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Professor Dirk Helbing Professor of Sociology (Modelling & Simulation), Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences, ETH Zurich, and member of its Computer Science Department


Professor Dirk Helbing / Bio


Dirk Helbing is Professor of Sociology, in particular for Modeling and Simulation, at the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences and a 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.


Professor Dirk Helbing / Awards

1992: Two research prizes for PhD Thesis
1996: Heisenberg postdoc scholarship by the German Research Foundation (DFG)
2005: Member of External Faculty of Collegium Budapest - Institute for Advanced Study
2008: Elected member of the German Academy of Sciences "Leopoldina"                           2009:External Faculty Member of the Santa Fe Institute  
2012: Golden Idea Award by IDEE-SUISSE® – Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Ideen- und Innovationsmanagement for the project: «Self-Controlling Traffic Lights»
2013: ERC Advanced Investigator Grant «Momentum»
2014: Honorary Doctorate by TU Delft