European Symposium Series on Societal Challenges

in Computational Social Science


2019: Polarization and Radicalization


Zurich, Switzerland

September 2nd-4th, 2019




March 10th, 2019Workshops and tutorials proposal submission deadline
March 30th, 2019Workshops and tutorials acceptance notification
Extended to April 20th, 2019Deadline for abstract submission
Extended to May 20th, 2019Deadline for dataset challenge submission, doctoral consortium submission and travel grant applications
June 10th, 2019Notification of acceptance (including travel grants)
August 17th, 2019Registration closes
September 2nd, 2019Pre-symposium day (workshops/tutorials/dataset challenge)
September 3rd-4th, 2019Main symposium


This is the third in a series of three symposia that discuss societal challenges in computational social sciences. In 2019, the focus will be on “Polarization and Radicalization” (Zurich, 2019). In the previous two years, the focus was “Inequality and Imbalance” (London, 2017) and “Bias and Discrimination” (Cologne, 2018).

With these three events we provide a platform to address one of the most pressing challenges in today’s digital society: understanding the role that digital technologies, the Web, and the algorithms used therein play in the mediation and creation of inequalities, discrimination and polarization.

By addressing inequality as the topical issue for the symposium series we intend to explore how CSS can contribute to opening up new ways of thinking about, of measuring, detecting and coping with social inequality, discrimination, and polarization. We will discuss how divides and inequalities are proliferated in digital society, how social cleavages can be observed via web data, how the organizational structure of the web itself generates biases and inequality, and how, in contrast, algorithms and computational tools might help to reduce discrimination and inequality. We will also investigate how bias and unequal social structures foster political tension and polarization, including issues of radicalization and hate.

The Symposium series is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation.



The Euro CSS 2019 will be a three-day event consisting of:

  • a two-day, single-track conference featuring a series of invited talks that will provide different perspectives on challenges in the area of Polarization and Radicalization
  • a day of multiple satellite events, including workshops and tutorials
  • an open call for contributed presentations that will provide opportunities for computational social scientists to present and discuss their own work
  • an open call for workshop and tutorial organization that will provide opportunities for computational social scientists to gather focus groups around the latest trends in computational social science
  • a dataset challenge to encourage creative engagement with the data from different perspectives and dialogue across disciplines
  • plenty of possibilities for interdisciplinary networking (e.g. science slam)


You can register online via Eventbrite (click here) until August 17th, 2019. Paper/poster submission is not a requirement for attendance.

The registration fee is 60 CHF. It covers the participation fee, coffee breaks and lunch (September 2nd-4th, 2019). To secure a place for a workshop or tutorial on the first day, don’t forget to register early.

Cancellation Policy

Attendees can receive refunds up to 14 days before the event starts (August 19th, 2019). Cancellation must be made in writing by sending an email to


