Manuel Cebrian

Scalable Cooperation
  • Research Scientist

Dr. Manuel Cebrian is Research Scientist with Scalable Cooperation, an MIT Media Lab research group. He is best known for designing the recursive incentive structure that mobilized participants to solve the DARPA Network Challenge, the Department of State Tag Challenge, and the DARPA Shredder Challenge.

Cebrian came to MIT from CSIRO, where he developed tools for nowcasting disaster damage using crowdsourced data. Before CSIRO, Cebrian was based at the University of California San Diego, where he was immersed in large-scale crowdsourcing competitions. His first hands-on work with mass-scale social networks came through his postdoctoral work with Telefonica Research and Brown University.

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, as well as a test-of-time Alumni-UAM award ten years after its defense. A summary of Cebrian's body of work can be found in NautilusMedium, and Madri+d. Recent articles by NatureThe Economis… View full description

Dr. Manuel Cebrian is Research Scientist with Scalable Cooperation, an MIT Media Lab research group. He is best known for designing the recursive incentive structure that mobilized participants to solve the DARPA Network Challenge, the Department of State Tag Challenge, and the DARPA Shredder Challenge.

Cebrian came to MIT from CSIRO, where he developed tools for nowcasting disaster damage using crowdsourced data. Before CSIRO, Cebrian was based at the University of California San Diego, where he was immersed in large-scale crowdsourcing competitions. His first hands-on work with mass-scale social networks came through his postdoctoral work with Telefonica Research and Brown University.

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, as well as a test-of-time Alumni-UAM award ten years after its defense. A summary of Cebrian's body of work can be found in NautilusMedium, and Madri+d. Recent articles by NatureThe Economist, and New Scientist highlight Cebrian's contributions to crowdsourcing, put in perspective by his brief history of social search.

Recent projects

Beyond Viral, M. Cebrian, I. Rahwan, and A. Pentland, Communications of the ACM, 59:4, 2016. MIT Sloan Management Review; accompanying film and art book.

The Nightmare Machine, P. Yanardag, M. Cebrian, N. Obradovich, I. Rahwan. InstagramWashington PostThe AtlanticForbesBBCNPRCNETNBC NewsViceBoston GlobeFiveThirtyEight.

Expecting to be HIP: Hawkes Intensity Processes for Social Media Popularity, A. Rizoiu, L. Xie, S. Sanner, M. Cebrian, H. Yu, and P. Van Hentenryck. Proceedings of the International World Wide Web Conference (WWW'2017), Perth, Australia, 2017. Interactive Visualization System, ACTIVE Twitter Videos Dataset, and code.

Selected projects

For a comprehensive list of publications, check Cebrian's Google Scholar profile, his Semantic Scholar profile, his Research Gate profile, or his DBLP bibliography.

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 TimesRachel MadowMSNBCPopular MechanicsMIT NewsIEEE MultimediaScience News.

Urban characteristics attributable to density-driven tie formation, W. Pan, G. Ghoshal, C. Krumme, M. Cebrian, and A. Pentland, Nature Communications 4, 1961 (2013). Featured in PNAS Core Concepts in Computational Social Science, New York TimesThe Atlantic CitiesThe EconomistSmithsonianMIT News. See related work on Urban Crime, covered by CIO, and our analysis the capacity of cities to Organize Social Events.

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). NBCYahoo! NewsArabian GazetteLa Repubblica.

Error and attack tolerance of collective problem solving: The DARPA Shredder Challenge, N. Stefanovitch, A. Alshamsi, M. Cebrian, I. Rahwan, EPJ Data Science 3:13 (2014). MediumNautilusCNETSan Diego Union-TribuneUC San Diego News IUC San Diego News IIKPBS,Phys.orgEl PaisRTVE.

Rapid assessment of disaster damage using social media activity, Y. Kryvasheyeu, H. Chen, N. Obradovich, E. Moro, P. Van Hentenryck, J. Fowler, and M. Cebrian, Science Advances 2, e1500779 (2016). Science MagazineWall Street JournalThe Washington PostSmithsonianMichigan DailyDie WeltDeutschlandfunkDagens NyheterScience NewsEl PaisLa VanguardiaAltmetric. Dataset available at Dryad Digital Repository.

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 ReviewYale University NewsChronicleBusiness WeekUniversidad Carlos III de MadridHuffington Post.

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

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

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

Crowdsourcing contest dilemma, V. Naroditskiy, N. Jennings, P. Van Hentenryck, M. Cebrian, Journal of The Royal Society Interface 11:20140532 (2014). Social Physics BlogThe AustralianABC RadioQuartzLifeHackerThe ConversationUniversity of Southampton.

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

News Coverage

English coverage: New York TimesThe EconomistPopular ScienceNature NewsNew ScientistThe AtlanticWiredMIT Technology ReviewNautilusMediumThe Antlantic's CitylabYale NewsThe ConversationThe AustralianMIT Technology ReviewThe AustralianAustralian Broadcasting CorporationCIOTransparency InternationalArts HubMxScience NewsScience MagazineWall Street JournalThe Washington PostSmithsonianDie WeltDeutschlandfunkDagens NyheterThe AdvertiserWikimedia Research ShowcaseAustralian National UniversityMIT Technology ReviewThe AtlanticForbesMotherboardMIT Sloan Management Review,Washington PostThe AtlanticForbesBBCNPRCNETNBC NewsViceBoston GlobeFiveThirtyEight.

Spanish coverage: El PaisEl MundoCinco DiasMuy InteresanteEl ConfidencialAhora SemanalRTVECinco DiasEl PaisMadri+dEl PaisLa VanguardiaCadena SerNada es GratisEl PaisEl ConfidencialYorokobuEl ConfidencialUniversidad Pablo de Olavide.

E-mail

Scientific correspondence should be directed to Dr. Cebrian at cebrian@media.mit.edu.

Questions about the Research Group should be directed to Amna Carreiro at amnac@media.mit.edu.

Media inquiries should be directed to Media Lab Press Team at press@media.mit.edu.

Phone

+1 617 253 5960

Mailing address

MIT Media Lab
77 Massachusetts Avenue, E14/E15
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
USA