Markus Luczak-Roesch

I am an Associate Professor at Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand) and a Principal Investigator at Te Pūnaha Matatini, New Zealand's Centre of Research Excellence on Complex Systems. My work is highly inter- and transdisciplinary with a strong focus on mathematical modelling and computational analysis of evolving complex systems. I also investigate human-centred aspects of computing and data science.

Latest activities


  • Li, Y., Bernard, J. G., & Luczak-Roesch, M. (2021). Beyond Clicktivism: What Makes Digitally Native Activism Effective? An Exploration of the Sleeping Giants Movement. Social Media+ Society, 7(3), 20563051211035357.
  • Tomlinson, B., Boberg, J., Cranefield, J., Johnstone, D., Luczak-Roesch, M., Patterson, D. J., & Kapoor, S. (2021). Analyzing the sustainability of 28 ‘Blockchain for Good’projects via affordances and constraints. Information Technology for Development, 27(3), 439-469.
  • Roth, S., & Luczak-Roesch, M. (2020). Deconstructing the data life-cycle in digital humanitarianism. Information, Communication & Society, 23(4), 555-571.


  • Since July 2021 I am the Science Lead for the Veracity Technology Spearhead funded by the Science for Technological Innovation National Science Challenge. This project initially received $2 million in research funding for 2 years, and brings together a team of 10 academics from 5 of Aotearoa New Zeland's universities. One activity of this project is the establishment of the Veracity Lab, a new entity to explore, promote and support a high integrity national digital future in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Short bio

I am an Associate Professor within the School of Information Management at Victoria University of Wellington and a Principal Investigator at Te Pūnaha Matatini—New Zealand's centre for research excellence (CoRE) on complex systems. I am leading the Complexity & Connection Science Lab at Victoria University of Wellington that brings together students and researchers to work on theories and methods to understand the structures and dynamics of complex systems, and to develop computational tools that securely and meaningfully augment human intelligence.

I obtained my MSc (2008) and my PhD (2014) degrees from the Free University of Berlin (Germany) where I also worked as a Lecturer from 2010 to 2013. From 2013 until 2016 I then worked as a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Southampton (UK) on the prestigious EPSRC programme grant "SOCIAM - The Theory and Practice of Social Machines" (, which involved the universities of Oxford, Edinburgh and Southampton in an endeavor to understand what the inventor of the World Wide Web (and co-investigator on the SOCIAM project) Sir Tim Berners-Lee described in his book Weaving the Web as follows: "Real life is and must be full of all kinds of social constraint – the very processes from which society arises. Computers can help if we use them to create abstract social machines on the Web: processes in which people do the creative work and the machine does the administration."

My curiosity is around the mathematics of change and in particular of change that is a result of rare coincidences. Change happens everywhere and all the time - in biological systems in social systems, in the economy, even in very basic every day situations. Sometimes we have the ability to anticipate or predict change, because we understand well the likelihood of the underlying events happening individually and them happening in a particular orchestration. But then there are events that are rare and have potentially never happened together with particular other events. Yet they change the overall system significantly and persistently. This property of most so-called complex systems is also known as emergence. So I ask questions like: What are the unifying mathematical properties of emergence? Does emergence happen similarly across different systems we can find in our world? Can we improve resilience and response to changes when we gain a better formal understanding of emergence?

My enthusiasm for this line of work originates from the early days of my computer science PhD research, where I investigated RDF data repositories that evolve aligned with the emergent changes in how people use (i.e. query) them. Today the systems in which I study emergence range from social systems (e.g. online communities and social movements), to biological systems (e.g. bacteria and brain activities), to cultural artefacts (e.g. language, literature, human personality), to numerical systems (e.g. prime numbers), to weather (e.g. climate change).

I also developed a track record in the Semantic Web field, where I specifically worked on human-centred ontology engineering, knowledge graph life cycle management, and semantic annotation tools for text.

Supervised undergraduate and postgraduate students (dissertations and thesis)