Speakers and Panelists

June 8-11, 2015
Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland
Top Speakers and Panelists
Lada Adamic (Facebook)

Lada Adamic is a computational social scientist at Facebook and previously an associate professor at the School of Information and the Center for the Study of Complex Systems at the University of Michigan. She is also affiliated with EECS. Her research interests center on information dynamics in networks: how information diffuses, how it can be found, and how it influences the evolution of network structure. She has done pioneering work in network science, investigating especially the properties of the Web graph. Other projects include identifying expertise in online question and answer forums, studying the dynamics of viral marketing, and characterizing the structural and communication patterns in online social media. She has received an NSF CAREER award, a University of Michigan Henry Russell award, the 2012 Lagrange Prize in Complex Systems and best paper awards from Hypertext'08, ICWSM'10 and '11, Web Intelligence'11 and ICIS'11.

Sinan Aral (MIT)

Sinan Aral is the David Austin Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management where he holds a joint appointment in the IT and Marketing groups and co-leads the Initiative on the Digital Economy. Sinan is a leading expert on social networks, social media and digital strategy. He has worked closely with Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, the New York Times, IBM, Cisco, Intel, Oracle, SAP and many other leading Fortune 500 firms on realizing business value from social media and information technology investments. Sinan's research focuses on social contagion, product virality and measuring and managing how information diffusion in massive social networks such as Twitter and Facebook affects information worker productivity, consumer demand and viral marketing. This research has won numerous awards including the Microsoft Faculty Fellowship, the PopTech Science Fellowship, an NSF CAREER Award and multiple Best Paper Awards. He was also recently named one of the “World’s Top 40 Business School Professors Under 40” by Poets & Quants. Sinan has been a Fulbright Scholar and served as Chief Scientist and on the board of directors of SocialAmp, a social commerce company that enables targeting and peer referral in social media networks (which was sold to Merkle in January, 2012). He is currently Chief Scientist at Humin, the smart social navigation startup that is creating the Google Maps for your social world. He is also Scholar-in-Residence at the New York Times R&D Lab, and an organizer of the Workshop on Information in Networks (WIN) and the Conference on Digital Experimentation (CODE). He is a frequent speaker at such thought leading events as Data Gotham, TEDxSiliconValley, TEDxColumbia Engineering, TEDxNYU, ADSCon, Wired’s “Nextwork” and PopTech and has been the keynote speaker at executive gatherings such as Omnicom’s Global “Emerge” Summit. His work is often featured in popular press outlets such as the Economist, the New York Times, Businessweek, Wired, Fast Company and CIO Magazine. Sinan is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Northwestern University, holds masters degrees from the London School of Economics and Harvard University, and received his PhD from MIT.

Laszlo Barabasi (Northeastern University and Central European University)

Albert-László Barabási is the Robert Gray Dodge Professor of Network Science and a Distinguished University Professor at Northeastern University, where he directs the Center for Complex Network Research, and holds appointments in the Departments of Physics and College of Computer and Information Science, as well as in the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women Hospital in the Channing Division of Network Science, and is a member of the Center for Cancer Systems Biology at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. A Hungarian born native of Transylvania, Romania, he received his Masters in Theoretical Physics at the Eötvös University in Budapest, Hungary and was awarded a Ph.D. three years later at Boston University. Barabási latest book is "Bursts: The Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do" (Dutton, 2010) available in five languages. He has also authored "Linked: The New Science of Networks" (Perseus, 2002), currently available in eleven languages, and is the co-editor of "The Structure and Dynamics of Networks" (Princeton, 2005). His work lead to the discovery of scale-free networks in 1999, and proposed the Barabási-Albert model to explain their widespread emergence in natural, technological and social systems, from cellular phone communication to the WWW or online communities. Barabási is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. In 2005 he was awarded the FEBS Anniversary Prize for Systems Biology and in 2006 the John von Neumann Medal by the John von Neumann Computer Society from Hungary, for outstanding achievements in computer-related science and technology. In 2004 he was elected into the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and in 2007 into the Academia Europaea. He received the C&C Prize from the NEC C&C Foundation in 2008. In 2009 APS chose him Outstanding Referee and the US National Academies of Sciences awarded him the 2009 Cozzarelli Prize. In 2011 Barabási was awarded the Lagrange Prize-CRT Foundation for his contributions to complex systems, awarded Doctor Honoris Causa from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, became an elected fellow in AAAS (Physics) and is 2013 Fellow of the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences.

