Frontline’s Solver SDK Platform V12.0 Offers Optimization and Simulation as a Web Service

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Frontline Systems’ new Solver SDK Platform V12.0, the easiest way for developers to use optimization and simulation in custom applications, offers a new, standards-based Web Service API and a built-in ‘Solver Server’ that allows users to create optimization and simulation models almost anywhere – from web browsers and mobile phones to Frontline’s own desktop Solver products – and solve them ‘over the wire’ on a local server, or in the cloud.

Solver SDK Platform enables optimization and simulation on desktops, servers or in the cloud.

Solver SDK Platform

SDK users can build optimization and simulation capabilities into desktop apps, server-based apps, or lightweight browser, tablet or phone-based apps.

Frontline Systems’ new Solver SDK Platform V12.0, the easiest way for developers to use optimization and simulation in custom applications, offers a new, standards-based Web Service API and a built-in ‘Solver Server’ that allows users to create optimization and simulation models almost anywhere – from web browsers and mobile phones to Frontline’s own desktop Solver products – and solve them ‘over the wire’ on a local server, or in the cloud.

“Solver SDK Platform V12.0 opens up a wide range of new options for analytic application development,” said Daniel Fylstra, Frontline’s President and CEO. “SDK users can build optimization and simulation capabilities into desktop apps, server-based apps, or lightweight browser, tablet or phone-based apps. Our Solver Server handles the heavy-duty computation, for many users at the same time.”

Upward Compatible from Excel Solver

Frontline’s Solvers for Excel are upward compatible from the Solver included in Excel, which Frontline developed for Microsoft, and improved in Excel 2010 for Windows and Excel 2011 for Macintosh. Users can solve problems hundreds to thousands of times larger than the basic Excel Solver, at speeds anywhere from several times to hundreds of times faster, and they can solve completely new types of problems. Frontline’s SDK products are Software Development Kits that bring optimization and simulation power to applications written in a wide range of programming languages, from C/C++ to PHP and JavaScript.

Object-Oriented API in Multiple Languages

Solver SDK Platform offers both a conventional procedural API and a new, higher level, object-oriented API that simplifies and speeds application development – allowing the application developer to work with ‘objects’ such as a Problem, Solver, Model, Variable, and Function, writing higher level statements such as problem.VarDecision.NonNegative and problem.Solver.Optimize. Hence, users can work in terms meaningful for their models and applications.

Solving Excel Workbook Models without Excel

A Solver SDK Platform application can open an Excel workbook containing an optimization/simulation model, created using the standard Excel Solver or any of Frontline’s Solvers for Excel, solve it on a server without using Excel, and (new in V12.0) save the Excel workbook, updated to contain the final solution. Hence, the SDK can be used by non-programmers to “deploy” an Excel-based solution to many end users.

New XML/SOAP-Based Web Service API

The new Web Service API in V12.0 is based on XML and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) standards. The Solver Server included with the SDK exposes a standard WSDL (Web Service Description Language) file that many programming languages and systems can use to automatically build “client-side proxy” code to call the Web Service, as if it were a local optimization or simulation library. It’s straightforward to create a ‘zero-footprint’ application that defines a model on a web page, for use in a browser or mobile phone, and solves the model using the Web Service. But to make things even easier, Frontline has included ‘client-side wrappers’ for C/C++, C# and Java that make calls to the Web Service APIs identical to calls to the local SDK library, plus new (optional) client-side wrappers in PHP and JavaScript, to simplify life for Web developers working in these languages.

Solver Server Queues and Processes Multiple Requests

The Solver Server included with the SDK V12.0 accepts multiple, concurrent connections from Web Service clients, handles API calls to define a model ‘on the fly’ or upload a model in the form of an MPS or LP file or an Excel workbook, and queues these requests as ‘jobs’ for execution. Depending on the available licenses, it will create multiple ‘worker threads’ to process these jobs, running optimizations and simulations, and queuing the results for return to the callers. Web Service clients can stay connected and obtain progress information on the solution of their models, or disconnect after sending the problem and re-connect later to retrieve the results.

