep Learning tool for Natural Language Processing that extracts mentions of virtually any medical condition or disease from unstructured social media text. We applied it to Reddit and Twitter posts, analyzed the clusters of the two resulting co-occurrence networks of conditions, and discovered that they correspond to well-defined categories of medical conditions. This resulted in the creation of the first comprehensive taxonomy of medical conditions automatically derived from online discussions, which strikingly resembles the official International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11).
  2. Multilayer Graph Association Rules for Link Prediction, by M. Coscia and M. Szell

    Here we investigate the multilayer link prediction problem with graph association rules: Will two nodes connect, and of which type?

International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2021

On yesterday’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Roberta took part in a corresponding event organized by her alma mater, University of Catania, Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia “Ettore Majorana”, delivering a keynote talk on the topic and on her research.

The event was in Italian, it can be watched here:

Link to event: