Michel Bierlaire

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Michel Bierlaire
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Namur, Belgium
Academic background
Alma materUniversité de Namur
ThesisMathematical models for transportation demand analysis (1996)
Doctoral advisorPhilippe Toint
Academic work
Sub-disciplineTransport optimization
InstitutionsÉcole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Main interests
  • Discrete choice
  • Operations research
  • Simulation
  • Intelligent transportation system
  • Travel behavior

Michel Bierlaire (born 1967 in Namur, Belgium) is a Belgium applied mathematician specialized in transportation modeling and optimization. He is a professor at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and the head of the Transport and Mobility Laboratory.[1][2]


Bierlaire received a PhD in mathematics from Université de Namur in 1996 for his thesis on "Mathematical models for transportation demand analysis" that was supervised by Philippe Toint.[3][4][5] He then joined as a research associate the Intelligent Transportation Systems Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he worked on the design and development of DynaMIT, a real-time software simulation tool designed to "effectively support the operation of Advanced Traveler Information Systems (ATIS) and Advanced Traffic Management System."[6][7][8]

In 1998, he joined École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Maître d'enseignement et de recherche) at the Operations Research Group at the Institute of Mathematics. In 2006, he was made associate professor at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering and became the founding director of the Transport and Mobility Laboratory. Since 2012, he has been a full professor at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.[1][2]

At the EPFL, he created in 2010 the Doctoral Program in Civil and Environmental Engineering,[9] that he chaired until 2017.[10] In 2012, Bierlaire founded hEART, the European Association for Research in Transportation that he chaired from 2012 to 2015.[11][12]


Bierlaire's research targets at developing mathematical models replicating the complexity of mobility behavior of individuals and goods for all modes of transportation.[13] He aims to develop solutions to transportation problems that also include the implications of mobility on land use,economics,[14] and the environment[15][16], among others.

His work focuses on modeling travel behaviors by employing choice and activity-based models; on developing operations research models based on vehicle routing, scheduling, and timetabling;[17][18][19] and on the fusion of those models. His further interests encompass intelligent transportation systems[20] and the reproduction of pedestrian flow patterns.[21]

He creates and tests mathematical models and algorithms for applications in operations research that include continuous and discrete optimization,[22] queuing theory, graphs, and simulation.[23] Apart from implementations in transportation demand analysis, his work also finds active use in other domains such as marketing and image analysis.

His multidisciplinary research draws next to mathematics also on computer vision, image analysis, hospital management and marketing.[24][25][26]


Bierlaire is the lead developer of Biogeme, an open source project that performs the maximum likelihood estimation of parametric discrete choice models. It is working within the framework of Pandas, a Python data analysis library.[27]


Bierlaire has developed several online courses, one discrete choice models,[28] and three on optimization.[29][30][31] Together with Moshe Ben-Akiva at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Daniel McFadden and Joan Walker, both at at University of California, Berkeley, he is offering a course on "Discrete Choice Analysis: Predicting Individual Behavior and Market Demand" that is designed for professionals from academia and industry.[32]


On invitation from the Association of European Operational Research Societies, Bierlaire initiated the EURO Journal on Transportation and Logistics, whose editor in chief he was between 2011 and 2019.[33] Since 2012, he has been an associate editor of the journal Operations Research (journal.[34]. He was an associate editor of the Journal of Choice Modelling since its conception in 2007 until 2017.[35]

