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IBSEN is a project funded by Horizon 2020, the biggest EU Research and Innovation Programme. It is designed to provide a breakthrough in our understanding of large scale human behaviour. With that purpose, it will develop pioneering capacity to perform structured and controlled multiplatform experiments, and will carry out an interdisciplinary research program.

Developing models of real-world societal scenarios and systems is a key topic in the research agenda of social sciences, but is hindered by the lack of controlled experimentation with large groups of people. IBSEN will provide a breakthrough by building a repertoire of human behaviour in large (1000+ persons) structured groups using controlled experiments. To that end, we will develop a novel setup for large groups of people that will provide an experimental protocol, the necessary software and analytical tools to allow us to deal with thousands of people at the same time.

We will apply our setup to specific research questions, focusing on novel phenomenology that may arise in large systems as compared to typical smaller ones, to find the rules that govern human behaviour in those cases, including the influence of social context and individual identity on them. We will assess our approach by building a model of human interaction in groups based on the behavioural rules we have found. The project requires a high-degree of interdisciplinarity; accordingly, the team consists of physicists, economists, social psychologists, and computer scientists. On the other hand, this is a high-risk project, as the experimental design may prove unfeasible for really large systems and extracting meaningful data from the participants’ actions may not be possible. Notwithstanding, encouraging results in some pilot studies run by partners underpin the scientific feasibility of the concept and approach. If successful, researchers will be able to build on our findings to develop a human behaviour simulator, a technology providing a basis for socio-economic simulations that would radically change many fields, from robotics to economics, with technological and societal impacts, including policy-making in socially pressing issues. We will thus lay the foundations to kick start a new way of doing social science for the problems arising in a technologically highly connected society.


Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Universidad de  Zaragoza, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Universiteit van Amsterdam,  Aalto University, Universitat de Valencia.
IBSEN website

Aalto – Leads role in work package 2 (Large scale micro- and macro-social phenomen)

Aligned along with the goals of IBSEN, Aalto plans to conduct studies of human behaviour in groups of smaller scale first extending then to large scale. Our plan includes

  • Studying individual behaviour and collective behaviour through quasi-experimental designs
  • Volunteer role and recruitment
  • Software development for data collection and experiments

Aalto-IBSEN Conference on Computational Social Science (September, 2017):



P.I. Prof. Kimmo Kaski

Kunal Bhattacharya, PhD

Daniel Monsivais Velázquez, MSc

Richard Darst, PhD

Tuomas Takko, BSc