Join us in Vienna for an intensive two-week course on social complexity science.

The Evolution of Social Complexity


During the Holocene (roughly, the last 10,000 years) human social life has been transformed from small-scale relatively egalitarian groups to large-scale complex societies characterized by sophisticated governance institutions, elaborate information systems, extensive division of labor, and deep social and economic inequalities. Thinkers of the past and modern social scientists have proposed a multitude of theories to account for this profound transformation. However, whereas new explanations continue to be proposed, the theoretical corpus only grows, while deficient explanations have not been rejected in favor of more logically cohesive and empirically adequate theories. This situation is about to change due to the proliferation of new modeling approaches that translate verbal hypotheses into testable quantitative predictions and, especially, the construction of new databases together constituting a massive, and growing corpus of data for empirically testing theoretical predictions.


The CSH Winter School will offer an intensive week-long course on social complexity science: modeling and data analytics.


The participants will learn:

– The goals and challenges of agent-based modeling of social systems

– The strengths and limitations of various databases on social evolution and dynamics

– The approaches to integrating theory with data: parameterizing models and empirically             testing model predictions

May 11–17, 2022 | Complexity Science Hub Vienna


Arrival day: May 10, 2022

Lectures and discussions: May 11–17, 2022

Departure: May 18, 2022


Remote online continuation | May 23–27

Team-based project work will continue remotely.


As a hybrid event, the Winter School can be attended virtually.


Dániel Kondor
Fariba Karimi
Frank Neffke by (c) Ljubica Nedelkoska
Jenny Reddish by (c) Verena Ahne
Majid Benam
Iza Romanowska, speaker at this year's CSH School on  the Evolution of Social Complexity
Sergey Gavrilets by (c) private
Kirby Kate is a speaker for this year's Winter School on the Evolution of Social Complexity
Dan Hoyer (c) private


• Peter Turchin (CSH): a survey of theories about processes driving social evolution and modeling approaches, integrating models and data
• Dániel Kondor (CSH): the HoloSim framework for modeling cultural evolution
• Fariba Karimi (CSH): Understanding and modeling the emergence of inequalities in social networks
• Frank Neffke (CSH): The evolution of the modern city: technological change, economic complexity, communication and coordination
• Jenny Reddish (CSH) and Daniel Hoyer (EI): translating the knowledge of historians and archaeologists into data
• Majid Benam (CSH): graph databases and an introduction to the Seshat Databank Triplestore
• Iza Romanowska (Aarhus): Introduction to agent-based modelling for investigating dynamic processes and social mechanisms of the past
• Sergey Gavrilets (Tennessee and CSH): bridging agent-based simulations with analytic models
• Zhiwu Chen (Hong Kong): quantitative history, the view from China
• Laura Mayoral (Barcelona): an economist perspective on social evolution
• Kate Kirby (Toronto and Max Planck-Jena): ethnographic databases



We accept applications from PhD candidates, PostDocs, as well as senior researchers. 


We encourage applications not only from computational scientists, but also from researchers with a background in Digital Humanities.

Your application should contain:


– A current resume or CV
– A letter of motivation that describes your research interests (maximum 2 pages)


Applications are possible until Friday, October 15, 2021.

Applicants should be notified by e-mail regarding the status of their applications during the first week of November.


Please send your application to office@csh.ac.at.


for students & PhD candidates: €780
for Postdoctoral researchers: €880
for Professionals: €980


Tuition covers participation, lodging as well as lunch and snacks on course days.


Please note that travel costs are not included and participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements.


Virtual Participation

Lectures can be attended free of charge.

If you want to take part in discussions and in the project work, we ask for a contribution of €280.

How to find us


Housing is provided during the length of the program here:


OeAD student housing
Simmeringer Hauptstrasse 143, 1110 Vienna