Selected works

  • Bierlaire, Michel (2015). Optimization: principles and algorithms. Lausanne, Switzerland: EPFL Press. ISBN 978-1482203455.
  • Fosgerau, Mogens; McFadden, Daniel; Bierlaire, Michel (2013). "Choice probability generating functions" (PDF). Journal of Choice Modelling. 8: 1–18. doi:10.1016/j.jocm.2013.05.002.
  • Bierlaire, Michel; Chen, Jingmin; Newman, Jeffrey (2013). "A probabilistic map matching method for smartphone GPS data". Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies. 26: 78–98. doi:10.1016/j.trc.2012.08.001.
  • Farooq, Bilal; Bierlaire, Michel; Hurtubia, Ricardo; Flötteröd, Gunnar (2013). "Simulation based population synthesis". Transportation Research Part B: Methodological. 58: 243–263. doi:10.1016/j.trb.2013.09.012.
  • Osorio, Carolina; Bierlaire, Michel (2013). "A Simulation-Based Optimization Framework for Urban Transportation Problems". Operations Research. 61 (6): 1333–1345. doi:10.1287/opre.2013.1226. hdl:1721.1/89831.
  • Glerum, Aurélie; Stankovikj, Lidija; Thémans, Michaël; Bierlaire, Michel (2014). "Forecasting the Demand for Electric Vehicles: Accounting for Attitudes and Perceptions". Transportation Science. 48 (4): 483–499. doi:10.1287/trsc.2013.0487.
  • Umang, Nitish; Bierlaire, Michel; Vacca, Ilaria (2013). "Exact and heuristic methods to solve the berth allocation problem in bulk ports". Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review. 54: 14–31. doi:10.1016/j.tre.2013.03.003.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "10 new professors at the two Federal Institutes of Technology ETH-Board". www.ethrat.ch. Retrieved 2021-01-22.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Transport and Mobility Laboratory". www.epfl.ch. Retrieved 2021-01-20.
  3. Bierlaire, M.; Toint, Ph. L.; Tuyttens, D. (1991-01-01). "On iterative algorithms for linear least squares problems with bound constraints". Linear Algebra and Its Applications. 143: 111–143. doi:10.1016/0024-3795(91)90009-L. ISSN 0024-3795.
  4. Bierlaire, M; Toint, Ph. L (1995-02-01). "Meuse: An origin-destination matrix estimator that exploits structure". Transportation Research Part B: Methodological. 29 (1): 47–60. doi:10.1016/0191-2615(94)00025-U. ISSN 0191-2615.
  5. Bierlaire, Michel; Lotan, Tsippy; Toint, Philippe (1997-11-01). "On The Overspecification of Multinomial and Nested Logit Models Due to Alternative Specific Constants". Transportation Science. 31 (4): 363–371. doi:10.1287/trsc.31.4.363. ISSN 0041-1655.
  6. "DynaMIT". MIT.
  7. Ben-Akiva, Moshe; Bierlaire, Michel; Koutsopoulos, Haris; Mishalani, Rabi (1998). "DynaMIT: a simulation-based system for traffic prediction". Infoscience.
  8. Ben-Akiva, Moshe; Bierlaire, Michel; Koutsopoulos, Haris N.; Mishalani, Rabi (2002), Gendreau, Michel; Marcotte, Patrice (eds.), "Real Time Simulation of Traffic Demand-Supply Interactions within DynaMIT", Transportation and Network Analysis: Current Trends, Boston, MA: Springer US, 63, pp. 19–36, doi:10.1007/978-1-4757-6871-8_2, ISBN 978-1-4419-5212-7, retrieved 2021-01-22
  9. "EDCE Civil and Environmental Engineering". www.epfl.ch. Retrieved 2021-01-25.
  10. "Academic webpage of Michel Bierlaire". transp-or.epfl.ch. Retrieved 2021-01-23.
  11. "hEART: European Association for Research in Transportation". heart-web.org. Retrieved 2021-01-22.
  12. "hEART: European Association for Research in Transportation". www.heart-web.org. Retrieved 2021-01-25.
  13. Nikolić, Marija; Bierlaire, Michel; de Lapparent, Matthieu; Scarinci, Riccardo (2019-04-26). "Multiclass Speed-Density Relationship for Pedestrian Traffic". Transportation Science. 53 (3): 642–664. doi:10.1287/trsc.2018.0849. ISSN 0041-1655.
  14. Maknoon, M. Y.; Soumis, F.; Baptiste, P. (2016-09-01). "Optimizing transshipment workloads in less-than-truckload cross-docks". International Journal of Production Economics. 179: 90–100. doi:10.1016/j.ijpe.2016.05.015. ISSN 0925-5273.
