Understanding intelligence rooted in coincidence

Emergent problem solving in socio-technical systems like the World Wide Web is not necessarily linked by a single application or virtual social network in which it resides. It is the shared information itself that ties together human activity across system boundaries and that holds an interesting potential to capture collective intelligence.

Related activities

Transcendental Information Cascades

Which questions can be asked against a dataset when contextual information is rare or patchy, for example in case of irregular availability of social network features in cross-system analyses? How does information on the World Wide Web naturally evolve over time? Transcendental information cascades are a model based on the following hypothesis: Every resource that is published in an information space, enters a temporary interaction with any other resource in that space once a unique explicit or implicit reference between the two is found. This research seeks to lay out foundations for a general theory of coincidence in information spaces, expanding on existing work on bursty structures in document streams and information cascades.


Luczak-Rösch, Markus, Tinati, Ramine and Shadbolt, Nigel (2015) When resources collide: towards a theory of coincidence in information spaces. In, WWW 2015 Companion, Florence, IT, 6pp. (doi:10.1145/2740908.2743973).
Markus Luczak-Roesch, Ramine Tinati, Max van Kleek, and Nigel Shadbolt. 2015. From coincidence to purposeful flow? Properties of transcendental information cascades. In IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (ASONAM), Paris, FR, 2015.

Socio-technical Computation

What is the inherent problem solving potential of information spaces such as the World Wide Web? We investigate microscopic properties of at a first sight serendipitously linked information sharing activities to reverse engineer accumulated collaborative efforts that contribute to common higher order goals. We call such phenomena socio-technical computation and define: Socio-technical computation is the computational capability embodied in cascades of information sharing activities on the Web that are not necessarily conditioned by system-specific or social network features but only time and inherent properties of pairs of resources.


Luczak-Rösch, Markus, Tinati, Ramine, O’Hara, Kieron and Shadbolt, Nigel (2015) Socio-technical computation. At The 18th ACM conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, Vancouver, CA, 14 – 18 Mar 2015. ACM. (doi:10.1145/2685553.2698991). – http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/372857/

Humans in the information age

Data is on the way to become a general citizen concern. But access to urgently needed data might not be equally possible for every person due to technical or social exclusion. Or we have to make sure that no one has access to certain data without full understanding and detailed control of the real data owner. Hence, we need data management solutions for individuals with disparate capabilities and a data coalition between citizens and legislators to put people back in control of their data and ensure data can securely be shared if urgently needed.

Related activities

Inclusiveness in Crowdsourced Disaster Response

Following an ESRC/DFID funded project on Inclusiveness in Crowdsourced Disaster Response, I was recently interviewed for the Experts Speak podcast series compiled by the datapopalliance. My contribution is titled "Navigating a Heterogenous Data Landscape and Legislating for Big Data" and covers novel forms of platform-independent crowdsourcing as well as the need to establish a data coalition between governments and citizens to ensure fair access to explicitly and implicitly collected data that is useful in disaster response and environmental resilience.


Semantic text annotation for the non-expert

Tools to manage diverse digital artifacts and metadata annotations are urgently required in areas such as digital libraries, the digital humanities or data journalism. In 2009 I was co-inventor of loomp, a tool that adapted classical text processing motifs to mask the technical details of semantic markup to allow non-experts to produce rich text granules that were accessible conforming to the Linked Data priciples. The project was published as open source software and inspired further work in various directions that is still ongoing.


Luczak-Rösch, M., & Heese, R. (2009, March). Linked Data Authoring for Non-Experts. In LDOW 2009.
Hinze, A., Heese, R., Luczak-Rösch, M., & Paschke, A. (2012). Semantic enrichment by non-experts: usability of manual annotation tools. In The Semantic Web–ISWC 2012 (pp. 165-181). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
Hinze, A., Heese, R., Schlegel, A., & Luczak-Rösch, M. (2012). User-defined semantic enrichment of full-text documents: Experiences and lessons learned. In Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries (pp. 209-214). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Short bio

I am a computer scientist whose research is focused on macro- and micro-scale information architectures. This encompasses information systems, their users, and the data which is either managed for any particular application purpose or results from various forms of interactions.

