Project Description

Carolina Osorio

Associate Professor

Research Interests: operations research applied to urban transportation


Room 1-232
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA, 02139

Telephone: 617.452.3063
Assistant: Roberta Pizzinato /
Research Website:


  • Diplôme d’Ingénieur 2005, ENSIMAG, France
  • M.Sc. in Statistics 2005, University College London, UK
  • Ph.D. Mathematics 2010, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland

Research Interests

Professor Osorio develops operations research techniques to inform the design and operations of transportation systems. Her research then uses these techniques to mitigate the economic, human health, energy and environmental impacts of urban congestion, to improve the reliability and robustness of transportation systems, as well as to enhance the experience of travelers. The techniques combine ideas from the fields of probability theory, simulation, simulation-based optimization, derivative-free optimization, nonlinear optimization, statistics, traffic control and traffic flow theory. She has applied these techniques to address, for instance, large-scale simulation-based urban transportation problems and energy-efficient traffic management problems.

Awards and Honors

  • Outstanding Paper in Urban Transportation Planning and Modeling, Transportation Science and Logistics Society of INFORMS, 2016
  • IBM Faculty Award, 2016
  • National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) EU-US Frontiers of Engineering (EU-US FOE) Symposium, Invited Speaker on “The Road to Future Urban Mobility”, 2016
  • National Science Foundation Award, 2016-2019
  • GOOD 100 innovator award in the category “Minds That Are Hacking Our Surroundings for the Better”. This GOOD Magazine award recognizes innovators for “tackling pressing global issues” and “improving our world in creative ways”, 2016
  • MIT Technology Review EmTech Colombia TR35 Award, 2015
  • MIT CEE Maseeh Excellence in Teaching Award, 2014
  • National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award (NSF CAREER), 2014
  • NEC Corporation Fund Award for Research in Computers and Communications MIT, 2014-2015
  • 100 Colombians Award, Fusionarte Association, 2013
  • National Science Foundation Award, 2013-2016
  • European Association of Operational Research Societies (EURO) Doctoral Dissertation Award, 2012
  • Jeptha H. and Emily V. Wade Fund Award MIT, 2011-2012
  • Graduate Student Best Paper Award, Transportation Research Forum, 2011
  • French region of Rhônes-Alpes Fellowship, 2004-2005
  • Highest Distinction Fellowship for engineering school studies, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2002-2005
  • Excellence Fellowship for undergraduate studies, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2000-2002

Selected Publications

  1. Osorio C., Chen., X and Santos, B. (forthcoming). Simulation-based travel time reliable signal control, Transportation Science
  2. Lu, J. and Osorio C. (forthcoming). A probabilistic traffic-theoretic network loading model suitable for large-scale network analysis, Transportation Science
  3. Chong, L., and Osorio, C. (forthcoming) A simulation-based optimization algorithm for dynamic large-scale urban transportation problems. Transportation Science.
  4. Flötteröd, G. and Osorio C. (2017). Stochastic network link transmission model, Transportation Research Part B 102:180-209
  5. Zhang, C., Osorio C., and Flötteröd, G. (2017). Efficient calibration techniques for large-scale traffic simulators, Transportation Research Part B 97:214-239.
  6. Osorio, C., and Wang, C. (2017). On the analytical approximation of joint aggregate queue-length distributions for traffic networks: a stationary finite capacity Markovian network approach, Transportation Research Part B 95:305-339.
  7. Osorio, C., and Selvam, K. (2017) Simulation-based optimization: achieving computational efficiency through the use of multiple simulators.Transportation Science 51(2):395-411.
  8. Osorio, C. and Yamani, J. (2017) Analytical and scalable analysis of transient tandem Markovian finite capacity queueing networks. Transportation Science 51(3):823-840.
  9. Osorio, C. and Nanduri, K. (2015). Urban transportation emissions mitigation: coupling high-resolution vehicular emissions and traffic models for traffic signal optimizationTransportation Research Part B 81:520-538.
  10. Osorio, C. and Nanduri, K. (2015). Energy-efficient urban traffic management: a microscopic simulation-based approachTransportation Science 49(3):637-651.
  11. Osorio, C. and Chong, L. (2015). A computationally efficient simulation-based optimization algorithm for large-scale urban transportation problems. Transportation Science 49(3):623-636.
  12. Osorio, C. and Flötteröd, G. (2015). Capturing dependency among link boundaries in a stochastic dynamic network loading model.Transportation Science 49(2):420-431.
  13. Osorio, C., and Bierlaire, M. (2013). A simulation-based optimization framework for urban transportation problems. Operations Research 61(6):1333-1345.
  14. Osorio, C., Flötteröd, G., and Bierlaire, M. (2011). Dynamic network loading: a differentiable model that derives link state distributions. Transportation Research Part B 45(9):1410-1423.
  15. Osorio, C. (2010). Mitigating network congestion: analytical models, optimization methods and their applications. PhD thesis, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.
  16. Osorio, C., and Bierlaire, M. (2009). An analytic finite capacity queueing network model capturing the propagation of congestion and blocking. European Journal of Operational Research 196(3):996-1007.