Anupama Aggarwal, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences Yelena Mejova, ISI Foundation
Luca Maria Aiello, Nokia Bell Labs Friedolin Merhout, Duke University
Fred Amblard, IRIT – University Toulouse 1 Capitole Stasa Milojevic, Indiana University Bloomington
Jisun An, Qatar Computing Research Institute, Hamad Bin Khalifa University Sophie Muetzel, University of Lucerne
Mario Angst, Eawag Sanna Ojanpera, University of Oxford
Pablo Aragón, Universitat Pompeu Fabra Atte Oksanen, University of Tampere
Pablo Barberá, London School of Economics Marcos Oliveira, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences
Andrea Baronchelli, City, University of London Symeon Papadopoulos, Information Technologies Institute
Catherine Bouko, Ghent University Alessandro Provetti, Birkbeck, University of London
Ulrik Brandes, ETH Zurich Hemant Purohit, George Mason University
Cody Buntain, University of Maryland Cornelius Puschmann, Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society
Fabio Celli, University of Trento Anabel Quan-Haase, The University of Western Ontario
Michele Coscia, IT University of Copenhagen Pekka Räsänen, University of Turku
Clau Dermont, University of Zurich Raquel Recuero, Catholic University of Pelotas (UCPel)
Achim Edelmann, University of Bern Luca Rossi, IT University of Copenhagen
Victor M. Eguiluz, IFISC (CSIC-UIB) Camille Roth, CNRS
Uwe Engel, University of Bremen Giancarlo Ruffo, University of Turin
Kiran Garimella, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Rossano Schifanella, University of Turin
Fabio Giglietto, University of Urbino “Carlo Bo” Ingo Scholtes, ETH Zurich
Kristina Gligoric, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Simon Schweighofer, Complexity Science Hub Vienna & Medical University of Vienna
Przemyslaw Grabowicz, Max Planck Institute for Software Systems Carsten Schwemmer , University of Bamberg
André Grow, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research Uwe Serdült, Ritsumeikan University
Oul Han, University of Koblenz Susumu Shikano, University of Konstanz
Aniko Hannak, Complexity Science Hub & Vienna Uni. of Economics and Business Xiaoling Shu, University of California, Davis
Raphael H. Heiberger, University of Bremen Julian Sienkiewicz, Warsaw University of Technology
Kazuhiro Kazama, Wakayama University Elisaveta Sivak, National Research University Higher School of Economics
Brian Keegan, University of Colorado Boulder Yun-Ju Song, Ryerson University
Marc Keuschnigg, Linköping University Sebastian Stier, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences
Katharina Kinder-Kurlanda, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences Carmen Vaca, ESPOL
Bennett Kleinberg, University College London George Valkanas, Detectica, Inc.
Andreas Koch, University of Salzburg Johannes Wachs, Central European University
Dominik Kowald, Know-Center Annie Waldherr, University of Münster
Juhi Kulshrestha, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences Ingmar Weber, Qatar Computing Research Institute
Anders Olof Larsson, Westerdals Oslo School of Arts, Communication and Technology Robert West, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
Kristina Lerman, University of Southern California Gregor Wiedemann, University of Hamburg
Jürgen Lerner, University of Konstanz Christo Wilson, Northeastern University
Matteo Magnani, Uppsala University Arkaitz Zubiaga, The University of Warwick


Full Day

Workshop: Challenges and Opportunities in Automated Coding of Contentious Political Events  < Click for more details
Organized by Erdem Yörük (Koç University & University of Oxford), Ali Hürriyetoğlu (Koç University), Çağrı Yoltar  (Koç University), Fırat Durusan (Ankara University & Koç University), Osman Mutlu (Koç University) and Aline Villavicencio (University of Essex)


Tutorial: Designing and Conducting Online Experimental Studies in Social Networks < Click for more details
Organized by Mohsen Mosleh (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Tutorial: Higher-Order Network Analytics for Time-Stamped Data on Social Interactions
Organized by Ingo Scholtes (University of Zurich)

Tutorial: Introduction to Multi-edge Network Inference in R Using the Ghypernet-package
Organized by Giona Casiraghi and Laurence Brandenberger (ETH Zurich)

Tutorial: Polarization on Social MediaClick for more details
Organized by Kiran Garimella (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Gianmarco De Francisci Morales (ISI Foundation), Michael Mathioudakis (University of Helsinki) and Aristides Gionis (Aalto University)

Workshop: A Gentle Introduction to Word Embeddings for Computational Social SciencesClick for more details
Organized by Maximilian Mozes (University College London) and Bennett Kleinberg (University College London)

Workshop: Validating Models of Opinion Polarization in the Digital EraClick for more details
Organized by Michael Mäs (University of Groningen), Marijn Keijzer (University of Groningen), Andreas Flache (University of Groningen) and Jan Lorenz (Jacobs University Bremen)


Call for Abstracts

We welcome submissions in the intersection of the social sciences and the computer sciences, including (a) new approaches for understanding social phenomena and addressing societal challenges, (b) improving methods for computational social science, (c) and understanding the influence of the Web and digital technologies on society.