Nicholas Christakis (Yale)

Nicholas Christakis MD, PhD, MPH, is a social scientist and physician who conducts research on social factors that affect health, health care, and longevity. He directs the Human Nature Lab at Yale University, and is the Co-Director of the Yale Institute for Network Science. He is the Sol Goldman Family Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University. Dr. Christakis' lab is currently focused on the relationship between social networks and health. People are inter-connected, and so their health is inter-connected. This research engages two types of phenomena: the social, mathematical, and biological rules governing how social networks form ("connection") and the biological and social implications of how they operate to influence thoughts, feelings, and behaviors ("contagion"). Other ongoing investigations in the lab consider the biodemographic determinants of longevity and the genetic bases for human behaviors. Along with his long-time collaborator, James Fowler, Dr. Christakis has authored a general-audience book on social networks: Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives, which has been translated into nearly twenty foreign languages. In 2009, he was named to the Time 100, Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2009 and again in 2010, Christakis was named by Foreign Policy magazine to its list of top global thinkers. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2006, and he was named a Fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2010.

Kathryn Coronges (Northeastern University, USA)

Kate Coronges is the Executive Director of the Network Science Institute (NetSI) at Northeastern University. She joined the Institute in April 2015. She worked for the US Army for over six years as Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the US Military Academy, and more recently as a Program Manager in the Information Science Directorate at the Army Research Office. She received her PhD in human behavior research from the University of Southern California in 2009. Coronges was the Managing Editor for Connections journal, International Network of Social Network Analysis for a decade. Her research has focused on social structures and dynamics of teams and communities and their impacts on communication patterns, behaviors and performance.

Ivica Cubic (European Commission)

Ivica Cubic is a Project Officer at the European Commission. He joined the European Commission and the Future and Emerging Technology (FET) unit in 2013. His responsibilities within the Commission are monitoring the FET research projects funding by the European Union within Framework Programmes (FP7 and Horizon 2020). The projects within his portfolio are dealing with longer-term research on uncovering radically new technological possibilities including quantum technologies, global system science (GSS) and applications and high performance computing (HPC). Besides the project monitoring he participates in preparing calls for proposals and selection of best proposals for funding in the areas of GSS and HPC. He received his Master in Electrical Engineering at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture in Split, Croatia. He worked for Ericsson as software developer (1995-2000) and researcher (2000-2013) covering wireless technologies and networks, telecommunication services, and software quality issues. He is preparing his PhD in software quality modeling. His long term hobbies are practicing Aikido and yoga.

Robin Dunbar (Oxford)

Robin Dunbar read Psychology and Philosophy (PPP) at Magdalen College, Oxford University (1966-1969), and afterwards studied for a PhD in Behavioural Ecology in the Psychology Department at Bristol University (1970-1973). After a period as a postdoc working on primate behavioural ecology, he was awarded an SERC (now BBSRC) University Research Fellowship, which he held in the Zoology Department, Cambridge University (1977-1982), while working on the behavioural ecology of ungulates (principally klipspringer in East Africa and feral goats in Scotland) in the Sociobiology Project at the King's College Research Centre. Subsequently, he held a docent post in the Institute of Zoology, Stockholm University (1984), and a Research Fellowship in the Zoology Department, University of Liverpool (1985-1987), before taking up a lecturership and later a Chair in the Department of Anthropology, University College London (1987-1994). He then held chairs in the Psychology Department (1994-1998) and the School of Biology (1998-2007) at the University of Liverpool, before returning to Oxford as Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology in the School of Anthropology (2007-2012). His principal research interests are in social evolution in mammals, with particular reference to ungulates, primates and humans, and the ways in which ecology, behaviour, cognition and neurobiology interact. He was Co-Director of the British Academy's Centenary Research Project "Lucy to Language: The Archaeology of the Social Brain" (2003-2010). He was elected a Fellow of the Psychology Section of the British Academy in 1998.

