1.15 What is Computational Social science (CSS)?

  • …not easy to pin down!
  • “Computational social science refers to the academic sub-disciplines concerned with computational approaches to the social sciences. This means that computers are used to model, simulate, and analyze social phenomena. Fields include computational economics, computational sociology, cliodynamics, culturomics, and the automated analysis of contents, in social and traditional media. It focuses on investigating social and behavioral relationships and interactions through social simulation, modeling, network analysis, and media analysis.” (Wikipedia)
  • “Computational social science is a fledging inter-disciplinary field at the intersection of the social sciences, computational science, and complexity science” (Cioffi-Revilla 2017, 259)3
  • See also Lazer et al. (2009) and Alvarez (2016)


Alvarez, Michael R. 2016. Computational Social Science. Cambridge University Press.

Cioffi-Revilla, Claudio. 2017. “Computation and Social Science.” In Introduction to Computational Social Science: Principles and Applications, edited by Claudio Cioffi-Revilla, 35–102. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Lazer, David, Alex Pentland, Lada Adamic, Sinan Aral, Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, Devon Brewer, Nicholas Christakis, et al. 2009. “Social Science. Computational Social Science.” Science 323 (5915): 721–23.

  1. “Ultimately Johnson adopts the definition of”complexity science" as “the study of the phenomena which emerge from a collection of interacting objects” Wikipedia