For the 3rd Symposium we are especially interested in the following four main topics:

I. misinformation and censorship
(including political tension, upheaval and disrupt; public sphere in the digital age; social media as alternative communication channels; information leakage; whistleblowing)

II. discourse polarization and echo chambers
(including discourse radicalization; effects of filter bubbles; online and offline radicalization; diffusion of information)

III. online and offline group formation
(including global, national and local network structures; effects of weak and strong ties in contemporary and historic societies; mobilization patterns)

IV. political polarization and populism
(including political networks and party politics; detection of radicalization and deradicalization; political campaigning)

Important Dates:

Submission deadline: April 20th, 2019
Acceptance notification: June 10th, 2019
Conference days: September 3rd and 4th, 2019

Submission Guidelines:

Extended abstracts should be submitted in English and in pdf format [here]

Submissions should be abstracts of approx. 2-3 pages (up to 1000 words plus references and figures) summarizing the work to be presented. We encourage researchers to also submit abstracts of work that has already been published and/or submit work in progress. Please give a sufficiently detailed description of your work and your methods so we can adequately assess its relevance. Please consider that reviewers will be from an interdisciplinary community.

Each extended abstract will be reviewed by a Program Committee composed of experts in computational social science. Accepted submissions will be non-archival, i.e. there are no proceedings. Submissions will mostly be evaluated based on relevance and the potential to stimulate interesting discussions. Submissions may be accepted as talks or posters.

The Poster Session is supported by SAGE ocean.



Call for Workshop and Tutorials

Workshops will give the opportunity to meet and discuss issues with a selected focus, providing an excellent forum for exploring emerging approaches and task areas and bridging the gaps between the social science and technology fields.

Tutorials will be an opportunity for cross-disciplinary engagement and a deeper understanding of new tools, techniques, and research methodologies. Tutorials should provide either an in-depth look at an emerging technique or software package or a broad summary of an important direction in the field.

Members of all segments of the social media research community are encouraged to submit proposals. To foster interaction and exchange of ideas, the workshops will be kept small, with 30 participants maximum.

Important Dates:

Submission deadline: March 10th, 2019
Acceptance notification: March 30th, 2019
Workshops and tutorials day: September 2nd, 2019

Submission Guidelines:

Please submit your workshop or tutorial proposal by sending a PDF file via email to

Proposals for workshops and tutorials should be no more than three (3) pages in length (10pt, single column, with reasonable margins), written in English, and should contain the following:

a) A concise title
b) The names, affiliations, and contact information of the organizers
c) Planned duration of the event (half-day or full-day meeting)
d) A short abstract describing the scope and main objective of the event
e) A description of the proposed event format and a detailed list of proposed activities

Workshops and tutorials will be selected based on the following criteria:

1) Timeliness of the topic
2) Potential to attract the interest of researchers in computer science and social/organizational sciences
3) Promotion of activities that are different from the classic mini-conference format; those include challenges, games, interactive sessions, brainstorming and networking.
4) Involvement people of different backgrounds in the organizing committee
5) Addressing topics at the intersection of different disciplines



This year the symposium will again feature a doctoral consortium. It will take place on the pre-symposium day September 2, 2019.
PhD candidates from all disciplines that work on topics related to computational social science are welcome to apply for participation. The doctoral consortium is non-public and will only be open to participants that have been selected based on their applications.

During the doctoral consortium, participants will receive individual feedback on their work from two experts of different areas in CSS who will join as mentors during the event. Participants will also have the opportunity to connect with other PhD candidates in the field. Participation in the doctoral consortium is most useful for doctoral candidates “in the middle” of their PhD, but in exceptional cases we might also select people who have only recently started working on their topic or are already close to finishing their PhD.

Based on the submissions we will select participants to present their work in the consortium meeting and to participate in discussions and mentoring sessions. We are interested in all topics that fit into computational social science, the topic of the PhD thesis does not have to be directly related to this year’s symposium theme “polarization and radicalization”.