Andreas Flache (University of Groningen)

Andreas Flache is a professor of sociology at the Department of Sociology and the ICS (Interuniversity Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology), at the Faculty for Social and Behavioral Sciences of the University of Groningen. He studies in particular modeling of norms and networks. His activity is embedded in the research program of the ICS, a research and training center accredited by the Royal Academy of Sciences (KNAW). Since 2010, he has been director of studies (opleidingsdirecteur) of the Bachelor- and Master program Sociology at the University of Groningen. His main research addresses social integration, cooperation problems, social networks and learning theory. From 1999-2001, he has been a research fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). In 2004, he received an NWO-VIDI grant for the research project “The importance of timing and structure: modeling effects of interpersonal contacts on social cohesion in diverse groups” that he conducted as principal investigator from 2005 to 2010 (see VIDI-research proposal). He applies agent based computational and game theoretical modeling, laboratory experiments, survey research and network research. His work has been published in social science journals like American Journal of Sociology, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Organization Science, but also in multidisciplinary journals like the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and specialized journals like Sociology of Education, Rationality and Society, or Journal of Mathematical Sociology. Furthermore, he is an associated member of the Institute for the Study of Cooperative Relations (ISCORE) at the University of Utrecht.

Patrick Goymer (Nature)

Patrick Goymer is a senior editor at the journal Nature, where he handles manuscripts in ecology, evolutionary biology and aspects of social science. He has a degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge and a doctorate from the University of Oxford. Before joining Nature he did postdoctoral work at University College London and was an editor on the Nature Reviews journals. Topics of particular interest include sustainability, cultural evolution and social networks. In addition to handling primary manuscripts, Patrick writes occasionally for both Nature and other Nature Publishing Group journals. He can be found on Twitter at @PatrickGoymer.

Dirk Helbing (ETH Zurich)

Dirk Helbing is Professor of Sociology, in particular of Modeling and Simulation, at the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences and member of the Computer Science Department at ETH Zurich. He earned a PhD in physics and was Managing Director of the Institute of Transport & Economics at Dresden University of Technology in Germany. He is internationally known for his work on pedestrian crowds, vehicle traffic, and agent-based models of social systems. Furthermore, he coordinates the FuturICT Initiative (, which focuses on the understanding of techno-socioeconomic systems, using Smart Data. His work is documented by hundreds of scientific articles, keynote lectures and media reports worldwide. Helbing is elected member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Complex Systems and of the prestigious German Academy of Sciences “Leopoldina”. He is also Chairman of the Physics of Socio-Economic Systems Division of the German Physical Society and co-founder of ETH Zurich’s Risk Center. In 2013, he became a board member of the Global Brain Institute in Brussels. Within the ERC Advanced Investigator Grant "Momentum" he works on social simulations based on cognitive agents. His recent publication in the leading science journal Nature discusses globally networked risks and how to respond. With a publication in the highly prestigious journal Science, he furthermore contributed to unveiling the hidden laws of global epidemic spreading. On January 10, 2014, he received a honorary PhD from the TU Delft jointly from the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management and the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences.

Matthew Jackson (Stanford)

Matthew Jackson is the William D. Eberle Professor of Economics at Stanford University, an external faculty member of the Santa Fe Institute, and a fellow of CIFAR (Canadian Institute for Advanced Research). He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1988. Jackson has been honored with the Social Choice and Welfare Prize, the B. E. Press Arrow Prize for Senior Economists, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has served as co-editor of Games and Economic Behavior, the Review of Economic Design, and Econometrica. Jackson co-teaches a popular game theory course on, along with Kevin Leyton-Brown and Yoav Shoham. Jackson's research concerns game theory, microeconomic theory, and the study of social and economic networks.

Barbara Jasny (Science)

Barbara Jasny received a a B.A. with honors in Biology from New York University in 1973, and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Rockefeller University in 1978. She conducted research at the State University of New York at Stony Brook as a Postdoctoral Fellow and at the Rockefeller University as a Research Associate before joining Science magazine in 1985. Since that time she has been responsible for solicitation and evaluation of manuscripts in a growing range of disciplines. She has coordinated special issues, posters, and CDs published by Science and communicated about science in lectures, podcasts, displays, and published articles. She was elected a AAAS Fellow in 2004. For the past 9 years she has been the Deputy Editor for the Insights section of Science, where she oversees the Policy Forums, Letters, Perspectives, and Books sections. Her current interests are science policy, computational social science, and genomics..