I started my academic career pathway first as a Research Associate and then as a Lecturer at the Free University of Berlin (Germany, 2008-2013), from which I also hold a diploma (Dipl.-Inf.) and a doctoral degree (Dr. rer. nat.) in Computer Science. My teaching in Berlin covered Web-based information systems, Web data and interoperability as well as IT project management and entrepreneurship. Afterwards I worked as a Senior Research Fellow on the prestigious EPSRC programme grant SOCIAM - The Theory and Practice of Social Machines (http://sociam.org) at the University of Southampton, Electronics and Computer Science (UK, 2013-2016). The SOCIAM project pioneered methods of supporting purposeful human interaction on the World Wide Web, of the kind exemplified by phenomena such as Wikipedia, the Zooniverse citizen science initiative, and digital disaster response using the Ushahidi platform. In this context I was working on the analysis of online communities and citizen science platforms as well as an information-centric theory of Social Machines. I also taught courses on professional development, the foundations of Data Science and Semantic Web to Computer Science undergraduates and postgraduates in Southampton. In July 2016 I picked up a permanent faculty position at Senior Lecturer level at the School of Information Management, Victoria Business School, Victoria University of Wellington (NZ). In this role I am continuing my personal research agenda and teach various aspects of modern information systems including foundations of databases and data analytics.

My research has been published in internationally reputable journals, incuding IEEE Intelligent Systems, the Knowledge Engineering Review, the International Journal of Semantic Web and Information Systems (IJSWIS), and the D-Lib Magazine as well as top conferences, such as the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing (CHI), the International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Work (CSCW), the International Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM), the International World Wide Web Conference (WWW), the International Conference on Advances on Social Network Analysis and Mining (ASONAM), the International as well as the European Semantic Web Conference (ISWC & ESWC), the International Conference on Web Engineering (ICWE) and the International Conference on Web Science.

Research funding was awarded to me (as principle investigator or co-investigator) by the Economics and Social Research Council (UK, Co-I, 2015), the Web Science Institute (UK, 2xCo-I, 2015), and the Lloyd's Register Foundation (UK, PI, 2015).

I organised numerous scientific workshops at the WWW and ESWC conferences and acted as local chair for the ICWE conference in 2012 conference as well as the 4th Workshop on Complex Networks (http://complenet.org/) in 2013. To support the research community I regularly serve as a reviewer for journals and conferences including the ISWC, ESWC and Semantics conferences, as well as the Semantic Web Journal and Information Systems. I am on the editorial board of the transdisciplinary open access journal Human Computation. In 2014 I co-authored a technology foresight review titled "Big Data: Towards data-centric Engineering" for the Lloyd's Register Foundation and since 2016 I am on the board of reviewers for the International Consortium of Nanotechnologies (ICoN) assessing research proposals that fall into the Big Data and data management area.

I am a regular speaker at conferences and other scientific as well as industry events and most recently I gave invited lectures at the Univeristy of Oxford, the Free University of Berlin and as part of the QUEST seminar series of the National Centre for Research Methods of the UK (NCRM).

Key publications

At the heart of my most recent research are methods to capture hidden structures in information on the Web in order to understand the intelligence arising from the accumulated behaviour of not necessarily coordinated collectives [1,2,3,4].

[1] Luczak-Roesch, M., Tinati, R., O’Hara, K., & Shadbolt, N. (2015, February). Socio-technical computation. In Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference Companion on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing(pp. 139-142). ACM.
[2] Luczak-Roesch, M., Tinati, R., & Shadbolt, N. (2015, May). When resources collide: Towards a theory of coincidence in information spaces. InProceedings of the 24th International Conference on World Wide Web Companion (pp. 1137-1142). International World Wide Web Conferences Steering Committee.
[3] Luczak-Roesch, M., Tinati, R., Van Kleek, M., & Shadbolt, N. (2015, August). From coincidence to purposeful flow? properties of transcendental information cascades. In Proceedings of the 2015 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining 2015 (pp. 633-638). ACM.
[4] Luczak-Roesch, Markus, Tinati, Ramine, Aljaloud, Saud, Hall, Wendy and Shadbolt, Nigel (2016) A universal socio-technical computing machine. In, 16th International Conference on Web Engineering (ICWE2016), Lugano, CH, 06 – 09 Jun 2016.

Amongst the information systems I am studying are online communities, peer-production systems [5,6,7] and, most significantly, citizen science platforms [8,9,10,11].