Submission Guidelines

Applications should be submitted via Easychair:
Submissions should be PDF files of up to approx. 1000 words, including the following information:

  • an abstract of the PhD thesis topic including information about the research question, applied methods and the current state of progress.
  • a short paragraph about the applicant’s biography
  • a paragraph on open questions that the applicant would want to discuss with the community and experts in the field

Deadline for submissions is May 10th, 2019 extended to May 20th, 2019.

Travel Grants

Participants presenting in the doctoral consortium can also apply for travel grants. The number of grants as well as the amount per grant is limited. Please see more detailed information here.


Call for Dataset Challenge: Machine Behavior

The second Dataset Challenge of the European Symposium on Societal Challenges in CSS invites researchers and practitioners from the spectrum of Social and Computational Sciences to approach a common topic through a selection of datasets. The aim of this challenge is to encourage creative engagement with data from pluralistic perspectives in order to foster dialogue across disciplines. We envision that this challenge will lead to fruitful, in-depth discussions during the symposium, as participants will have a shared basis through interaction with the dataset(s), but varying ideas of where to go with it.

The research questions and methods applied to the dataset(s) can be drawn from the broad spectrum of computational social science. The aim of the challenge is to provide an empirical understanding of machine behavior, quantitatively analyzing the behavior of intelligent machines in their natural environments when interacting with humans. We are specially interested in both the behavior of machines and of humans when interacting with each other through any medium.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Bot-human interaction on social media
  • Collaborative content editing between human and machine users
  • Algorithmic effects on opinions, emotional expression, and collective behavior
  • Learned or emergent biases and discrimination in machine behavior

We ask participants of the dataset challenge to be creative in their approach to the data.

The work presented at the symposium can be early stage, but should be methodically sound and provide either preliminary insights into an interesting research question or first inductively-reached conclusions of systematic patterns of bias in the dataset. These can also be on a meta-level or may be designated to positioning the work in broader theoretical contexts. We especially invite inventive combinations with other datasets or comparisons across data sources (e.g., other online media, data in other languages, data from other case studies).

Submissions selected by our review committee will be presented in a special dataset challenge session at the pre-symposium day (September 2nd, 2019). After the presentations, participants (and audience members) are invited to engage in discourse about the presented approaches and possible future work and collaborations.

A jury will select the best presentation (including any created resources, such as secondary datasets or analysis code) to be awarded the second Euro CSS Dataset Challenge Award supported by EPJ Data Science.

Extended abstracts of work in progress or completed projects based on the suggested dataset(s) should be submitted in English in PDF format via the EasyChair submission system:

Submissions should be abstracts of approx. 2-3 pages (maximum up to 1000 words plus references and figures).

The abstract submissions will be evaluated based on originality and the potential to stimulate interesting discussions, but should also consider the feasibility of the proposed idea. Please consider that reviewers will be from an interdisciplinary community, therefore describe your ideas, approaches and potential complementary datasets in sufficient detail.

Important Dates:

Submission deadline: May 10th, 2019 extended to May 20th, 2019
Acceptance notification: June 10th, 2019
Dataset Challenge: September 2nd, 2019

Please see the additional information for how to apply to travel grants here.

The Datasets

The following datasets all relate to machine behavior when interacting with humans. Participants of the challenge should make use of one or more of the main datasets listed below and are encouraged to combine them or compare them among each other, as well as complementing them with additional information or comparing them with other datasets of similar nature.

Main Datasets

Machines in gaming

Do matchmaking algorithms create collective effects in online games? Can we detect the aggregated behavior of bots in a Twitch-based videogame? How does the behavior of players depend on the decisions of bots and algorithms in gaming?

Machines that post on social media

Do social bots influence user behavior, such as posting, liking, and the expression of opinions or emotions? How can we measure the way social bots react to human behavior, follow trends, or promote content? Is there a consistent way to formalize the spectrum between human and bot behavior through cyborg or semi-automated accounts?

Machines that edit content in Wikipedia

Does the presence of automated accounts affect the editing behavior of Wikipedia contributors? Do bots in collaborative projects accelerate or hinder content production? What are the observable traces of bot presence in the content?

