Dr. Manuel Cebrian

Manuel Cebrian

Dr. Manuel Cebrian is senior scientist with NICTA at the University of Melbourne. He has held postdoctoral positions both in academia, at UC San Diego, MIT and Brown University, and industry, with Telefonica's and Facebook's data science teams. Cebrian earned a Ph.D. in computer science from Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, where his thesis received the Dissertation of the Year Award for his work on plagiarism networks.

Cebrian's work lies at the intersection of the computer and social sciences. His primary interests include social and financial networks, crowdsourcing, urban economics, behavioral game theory, and evolutionary dynamics. His work has been supported by a Fulbright Award, a Caja Madrid Foundation Fellowship, and grants from the Australian Research Council, the US National Science Foundation, DARPA, the US Army Research Office, the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Masdar Institute of the United Arab Emirates.

Cebrian is particularly interested in understanding to what extent can social networking make it easier to find people and solve real-world problems. His efforts are best illustrated by his participation in the 2009 DARPA Network Challenge, the 2011 DARPA Shredder Challenge, and the 2012 Department of State Tag Challenge. Recent articles by Nature, The Economist, and New Scientist summarise the exciting challenges in this area.

Selected projects

For a comprehensive list of publications, check Cebrian's Google Scholar profile or his DBLP bibliography; additional media coverage can be found in his personal webpage.

Using friends as sensors to detect global-scale contagious outbreaks, M. Garcia-Herranz, E. Moro, M. Cebrian, N. Christakis, J. Fowler, PLoS ONE 9(4):e92413 (2014). MIT Technology Review, Yale University News, Chronicle, Business Week.

Urban characteristics attributable to density-driven tie formation, W. Pan, G. Ghoshal, C. Krumme, M. Cebrian, and A. Pentland, Nature Communications 4, 1961 (2013). New York Times, The Atlantic Cities, The Economist, Smithsonian, MIT News.

Limits of social mobilization, A. Rutherford, M. Cebrian, S. Dsouza, E. Moro, A. Pentland, and I. Rahwan, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 110(16):6281-6286 (2013). NBC, Yahoo! News, Arabian Gazette.

Iterated crowdsourcing dilemma game, K. Oishi, M. Cebrian, A. Abeliuk, N. Masuda, Scientific Reports 4, 4100 (2014). Social Physics Blog.

Targeted social mobilization in a global manhunt, A. Rutherford, M. Cebrian, I. Rahwan, et al., PLoS ONE 8(9):e74628 (2013). Scientific American, MIT Technology Review, New Scientist.

Limited communication capacity unveils strategies for human interaction, G. Miritello, R. Lara, M. Cebrian, and E. Moro, Scientific Reports 3, 1950 (2013). Seminar at UCLA's Mathematics of Social Learning, Esteban Moro's Blog, Antena 3.

Violent extremist group ecologies under stress, M. Cebrian, M. Torres, R. Huerta and J. Fowler, Scientific Reports 3, 1544 (2013). Australian Broadcast Corporation, El Confidencial, Universidad Pablo de Olavide.

Global manhunt pushes the limits of social mobilization, I. Rahwan, S. Dsouza, A. Rutherford, V. Naroditskiy, J. McInerney, M. Venanzi, N. Jennings, and M. Cebrian, Computer 46(4):68-75 (2013).

Verification in referral-based crowdsourcing, V. Naroditskiy, I. Rahwan, M. Cebrian, N. Jennings, PLoS ONE 7(10):e45924 (2012). ACM, Red Orbit, UCSD News, Science 20, Science Daily.

Finding red balloons with split contracts: robustness to individuals' selfishness, M. Cebrian, L. Coviello, A. Vattani, and P. Voulgaris, Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC) pp. 775-788, New York, USA (2012). Talk video.

Time-critical social mobilization, G. Pickard, W. Pan, I. Rahwan, M. Cebrian, R. Crane, A. Madan, and A. Pentland, Science 334(6055):509-512 (2011). New York Times, Rachel Madow, MSNBC, Popular Mechanics, MIT News.

Reflecting on the DARPA Red Balloon Challenge, J. Tang, M. Cebrian, N. Giacobe, H-W. Kim, T. Kim, and D. Wickert, Communications of the ACM 54(4):78-85 (2011).

Social sensing for epidemiological behavior change, A. Madan, M. Cebrian, D. Lazer, and A. Pentland, Proceedings of the ACM International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing (Ubicomp) pp. 291-300, Copenhagen, Denmark (2010). Ginger.io, Nature News.

Computational Social Science Lab

Dr. Cebrian is a founding member of the Computational Social Science Lab, located within the Research School of Computer Science at the Australian National University.


Together with close colleagues, Dr. Cebrian contributes to the Social Physics Blog at socialphysics.media.mit.edu.


Scientific correspondence should be directed to Dr. Cebrian at Manuel.Cebrian@nicta.com.au.

Questions about our Research Group should be directed to Alessandra Stasi at Alessandra.Stasi@nicta.com.au.

Media inquiries should be directed to Dorothy Kennedy at Dorothy.Kennedy@nicta.com.au.

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NICTA Victoria Research Laboratory
Level 2, Building 193, Electrical and Electronic Engineering
University of Melbourne
Victoria 3010 Australia