Jure Leskovec (Stanford)

Jure Leskovec is an assistant professor of Computer Science at Stanford University where he is a member of the InfoLab and the AI lab. He joined the department in September 2009. In 2008/09 he was a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell University working with Jon Kleinberg and Dan Huttenlocher. He completed his Ph.D. at the Machine Learning Department, School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University under the supervision of Christos Faloutsos in 2008. He did his undergraduate degree in computer science at University of Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2004. He also collaborates with the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the Jozef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Alex Pentland (MIT)

Alex `Sandy’ Pentland has helped create and direct MIT’s Media Lab, the Media Lab Asia, and the Center for Future Health. He chairs the World Economic Forum's Data Driven Development council, is Academic Director of the MIT-Harvard-ODI Big Data and People Project, and is a member of the Advisory Boards for Google, Nissan, Telefonica, Monument Capital, and the Minerva Schools. In 2012 Forbes named Sandy one of the 'seven most powerful data scientists in the world’, along with Google founders and the CTO of the United States, and in 2013 he won the McKinsey Award from Harvard Business Review. He is among the most-cited computational scientists in the world, and a pioneer in computational social science, organizational engineering, wearable computing (Google Glass), image understanding, and modern biometrics. His research has been featured in Nature, Science, and Harvard Business Review, as well as being the focus of TV features on BBC World, Discover and Science channels. His most recent book is `Social Physics,' published by Penguin Press. Over the years Sandy has advised more than 50 PhD students. Almost half are now tenured faculty at leading institutions, with another one-quarter leading industry research groups and a final quarter founders of their own companies. Sandy's research group and entrepreneurship program have spun off more than 30 companies to date, three of which are publicly listed and several that serve millions of poor in Africa and South Asia. Recent spin-offs have been featured in publications such as the Economist and the New York Times, as well as winning a variety of prizes from international development organizations. Interesting experiences include winning the DARPA 40th Anniversary of the Internet Grand Challenge, dining with British Royalty and the President of India, staging fashion shows in Paris, Tokyo, and New York, and developing a method for counting beavers from space.

Alessandro Vespignani (Northeastern University)

Alessandro Vespignani is the Sternberg Distinguished Professor of Physics, Computer Science and Health Sciences at Northeastern University. He received his undergraduate degree and Ph.D., both in physics and both from the University of Rome “La Sapienza,” in 1990 and 1993 respectively. He completed his postdoctoral research at Yale University and Leiden University. Prof. Vespignani worked at the International Center for Theoretical Physics (UNESCO) in Trieste and at the University of Paris-Sud in France as a member of the National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS) before moving to Indiana University in 2004. Before joining Northeastern University Vespignani was J.H.Rudy Professor of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University and serving as the Director of the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research and the Associate Director of the Pervasive Technology Institute. Vespignani is elected fellow of the American Physical Society, member of the Academy of Europe, and fellow of the Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences at Harvard University. He is serving in the board/leadership of a variety of professional association and journals and the Institute for Scientific Interchange Foundation. Vespignani has worked in a number of areas of non-equilibrium particle systems, statistical physics and computational sciences, including characterization of non-equilibrium phase transitions, fractal growth and self-organized criticality. Recently Vespignani’s research activity focuses on the interdisciplinary application of statistical and numerical simulation methods in the analysis of epidemic and spreading phenomena and the study of biological, social and technological networks. For several years he has been working on the characterization and modeling of the Internet, the WWW and large-scale information networks. He is now focusing his research activity in modeling the spatial spread of epidemics, including the realistic and data-driven computational modeling of emerging infectious diseases, the resilience of complex networks and the behavior of techno-social systems.

Duncan Watts (Microsoft)

Duncan Watts is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research and a founding member of the MSR-NYC lab. From 2000-2007, he was a professor of Sociology at Columbia University, and then, prior to joining Microsoft, a principal research scientist at Yahoo! Research, where he directed the Human Social Dynamics group. He has also served on the external faculty of the Santa Fe Institute and is currently a visiting fellow at Columbia University and at Nuffield College, Oxford. His research on social networks and collective dynamics has appeared in a wide range of journals, from Nature, Science, and Physical Review Letters to the American Journal of Sociology and Harvard Business Review. He is also the author of three books: Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age (W.W. Norton, 2003) and Small Worlds: The Dynamics of Networks between Order and Randomness (Princeton University Press, 1999), and most recently Everything is Obvious: Once You Know The Answer (Crown Business, 2011) He holds a B.Sc. in Physics from the Australian Defence Force Academy, from which he also received his officer’s commission in the Royal Australian Navy, and a Ph.D. in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from Cornell University. He lives in New York City.

Signup for Conference News

No Spam - only latest news and activity updates!