FAQ / assistance

For any questions related to technical aspects or submissions, write us to



Science Slam

A Science Slam is an epic scientific event where scientists compete with short talks on their research. It’s just like a poetry slam, but with science instead of poems. Slammers are completely free to do whatever they want on stage, everything is allowed including slides, games, the more creative, the better!

The only two rules are:

1) The topic of the slam has to be related to data science / computational social science or to social media, online data or digital behavioral data, and
2) Presentations should not take more than 8 minutes.

When? –>September 2nd, 8pm
Where? –> “BQM” at polyterrasse in ETH Zurich (
How much? –> For free!
Do you want to present at the slam? –> Send an email with the title and a short description of what you want to do to the latest by August 10th, 2019


The symposium will take place in Switzerland at the ETH Zurich campus in Zurich city center.

September 2nd, 2019

Participants are kindly asked to go the ML Buliding for registration first, before heading to the HG building for the pre-symposium day.

Registration: ML Building

ML Building (Maschinenlaboratorium, D-MAVT)

Address: Sonneggstrasse 3, 8092 Zurich

Pre-Symposium Day Venue: HG Building

HG Building (Schulleitung, Verwaltung, D-MATH, D-GESS)

Address: Rämistrasse 101, 8092 Zurich

September 3rd-4th, 2019
Main Symposium Venue: ML D 28

Room ML D 28, ML Building (Maschinenlaboratorium, D-MAVT)

Address: Sonneggstrasse 3, 8092 Zurich

Science Slam Venue: bQm

The bQm Culture Café & Bar is a popular location located at the Polyterrasse in ETH Zurich.

Address: Leonhardstrasse 34, 8092 Zurich

How to Get to the ETH Zurich Zentrum Campus

The ETH Zurich Zentrum campus is a 10-minute walk from the Zurich Main Station. Alternatively, you can reach the Zentrum campus by tram no. 6 or 10 from the Zurich Main Station. The nearest stop is “ETH/Universitätsspital”.

From the Zurich Airport, take the tram no. 10 and get off at “ETH/Universitätsspital”. The journey takes around 30 minutes.

Visit the ETH Zurich website to find out more on how to get to the ETH Zurich Zentrum campus.

Travel Grants

Due to the generous funding by Volkswagen Foundation we are able to offer a limited number of travel grants to researchers whose submissions are accepted for the symposium (presenters of talks or posters at the main symposium, workshop or tutorial organizers, accepted participants of doctoral consortium and dataset challenge).

Travel grant recipients will be selected based on academic excellence, financial needs and diversity (e.g. gender, geographical and disciplinary diversity).

To apply for a travel grant please send an email with the subject “Travel Grant” to including the following information: a) your submission number in EasyChair or the title of your submitted workshop/tutorial, b) your contact details, c) your motivation for the grant application and d) whether you will still attend the symposium without a travel grant.

Travel grants will be awarded as lump sums, the amount to be awarded will be based on the country of the awardee’s affiliation.
Grants will be paid out after the conference.

The grants aim to especially support attendees with limited travel resources and attendees from countries where computational social science is not yet well established. We acknowledge that there may be more meritorious applications than we will be able to award and support.

Deadline for travel grant applications is extended to May 20th, 2019 (for all submission types). Late applications cannot be considered.

Visa Support

Letters of support can be requested by accepted European Symposium Series on Societal Challenges in Computational Social Science authors or registrants with a completed registration with payment. If you are attending the European Symposium and require a letter of support, please send the following information in an email with the subject “Visa Support” to

  • First/Given Name:
  • Family/Last Name:
  • Position:
  • Organization:
  • Department:
  • Address:
  • City:
  • Zip/Postal Code:
  • Country:
  • Email:
  • Are you an author of a paper?
  • Paper title:
  • If not accepted author, Registration Confirmation Nr.:








ETH Zurich


Rämistrasse 101

8092 Zurich




Organizing Team

+49 (0221) 47694-254


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