ETHZ - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

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ETH Zurich was founded in 1855 and is the leading university in continental Europe. It hosts more than 400 professors from all over the world. Its main areas of research and education are engineering, natural sciences, mathematics, architecture, system-oriented sciences, management and social sciences. With these fields of expertise and broad competences, ETH Zurich addresses global challenges, such as sustainable energy production or systemic risks. 1 Turing award was earned here, and 21 Nobel laureates studied, taught or conducted research at ETH Zurich. ETH Zurich had 550 FP7 projects and among these, there had been 80 ERC projects. ETH Zurich engages in fundamental and goal-oriented research of lasting value. ETH Zurich has recently established a strategic focus also in Integrated Risk Management, which will closely link to the financial and insurance cluster in the Greater Zurich area. ETH Zurich leads the international Climate-KIC, an initiative to drive innovation in environmental change adaptation and mitigation, and many other remarkable initiatives such as the Future Cities Programme in collaboration with the two main universities in Singapore. Finally, ETHZ will greatly benefit from its Data Centre and the CSCS Swiss National Supercomputing Center.

The Chair of Sociology, in particular of Modeling and Simulation (SOMS), held by Professor Dr. Dirk Helbing, in the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences (GESS) at ETHZ, focuses on social systems from the point of view of the complexity science, especially issues of emergence, self- organization, and network-related dynamics. Research at SOMS is extremely interdisciplinary and includes social modeling, computational social science, and big data analytics in demographic change and well- being. Recent research directions are also conducted in the field of social sensing: passive and participatory acquisition and procurement of big data in digital systems. Further focus areas are human interaction and coordination in space and time, quantitative sociodynamics, behavior of crowds and masses, pedestrian dynamics and panic, multi-agent simulation, self-organization and collective intelligence in complex systems, artificial societies, game theory, behavioral and decision models, robust organizations and disaster response management.


Role in the Project

ETHZ will contribute to the SoBigData RI data and methods for searching and analyzing Open Data (WP6). Their role in networking and community building activities will be in leading T4.3 on datathons, as well as contributing to T4.1 on summer schools. ETHZ will lead also T5.4 on building an innovation accelerator, which will enable funding bodies, policy makers, industry, and other stakeholders to measure and track the project impact and discover new trends and the latest methods in mining big social datasets. ETHZ will also lead T11.3 on sustainability and community engagement into the SoBigData evaluation framework, building on their extensive international research connections and industrial ties. With respect to JRAs, ETHZ lead T8.4. on integrating open data in the SoBigData RI, as well as integrating methods and services for analyzing social behaviour in T9.6. 


Infrastructure brought into the project

The Innovation Accelerator ( is a general platform designed to monitor the latest developments in science, detect emerging trends and innovations, find the best experts for projects, and support the distributed generation of new knowledge, thereby promoting innovation. To that aim, an ecosystem of interconnected, open tools has been developed. Among these tools, LivingArchive indexes over 100.000 datasets (most of the data is openly licenced), spanning across a large spectrum of scientific domains. VirtualJournal performs massive data mining on open access papers. The dataset consists of PLOS (Public Library of Journals) journals (with full-text and references), amounting up to 1000000+ open access publications.