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Decoding Human Behavior

Seminar: Winter Semester 2023/24; Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg; Faculty of Engineering, Department of Computer Science


  • (Sep 07, 2023) Website created, dates confirmed

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Seminar Content

Human behavior ist hard to capture, especially with regard to formal terms. A plethora of disciplines has devoted its focus on analyzing as well as predicting human behavior, notably the entire corpus of social sciences.

While a treatise of all aspects of modelling and analyzing human behavior in a formal way is nearly impossible, the seminar at hand focuses on two research fields that are particularly close to applications in Computer Science:

  • 1. Social Network Analysis (SNA) and
  • 2. Game Theory.

Social Network Analysis has seen a strong uptake in the last 20 years as researchers from diverse fields have begun to decipher the features and characteristics of these organic networks (as opposed to artificially grown ones). The seminar will take a whirlwind tour through the various stages of scientific discovery and also delve into applications that make use of the knowledge gathered from SNA.

Next, we will briefly step into Game Theory, one of the most notable and influential disciplines from the 20th century, in particular to economics.

With an understanding of both SNA and GT on board, we will step into the more practical part of the seminar, which is the domain of online marketing and digital advertising, analyzing the different variations that exist today (e.g., display advertising, real-time bidding, SEM, contextual advertising).

Application Procedure

We kindly ask prospective participants to apply via the university’s online application system for participation in the indicated seminar. Please note that the number of participants is limited to 5 with no exception.

Administrative Stuff

The seminar is organized as an “en bloc seminar”, consisting of three sessions with mandatory participation.

  • Session I: The first session will be held on Tuesday, Nov 07, 2023, 17.30h s.t. as a remote session. The aim of this first session is to provide all participants with basic knowledge about recommender systems and what will be asked of students in terms of presentation skills and the writing of a scientific report, present the topics to be elaborated in presentations, and assign topics to participants. Moreover, the first session will address the organization of the second session.
  • Session II: The second session will feature the first part of oral presentations of all 5 participants and take place Tuesday, Dec 12, 2023, 17.30h s.t. as a remote session.
  • Session III: The third session will feature the second part of oral presentations, plus final feedback to students. It will take place Wednesday, Dec 13, 2023, 17.30h s.t. as a remote session.

Additional information:

  • ECTS: 4 cr. (equals 2 SWS)
  • Language: English/German

Prerequisites for Passing

Participation in both sessions is absolutely mandatory. Also, the students need to submit certain deliverables that will be graded:

  • Written report (max. 8 pages DIN A4, 12 pt., single-spaced, one-column); submission date will be announced in the first session (submit to cai.ziegler at hotmail dot de)
  • Oral presentation (English or German) of 30 mins; discussion and question 10 mins;  presentations have to be in PPT and must follow the style template handed out in the first session

The final grade is composed 60% oral presentation plus participation in discussions, and 40% written report.

Topics and References

Topics and references are contained in the document handed out in the first session. Note that the indicated paper references are only meant as starting point.

Students are highly encouraged to search for other suitable references.