Samer Hassan face photo

I am an activist, researcher and teacher based in both the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, and GRASIA at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain, where I am Associate Professor. I have a messy background mixing Social Sciences, Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science.

My focus is on decentralized collaboration. Specifically, I am passionate about how to build free/open source privacy-aware decentralized systems (e.g. blockchain) that may facilitate the sustainability of collaborative communities and social movements (from the Commons paradigm).

As UCM Principal Investigator in the (awesome) European project P2Pvalue, I have led the technical team that built:

  • The backend-as-a-service for collaborative apps SwellRT, whose codebase was adopted by the Apache Foundation
  • The app for collaborative communities Teem, used by a diversity of social collectives
  • The real-time collaborative editor JetPad, which aims to provide a fully-fledged free/open source alternative to Google Docs, which is privacy-aware and decentralized/federated.

My previous research includes the following: I focused my PhD on the societal transition from modern to postmodern society in Spain, using agent-based social simulation. In the same line, I developed a series of data-driven simulations to understand the evolution of values, friendship, ideology, religiosity, demography. I have several methodological works on how to combine different Artificial Intelligence techniques (software agents with fuzzy logic, natural language processing, data mining or microsimulation), exploring the potentials of hybridization. More recently, I have published works on software systems that facilitate commons-based peer production, e.g. semantic-web labelling for commons-based initiatives, distribution of value in peer production communities, agent-supported online assemblies, decentralized real-time collaborative software, decentralized blockchain based reputation.

As an activist, I have been involved in a wide diversity of grassroots initiatives in Madrid (Spain) and in Beirut (Lebanon), together with several online communities, and I’m accredited as grassroots facilitator.

And as a teacher, I try to apply a participatory approach inspired by grassroots facilitation, especially in my favourite course, on cyber-ethics and law.

If you’d like to know more details about me, you can check my public bio, my cv, or my publications. You may see my random thoughts and concerns in my Twitter account or my blog. And you may contact me directly using: hi [at] samer [dot] hassan [dot] name