Thursday, December 1, 2011

Recent developments in OR solutions

Recently the following two new OR solutions have come to my attention. Good to see enrichments in the OR solution space.
  • OpenSolver: This is an add-in to Microsoft Excel for solving LP and MIP. It is not a new solver per se, rather it provides an interface similar to the familiar Microsoft Excel Solver (provided by Frontline Systems, the limited version is included with Microsoft Excel for free) for solving LPs and MIPs, using the COIN-OR's CLP (COIN LP) solver through CBC (COIN Branch and Cut). I came to know about this project from a presentation at INFORMS Annual Meeting 2010. At this year's INFORMS Annual Meeting (2011), they were judged winner of the COIN-OR Cup award. Here is the blurb:
Pietro Belotti, the Chair of the Award Committee, delivered the announcement, and this year's award went to Andrew Mason from the University of Auckland and Iain Dunning, currently at MIT Center for Operations Research, for OpenSolver, a linear and integer optimization solver for Microsoft Excel. OpenSolver harnesses the power of the COIN-OR CBC optimization engine and is compatible with Excel 2003, 2007, and 2010. Neither Andrew nor Iain could attend this year's meeting, so the award---a cup full of coins---was accepted by Ted Ralphs on their behalf. In his speech delivered on Andrew's behalf, Ted highlighted the rapid traction OpenSolver gained in the O.R. community, going from 0 downloads 18 months ago to roughly 30 downloads per day currently. He also mentioned the release of the beta version of OpenSolver Studio, which allows users to use Excel maneuver models built using the Python-based PuLP modeling language, which provides a more elegant solution for modeling complex optimization problems.
         I hope to check out the interface sometime.

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