[5] Tinati, R., Luczak-Roesch, M., Shadbolt, N., & Hall, W. (2015, May). Using WikiProjects to Measure the Health of Wikipedia. In Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on World Wide Web Companion (pp. 369-370). International World Wide Web Conferences Steering Committee.
[6] Tinati, Ramine, Luczak-Roesch, Markus, Hall, Wendy and Shadbolt, Nigel (2016) More than an edit: using transcendental information cascades to capture hidden structure in Wikipedia. At 25th International World Wide Web Conference, Montreal, Canada, 11 – 15 Apr 2016. ACM (doi:10.1145/2872518.2889401).
[7] Müller-Birn, C., Karran, B., Lehmann, J., & Luczak-Rösch, M. (2015, August). Peer-production system or collaborative ontology engineering effort: What is Wikidata?. In Proceedings of the 11th International Symposium on Open Collaboration (p. 20). ACM.
[8] Luczak-Roesch, M., Tinati, R., Simperl, E., Van Kleek, M., Shadbolt, N., & Simpson, R. J. (2014, March). Why Won’t Aliens Talk to Us? Content and Community Dynamics in Online Citizen Science. In AAAI ICWSM 2014.
[9] Tinati, R., Van Kleek, M., Simperl, E., Luczak-Rösch, M., Simpson, R., & Shadbolt, N. (2015, April). Designing for Citizen Data Analysis: A Cross-Sectional Case Study of a Multi-Domain Citizen Science Platform. InProceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 4069-4078). ACM.
[10] Tinati, Ramine, Luczak-Rösch, Markus, Simperl, E., Hall, Wendy and Shadbolt, Nigel (2015) `/Command’ and conquer: analysing discussion in a citizen science game. In, ACM Web Science 2015 , Oxford, GB, 28 Jun – 01 Jul 2015. 10pp.
[11] Tinati, Ramine, Luczak-Roesch, Markus, Simperl, Elena and Hall, Wendy (2016) “Because science is awesome”‘: studying participation in a citizen science game. In, ACM Web Science 2016, Hannover, DE, 21 – 25 May 2016.

I also developed a research profile on ontology and data life cycle management [12,13,14,15], semantic text annotation tools [16,17,18] as well as the future of tracking and analysing Web of data usage [19,20].

[12] Tempich, C., Simperl, E., Luczak, M., Studer, R., & Pinto, H. S. (2007). Argumentation-based ontology engineering. IEEE Intelligent Systems, (6), 52-59.
[13] Luczak-Rösch, M., & Heese, R. (2009). Managing ontology lifecycles in corporate settings. In Networked Knowledge-Networked Media (pp. 235-248). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
[14] Simperl, E., & Luczak-Rösch, M. (2014). Collaborative ontology engineering: a survey. The Knowledge Engineering Review, 29(01), 101-131.
[15] Luczak-Rösch, M., Simperl, E., Stadtmüller, S., & Käfer, T. (2014). The role of ontology engineering in linked data publishing and management: An empirical study. International Journal on Semantic Web and Information Systems (IJSWIS), 10(3), 74-91.
[16] Luczak-Rösch, M., & Heese, R. (2009, March). Linked Data Authoring for Non-Experts. In LDOW 2009.
[17] Hinze, A., Heese, R., Luczak-Rösch, M., & Paschke, A. (2012). Semantic enrichment by non-experts: usability of manual annotation tools. In The Semantic Web–ISWC 2012 (pp. 165-181). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
[18] Hinze, A., Heese, R., Schlegel, A., & Luczak-Rösch, M. (2012). User-defined semantic enrichment of full-text documents: Experiences and lessons learned. In Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries (pp. 209-214). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
[19] Berendt, B., Hollink, L., Hollink, V., Luczak-Rösch, M., Möller, K., & Vallet, D. (2011, May). Usage analysis and the web of data. In ACM SIGIR Forum (Vol. 45, No. 1, pp. 63-69). ACM.
[20] Luczak-Roesch, Markus, Hollink, Laura and Berendt, Bettina (2016) Current directions for usage analysis and the web of data: the diverse ecosystem of web of data access mechanisms. WWW2016 Companion Volume (doi:10.1145/2872518.2891068).

Research supervision

My approach to supervise postgraduate researchers (and of course undergraduates during their final year research projects) is to integrate them into ongoing discussions of the wider team in order to enable them to develop own ideas about how their individual work relates to the current research projects going on and how it can contribute to the future agenda. I strongly encourage an individual approach to developing an academic career pathway, since I am convinced that their is no one-fits-all set of recommendations and that it is counterproductive to search for it. The only requirements are competence and enthusiasm about the topic as well as the wider research agenda of the team.

Supervised undergraduate and postgraduate students