Dr. Rebekka Burkholz


+41 44 632 98 60

ETH Zurich
Dr. Rebekka Burkholz
Chair of Systems Design
WEV G 205
Weinbergstrasse 56/58
8092 Zurich

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Machine Learning at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. My research combines robust algorithm design, e.g. for cascade processes on complex networks and systemic risk, with the quest of a theoretical understanding of deep neural networks. From an applied side, I am particularly interested in problems where only limited amounts of data hint to their solution: as in international food trade and cardiology. I love to develop methodology tailored to such specific problems as well.


Publications in

International crop trade networks: The impact of shocks and cascades

Burkholz, Rebekka; Schweitzer, Frank

Environmental Research Letters, pages: 114013, volume: 14


Efficient message passing for cascade size distributions

Burkholz, Rebekka

Scientific Reports, volume: 9, number: 6561


Explicit size distributions of failure cascades redefine systemic risk on finite networks

Burkholz, Rebekka; Herrmann, H. J.; Schweitzer, Frank

Scientific Reports, pages: 1--8


Correlations between thresholds and degrees: An analytic approach to model attacks and failure cascades

Burkholz, Rebekka; Schweitzer, Frank

Phys. Rev. E, volume: 98, number: 2


A framework for cascade size calculations on random networks

Burkholz, Rebekka; Schweitzer, Frank

Physical Review E, volume: 97, number: 4


Modeling the formation of R&D alliances: An agent-based model with empirical validation

Tomasello, Mario Vincenzo; Burkholz, Rebekka; Schweitzer, Frank

Economics, number: 2017-107


How damage diversification can reduce systemic risk

Burkholz, Rebekka; Garas, Antonios; Schweitzer, Frank

Physical Review E, pages: 042313, volume: 93


Systemic risk in multiplex networks with asymmetric coupling and threshold feedback

Burkholz, Rebekka; Leduc, Matt; Garas, Antonios; Schweitzer, Frank

Physica D, pages: 64--72, volume: 323-324




A framework for cascade size calculations on random networks [Nov. 30, 2016 - Dec. 2, 2016]

Complex Networks 2016: The 5th International Workshop on Complex Networks and their Applications, Milan

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Systemic Risk: From Generic Models to Cascades in Food Trade [Oct. 3, 2016 - Oct. 3, 2016]

Computational Social Science seminar series, ETH Zurich


Cascade processes in food trade networks [June 22, 2016 - June 24, 2016]

WEHIA 2016


Cascades in Maize Trade Networks [June 21, 2015 - June 26, 2015]

Tackling World Food System Challenges: Across Disciplines, Sectors, and Scales, Ascona (Switzerland)

Awards: Poster presentation awarded with CSF Best Contribution Award by Young Scientist

Cascades on Multiplexes with Threshold Feedback [June 10, 2015]

International Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics (IFKAD 2015), Bari, Italy

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Cascades in Maize Trade Networks [June 3, 2015 - June 3, 2015]

NetSci 2015, Zaragoza (Spain)

Cascades on Multiplexes with Threshold Feedback [June 2, 2015]

Satellite Workshop "NetONets2015", NetSci 2015, Zaragoza, Spain


How damage diversification can reduce systemic risk [June 1, 2015]

Satellite Workshop "Information, Self-Organizing Dynamics, and Synchronization on Complex Networks II", NetSci 2015, Zaragoza, Spain


Systemic risk as emergent phenomenon [Jan. 16, 2015]

ETH Risk Center Dialogue Event, ETH Zurich, Switzerland


The Impact of Regulating Capital Buffers on Systemic Risk [Dec. 15, 2014 - Dec. 19, 2014]

Regulating Systemic Risk: insights from mathematical modeling, Newton Institute, Cambridge (UK)

Modeling Systemic Risk and Risk Diversification [Sept. 22, 2014 - Sept. 26, 2014]

Monitoring Systemic Risk: Data, Models and Metrics, Newton Institute, Cambridge (UK)


  • I am delighted to give two talks at NetSci 2017 in Indianapolis! The first one is a lightning talk (June 19th) about work with Frank Schweitzer on systemic risk in international food trade. In the second one (2:20 pm June 23rd), I will show how to tackle analytically many cascade models that are nortoriously hard to solve - including certain fiber bundle models.
  • I look very forward to the SIAM workshop on NETWORK SCIENCE, which takes place in Pittsburgh from 13-14th July and where I will present a framework for cascade size calculations on random networks.
  • In between those two events, I am excited to visit Asuman Ozdaglar and her group at MIT!

Short CV

Since June 2017, I work with Joachim Buhmann as PostDoc at the Institute of Machine Learning at ETH Zurich. From June 2016 - May 2017, I was a PostDoc at the Chair of Systems Design headed by my doctoral father Frank Schweitzer at ETH Zurich. My PhD research about systemic risk (February 2013 - May 2016) was part of the ETH48 project at the ETH Risk Center and co-supervised by Hans J. Herrmann. My thesis has been nominated for the Zurich Insurance Prize (decision expected in 2017) and my work on systemic risk in international maize trade won the CSF Best Contribution Award. Before moving to Zurich, I interned at d-fine and Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt am Main (Germnay) to experience the financial industry. I enjoyed studying Physics (B.Sc.) and Mathematics (B.Sc.,M.Sc) at TU Darmstadt (Germany) from October 2006 to March 2011 and at Lund University from September 2008 - June 2009. I loved to explore the realms of stochastic as well as deterministic partial differential equations, fluid dynamics, numerical analysis, and optimization. I am very grateful to Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst for the academic and ideational scholarship and to Femtec for the soft skill trainings as well as the great network.