Frontline Solvers for Excel V12.0 as Web Service Clients

A client for the SDK’s Web Service API, able to ‘talk to’ Solver Server V12.0, is built-in to each of Frontline’s Solvers for Excel V12.0: Risk Solver Platform, Premium Solver Platform, Risk Solver Pro and Premium Solver Pro. This allows Frontline’s Excel users to take advantage of the Solver Server without doing any programming. Users can simply select ‘Run on a Solver Server’ from the dropdown menu below the Optimize and Simulate buttons on the Ribbon.
Admin Client to Easily Administer Solver Servers

An administrative client program for the Solver Server is also included with the SDK V12.0. Using this client, an administrator can easily check the status and progress of optimization and simulation requests queued for execution or completed, allocate ‘certificates’ to clients that enable them to make use of the Solver Server’s licenses, and perform other tasks.

In summary, Solver SDK Platform V12.0 includes everything a customer needs to start creating and solving optimization and simulation problems ‘over the wire’, as well as on local desktop PCs.

Five Bundled Solvers for Optimization, Plus a Monte Carlo Simulation Engine

Solver SDK Platform features five bundled Solver Engines for optimization and simulation, including a Simplex Solver for LP/QP/MIP (linear, quadratic and mixed integer) problems up to 8,000 variables, a Barrier Solver for QCP/SOCP (quadratically constrained and second order cone programming) problems up to 2,000 variables, a GRG Nonlinear Solver for NLP (smooth nonlinear) problems up to 500 variables, Frontline's leading Evolutionary Solver for arbitrary NSP (non-smooth) problems up to 500 variables, and a high-performance Monte Carlo simulation engine, with multiple random number generators, sampling from more than 35 analytic probability distributions, rank-order correlation of dissimilar distributions, and a wide range of automatically computed statistics for results.

Eight Plug-in, Large-Scale Solver Engines Offer World-Class Performance

Solver SDK Platform accepts the same plug-in, large-scale Solver Engines as Frontline’s Excel-based products, Risk Solver Platform and Premium Solver Platform, including the most recent versions of the world-class Gurobi Solver, Xpress-MP Solver, and KNITRO Solver. Combined with the Solver Engines included with the base Platform products, these products make it exceptionally easy for users to find the best optimizer for their specific problems.

Deep Support for Popular 32-bit and 64-bit Development Platforms

To help developers get up and running quickly, the SDK includes a comprehensive set of 35 examples that show developers how to define and solve every type of optimization and simulation problem – from linear programming to efficient portfolios and simulation optimization – in every supported language: C, C++, C#, Visual Basic, VB.NET, Java, MATLAB, and now in V12.0, PHP and JavaScript.

Parallelized Algorithms Solve Single Problems Faster on Multi-Core Processors

Solver SDK Platform has built-in parallel algorithms, exploiting multi-core processors in Monte Carlo simulation and simulation optimization, global optimization of nonlinear models, and global and local search in its Evolutionary Solver. The application developer does not have to write code for multiple threads of execution, synchronization and the like – the hard work of parallel programming. He or she simply writes code to evaluate the optimization or simulation model for one set of input values. Solver SDK Platform does the rest – automatically handling division of the work across multiple threads.

Pricing and Licensing Simplifies Deployment of Corporate and ISV Applications

Frontline offers single-user and concurrent-use development licenses for Solver SDK Platform, for either Windows or Linux. Runtime software license management and pricing is simple and straight-forward, with special programs for both corporate developers – who typically deploy applications ‘in-house’ to their own people, and for ISVs (independent software vendors) – who typically deploy applications externally to other firms.

About Frontline Systems, Inc.

Frontline Systems, Inc. (http://www.solver.com) is a leading developer of optimization and simulation software, and the leader in spreadsheet-based software for both conventional and stochastic optimization, helping managers best allocate scarce resources today and in the future. Frontline developed the solvers/optimizers in Microsoft Excel, Lotus 1-2-3 and Quattro Pro, distributed to more than 500 million spreadsheet users. In 2011, Frontline entered the data mining market with its acquisition of XLMiner, a popular Excel add-in. Founded in 1987, Frontline is based in Incline Village, Nevada (775-831-0300).

All product and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their registered owners.

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