Frontline Systems Wins 2010 INFORMS Impact Prize for Excel Solver

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The 2010 INFORMS Impact Prize, from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences -- the leading professional society in the field -- has been awarded to a five-person Frontline Systems team for development and enhancement of the Solver in Microsoft Excel over two decades.

Award Winners pictured with INFORMS President and Prize Committee Members

Over the last twenty years no single tool (or family of tools) has done more to bring operations research into the hands of students, researchers, and practitioners than Solver.

The 2010 INFORMS Impact Prize, from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences -- the leading professional society in the field -- has been awarded to a five-person Frontline Systems team for development and enhancement of the Solver in Microsoft Excel over two decades.

According to the award citation, “Arguably, over the last twenty years no single tool (or family of tools) has done more to bring operations research into the hands of students, researchers, and practitioners than Solver. Mr. Fylstra, Professor Lasdon, Mr. Straver, Professor Waren and Dr. Watson share the credit for the overwhelming success and impact of Solver.” The team of five was named by Daniel Fylstra, Frontline Systems’ founder, in response to the request of the INFORMS Prize Committee.

 The 2010 award separately cites Professor Fred Glover for his pioneering work in metaheuristics. The cash prize was split between the two awardees.

INFORMS Impact Prize Recognizes Contributions with Broad Impact

As explained by INFORMS at http://www.informs.org/Recognize-Excellence/INFORMS-Prizes-Awards/INFORMS-Impact-Prize, “The INFORMS Impact Prize, awarded once every two years, is intended to recognize contributions that have had a broad impact on the field… The award complements the Edelman Prize. Instead of focusing on a single large application with quantifiable impact, we are looking for ideas that are widely used.”

Installed Base of Half a Billion Users

The INFORMS award cites the facts that “Since 1990 Solver has been included in every copy of Microsoft Excel, and currently enjoys an installed base of approximately half a billion users. In addition, advanced Solver tools have been licensed to over 5,000 companies in fields such as aerospace, automotive, banking, chemical, consumer goods, defense, financial services, health care and pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, mining, utilities, and many types of manufacturing.”

Impact on Research and Education

INFORMS recognized that “These successes have also made their way into the academic literature and education: A special issue of Interfaces was devoted to Spreadsheet OR Applications in 2008, and a 1998 Interfaces article about Solver, “Design and Use of the Microsoft Excel Solver” by Mr. Fylstra, Professor Lasdon, Dr. Watson, and Professor Waren has garnered over 200 citations. Moreover, Premium Solver for Education has been licensed for inclusion in over 35 textbooks and has become a core tool in MBA education.”

Solver Enhanced in Excel 2010 for Windows and Excel 2011 for Mac

According to the award citation, “Solver was developed by Frontline Systems, the company founded by Mr. Fylstra, using the GRG2 algorithms and code developed by Professors Lasdon and Waren. This code enabled Solver to accurately solve both linear and nonlinear models. These capabilities were later augmented by a Simplex method and Branch and Bound Algorithm for linear and mixed integer programs, implemented by Dr. Watson. … The most recent versions of Solver for Excel for Windows and Macintosh have added a hybrid Evolutionary algorithm, written by Mr. Fylstra and enhanced by Mr. Straver, which uses genetic algorithms, the GRG method, and the Simplex method in combination on arbitrary Excel models.” The latest version of Solver for Excel 2010 for Windows is bundled with Office 2010, while the latest version for Excel 2011 for Mac is downloadable at http://www.solver.com/mac.

About Frontline Systems

Frontline Systems, Inc. (http://www.solver.com) is a leading developer of optimization and simulation software, and the leader in spreadsheet optimization software that helps analysts and managers optimally allocate scarce resources -- money, equipment, and people -- to realize substantial cost savings. Frontline developed the solvers/optimizers in Microsoft Excel, Lotus 1-2-3 and Quattro Pro, distributed to more than 500 million spreadsheet users. Founded in 1987, Frontline is based in Incline Village, Nevada (775-831-0300).

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Christopher Riche
Frontline Systems Inc.
(775) 831-0300 ext. 116
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