17 Aug

SolverStudio 0.09.01 (20150813) released

We have just released a new version of SolverStudio:

SolverStudio_00_09_01_00 20150813b.zip (16523 downloads) 32 MB

This fixes issues with SolverStudio & GAMS on 64 bit systems through a significant update to the handling GDX files (thanks Eduardo), and includes fixes for display and import of  these files. We have also added a VBA example showing how to run a SolverStudio model using VBA calls, updated PuLP to v1.6.0, and fixed an AMPL data import bug. The Advanced Installers folder now contains batch files for enabling and disabling VSTO error reporting (which can be useful when debugging installation problems). All feedback welcome.

Note: The download file is named “SolverStudio_00_09_01_00 20150813b.zip”, with the “b” being a revised version in which an unused PuLP directory has been deleted, thereby making the download smaller (but having no other effect).

03 Aug

SolverStudio 0.08.02 (20150803) released

We have released SolverStudio_00_08_02_00 20150803:

SolverStudio_00_08_02_00 20150803.zip (1943 downloads) 33 MB

This includes bug fixes for CMPL/pyCMPL, and for Julia (including handling of data items containing booleans & strings, which failed in previous versions). Thanks to Mike Steglich for the CMPL fixes, and for Leonardo for reporting the Julia issues.

This is our first version compiled with Visual Studio 2013. This still targets .Net 4, but requires a newer version of the Windows installer (which most machines should have). Thanks to changes made by Microsoft, this should fix the problem when installing on machines with .Net 4 only (and no more recent version) with manifest reading errors.

10 Apr

The Joys of Running External Programs

As part of adding Julia, we’ve been looking at making an interactive console, i.e. capturing the output produced by a program, and letting us send commands to it. Making this work has a surprising number of traps.

Firstly, our current approach to running an external process was slightly flawed; the site CSharpTest.Net has sample code that shows how it should be done (which is not the way Microsoft do it in their sample!). Our code suffered from several of the common mistakes they list. The next release will do this better (which allows Julia 0.3.3 to work, for example, which it did not before).

As part of this exploring, we have also worked out how to run Julia and Python in a C# console so that we can send them commands interactively. This did not work “out of the box” in the way we’d expected. We now know why. When run from C#, these programs no longer think they are connected to a TTY (i.e. an interactive) terminal, and so they change their behaviour to act as if a file was passed to them (which means they just seem to hang, with no output being produced).

This is good description of why re-directing input (stdin) and output (stdout) fails for these programs. One solution is to use an intermediate program that really is a TTY terminal. Another trick is to force Python and Julia to run in interactive mode even though they are no longer connected to the “right sort” of input/output. The “-i” (interactive) flag makes them do this.

Hopefully this will all result, one day soon, in (1) faster running Julia code as a result of re-using a single Julia instance for each run, and (2) a truly interactive console in SolverStudio.

27 Feb

SolverStudio_00_06_13_00 20150227 released with CMPL support

We have now released a second experimental release (SolverStudio_00_06_13_00 20150227) with support for the COIN-OR CMPL language.  This version lets you use the CMPL Server to solve models on remote machines (all without leaving Excel). Many thanks to Mike Steglich for his hard work in adding SolverStudio support for CMPL. This also fixes problems with CPython in the SolverStudio_00_06_12_00 20150216 release, adds Python examples (to help you better understand how data items get mapped into Python variables), and improves error reporting in CMPL. And, error messages can now be double-clicked to go to the error line in your model.

21 Jan

SolverStudio+GAMS speedup: 2 hours to 2 minutes

This user feedback helps summarise why we created SolverStudio.

Dear Andrew,
Couple of months ago you had advised me to solve [my OpenSolver] model (which takes 1.5 hours to even create set up file) in SolverStudio.

I followed your advise and now I would like to share my real life experience about such a big model.
While OpenSolver was solving my large problem in 2-2.5 hours (including setup and solution), SolverStudio GAMS formulation reduced the solution time to 2 minutes. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who developed such a tool. Also, SolverStudio greatly quickened up NEOS solver use. It was kind of painful to NEOS solver on its own…

06 Nov

COIN-OR Pioneers win INFORMS Impact Prize

I’m very pleased to see that the pioneers who played such a pivotal role in creating COIN-OR and all the great software that makes OpenSolver & SolverStudio possible have been awarded the INFORMS 2014 Impact Prize. Well done to Brenda Dietrich, JP Fasano, John Forrest, Lou Hafer, Brady Hunsaker, Laszlo Ladanyi, Robin Lougee, Ted Ralphs, and Matthew Saltzman for all their hard work over the years. They will receive their award at the INFORMS conference Award Ceremony this Sunday.

29 Aug

SolverStudio 0.6.03 (20140829) released

SolverStudio 0.6.03 (20140829) has now been released, and is the recommended download. This fixes the issues reported by users in the experimental SolverStudio 0.6.0 (2014.04.07) and includes minor improvements including better searching for GAMS/AMPL/Gurobi installations, a new version of GLPK/GMPL, a fix that caused problems for non-English users, and a change that removes a Python error being reported. All feedback welcome. Andrew