Frontline Systems Releases Analytic Solver Platform V2016-R2 with Simulation/Risk Analysis, Optimization Enhancements

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Excel users gain extra power for advanced analytic models using data mining, text mining and predictive analytics, mathematical optimization, and simulation/risk analysis methods.

Correlation Using Copulas

We’re fulfilling our promise of ‘no-compromise analytic power’ for Excel users. Business analysts can build models with point-and-click ease of use, while taking advantage of the most advanced analytic methods.

Frontline Systems is shipping a new product line release, Version 2016-R2 of its Solvers for Excel, including its flagship integrated product, Analytic Solver Platform, and its "professional entry-level" integrated product, Analytic Solver Pro. The release includes wide-ranging enhancements in Monte Carlo simulation and optimization technology, plus the ability to convert Excel analytic models into free-standing web and mobile applications.

“We’re fulfilling our promise of ‘no-compromise analytic power’ for Excel users,” said Daniel Fylstra, Frontline’s President and CEO. “Business analysts can build models with point-and-click ease of use, while taking advantage of the most advanced analytic algorithms and methods.” In just four months since release of Analytic Solver Platform V2016, Frontline has added functionality comparable to a years’ worth of many competitors’ offerings.

New Optimization Power in Evolutionary Solver

The new release features significant enhancements to Frontline’s popular Evolutionary Solver, focusing on models with integer variables – often yielding dramatically better solutions in a given amount of time, compared to Frontline’s previous releases and competitive products. These enhancements build on the SQP-GS (Sequential Quadratic Programming with Gradient Sampling) for local search, and Feasibility Pump algorithms introduced in Frontline Solvers V2016.

New Support for ‘Sparse Cubes’ in Dimensional Modeling

The new release also includes performance enhancements for multi-dimensional optimization and simul¬ation models that use the Dimensional Modeling features of Analytic Solver Platform, first introduced in Frontline Solvers V2014, in the frequently-occurring case where multi-dimensional data is ‘sparse’. Memory use and time computing multi-dimensional formulas is dramatically reduced for these models.

New Correlation Methods in Monte Carlo Simulation

In Monte Carlo simulation, the V2016-R2 release supports correlation of uncertain variables with dissimilar distributions, using Gaussian, Student and Archimedean (Clayton, Frank and Gumbel) copulas – complementing existing support for rank-order correlation. Copulas for correlation are popular in quantitative finance models. All the methods are available via a simple point-and-click correlation dialog that allows the user to preview scatter plots showing how samples from uncertain variables will be generated and correlated.

New Support for Compound Probability Distributions

The new release also supports ‘compound distributions’ – often used in actuarial and insurance models – where samples are generated and aggregated from multiple instances of a probability distribution – called the ‘severity’ distribution. The number of instances can be a constant or a sample from another, discrete probability distribution, called the ‘frequency’ distribution. Nearly all of Analytic Solver’s 50+ analytic distributions can be used, and for many common distributions, the software uses analytic methods in lieu of repeated sampling for speed.

New Support for Tableau Web Data Connector

Also enhanced in the new release is support for export of analytic model results to Tableau, the popular data visualization software, complementing support first introduced in Frontline Solvers V2015. The new release maintains support for Tableau Data Extract (TDE) files, but it can also generate model results in HTML/CSS/JavaScript form that can be consumed directly by the Tableau Web Data Connector introduced in Tableau 9.1.

Excel Models Converted to Web and Mobile Apps

Frontline Solvers V2016-R2 builds on the powerful ‘Create App’ feature introduced in Frontline’s V2016 release that opens up the world of web and mobile apps to Excel users. Business analysts can build a worksheet with Excel formulas, point and click to define elements of an optimization or simulation/risk analysis model; then a single click to ‘Create App’, and a second click to choose where the model will run, is enough to create a basic ‘app’ that embeds in JavaScript, contains the user’s model, and solves problems via REST API calls to Frontline’s Azure-based RASON server.

The ‘Create App’ feature translates Excel models into Frontline’s new RASON modeling language, introduced in 2015, which contains the entire Excel formula language – with nearly 500 built-in Excel functions – plus higher-level multi-dimensional extensions. Because a RASON model is embedded in JSON – JavaScript Object Notation – it is valid in JavaScript code on Web pages. Users can easily edit and modify RASON models, and run them on desktops or laptops, or in the cloud.

Support for Excel 2016, Excel Online and Excel for iPad

Frontline Solvers V2016-R2 supports Excel 2016, Excel 2013, Excel 2010 and Excel 2007 for Windows. Its “Publish to the Web” feature makes it possible to run even large-scale optimization and simulation models in Excel Online and Excel for iPad, as well as Google Sheets.

Frontline Systems Inc. ( is the leader in analytics for spreadsheets and the web, helping managers gain insights and make better decisions for an uncertain future. Its products integrate forecasting and data mining for “predictive analytics,” Monte Carlo simulation and risk analysis, and conventional and stochastic optimization for “prescriptive analytics.” Founded in 1987, Frontline is based in Incline Village, Nevada (775-831-0300).

Excel® is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. Tableau® is a registered trademark of Tableau Software. Analytic Solver® and RASON® are registered trademarks of Frontline Systems, Inc.

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