Alain Kornhauser


Princeton University (1972-):
Professor, Operations Research & Financial Engineering
Director, Transportation Research Program
Faculty Chair, Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering


Alain Kornhauser is Professor of Operations Research & Financial Engineering at Princeton University. Born in France, he immigrated to western Pennsylvania with his parents at the age of 7. He studied Aerospace Engineering at Penn State where he obtained a BS and MS. His research, focused on cavitation, earned him and his advisor, JW Holl, one of the highest ASME prizes, the Melville medal. He then transferred to Princeton’s Aerospace and Mechanical Sciences Department, earning a PhD. in the Fall of 1970. He then joined the faculty of the Aerospace Engineering Department at the U of Minnesota as an assistant professor in January 1970. During his tenure he worked closely with Professors Wm. Garrard and Edward Anderson applying automation, network analysis and optimal control to transit vehicles. Together they made the UofM the leading research center for this then new form of urban transit.

Prof. Kornhauser returned to Princeton in the Fall of 1972 and continued his pivotal work in the network design and operational analysis of PRT. While at Princeton, he extended the large scale PRT network analysis capabilities to more conventional forms of transportation, rail and highway, creating the Princeton Transportation Network Model which pioneered the application of Geographic Information Systems in the quantitative analysis of large-scale transportation systems. Included in PTNM/GIS was the creation of the first digital map database of the North American Railway and Highway systems. PTNM/GIS proved pivotal in the restructuring of the bankrupt Northeast freight railroad system.

In 1979 he founded ALK Technologies, Inc. that enhanced and utilized PTNM/GIS to assist the private North American Railroad System to rationalize its network structure and implement substantial operational efficiencies, including the creation of the first computer-graphic Operation Control Center at Canadian National and the first Optimal Locomotive Management System at Burlington Northern. ALK has evolved to create the standard digital map database for the North American roadway and railway systems that is used today by essentially every railroad and trucking company in North America. He has also been a pioneer in the development and market acceptance of turn-by-turn navigation systems. ALK’s CoPilot system was the first nationwide GPS system on the market in August, 1997 and its current smartPhone and Tablet versions have gained substantial consumer acceptance around the world. After 33.5 years, he sold ALK to Trimble Navigation in December 2012.

At Princeton, Prof. Kornhauser is in his 44th year on the Princeton faculty in the Fall 0f 2015 as Professor of Operations Research & Financial Engineering. He serves as Director of the Transportation Program where he continues his basic research in Transportation focused on optimal system design and real-time operation. He was the Faculty Leader of Princeton’s entries the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge and 2007 Urban Challenge and continues his interest in the complete automation of the automobile with particular interest in the autonomousTaxi concept and its potential to transform mass transit and deliver ubiquitous mobility to everyone. He is Faculty Chair of Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering (PAVE) an extracurricular undergraduate Smart Driving Car research effort at Princeton, Editor of the Smart Driving Cars Newsletter ( and Board Chair of the Advanced Transit Association (ATRA). He is currently in the process of creating a major Center for Research, Certification and Commercialization of Automated Vehicles @ Fort Monmouth. In addition to his teaching and research duties he serves as the ORFE’s Department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies. Professor Kornhauser completed his 14th NYC Marathon in November 2012 by running his own 26.2 miles during NYC Marathon Sunday in lieu of the cancelled event.

Current Research Interest: Various aspects of “SmartDrivingCars”.