  15. Scarinci, Riccardo; Rast, Frédéric; Bierlaire, Michel (2017-07-01). "Needed reduction in mobility energy consumption to meet the goal of a 2000-watt society". Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice. 101: 133–148. doi:10.1016/j.tra.2017.05.010. ISSN 0965-8564.
  16. Bierlaire, Michel (June 2015). "Simulation and optimization: A short review". Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies. 55: 4–13. doi:10.1016/j.trc.2015.01.004.
  17. Markov, Iliya; Bierlaire, Michel; Cordeau, Jean-François; Maknoon, Yousef; Varone, Sacha (2020-01-01). "Waste collection inventory routing with non-stationary stochastic demands". Computers & Operations Research. 113: 104798. doi:10.1016/j.cor.2019.104798. ISSN 0305-0548.
  18. Binder, Stefan; Maknoon, Yousef; Bierlaire, Michel (2017-05-01). "The multi-objective railway timetable rescheduling problem". Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies. 78: 78–94. doi:10.1016/j.trc.2017.02.001. ISSN 0968-090X.
  19. Robenek, Tomáš; Azadeh, Shadi Sharif; Maknoon, Yousef; de Lapparent, Matthieu; Bierlaire, Michel (May 2018). "Train timetable design under elastic passenger demand". Transportation Research Part B: Methodological. 111: 19–38. doi:10.1016/j.trb.2018.03.002.
  20. Scarinci, Riccardo; Hegyi, Andreas; Heydecker, Benjamin (2017-09-01). "Definition of a merging assistant strategy using intelligent vehicles". Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies. 82: 161–179. doi:10.1016/j.trc.2017.06.017. ISSN 0968-090X.
  21. Molyneaux, Nicholas; Scarinci, Riccardo; Bierlaire, Michel (2020-05-16). "Design and analysis of control strategies for pedestrian flows". Transportation. doi:10.1007/s11116-020-10111-1. ISSN 1572-9435.
  22. Moret, Stefano; Babonneau, Frédéric; Bierlaire, Michel; Maréchal, François (January 2020). "Decision support for strategic energy planning: A robust optimization framework". European Journal of Operational Research. 280 (2): 539–554. doi:10.1016/j.ejor.2019.06.015.
  23. Flötteröd, Gunnar; Bierlaire, Michel; Nagel, Kai (2011-06-16). "Bayesian Demand Calibration for Dynamic Traffic Simulations". Transportation Science. 45 (4): 541–561. doi:10.1287/trsc.1100.0367. ISSN 0041-1655.
  24. Alahi, A.; Bierlaire, M.; Vandergheynst, P. (2014-02-01). "Robust real-time pedestrians detection in urban environments with low-resolution cameras". Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies. 39: 113–128. doi:10.1016/j.trc.2013.11.019. ISSN 0968-090X.
  25. "Research". www.epfl.ch. Retrieved 2021-01-22.
  26. Binder, Stefan; Macfarlane, Gregory S.; Garrow, Laurie A.; Bierlaire, Michel (January 2014). "Associations among household characteristics, vehicle characteristics and emissions failures: An application of targeted marketing data". Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice. 59: 122–133. doi:10.1016/j.tra.2013.11.005.
  27. "Biogeme". biogeme.epfl.ch. Retrieved 2021-01-22.
  28. "Introduction to Discrete Choice Models". edX. Retrieved 2021-01-23.
  29. "Optimization: principles and algorithms - Linear optimization". edX. Retrieved 2021-01-23.
  30. "Optimization: principles and algorithms - Unconstrained nonlinear optimization". edX. Retrieved 2021-01-23.
  31. "Optimization: principles and algorithms - Network and discrete optimization". edX. Retrieved 2021-01-23.
  32. "Discrete Choice Analysis: Predicting Individual Behavior and Market Demand". transp-or.epfl.ch. Retrieved 2021-01-23.
  33. EURO Journal on Transportation and Logistics.
  34. "Operations Research | PubsOnLine". pubsonline.informs.org. Retrieved 2021-01-22.
  35. Journal of Choice Modelling.

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