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Professor Dr

Dirk Helbing

Year of election: 2008
Section: Economics and Empirical Social Sciences
City: Zurich
Country: Switzerland

Research

Dirk Helbing worked as Managing Director of the Institute for Transport & Economics at TU Dresden and is now Professor of Sociology, in particular of Modeling and Simulation at ETH Zurich. Having studied physics and mathematics, he investigates complex social, economic, and transport systems with methods from statistical physics, individual-based models, and behavioural experiments.

Helbing is well-known for the social force model, in particular its application to self-organization phenomena in pedestrian crowds. Besides the slower-is-faster effect, he introduced the freezing-by-heating effect and the phase diagram of congested traffic states. Helbing also proposed a microscopic foundation of evolutionary game theory and studied self-organized behavioural conventions early on. Recent work applies principles of collective intelligence and dynamics to the optimization of urban and freeway traffic. His current research focusses on socio-inspired technology, on disaster spreading and crisis management, and the role of success-driven motion for the establishment of cooperation among selfish individuals.

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