COIN-OR - Computational Infrastructure for Computational OR

SolverStudio uses the COIN-OR PuLP modelling language

SolverStudio is an add-in for Excel 2007 and later on Windows that allows you to build and solve optimisation models in Excel using any of the following optimisation modelling languages:

  1. PuLP, an open-source Python-based COIN-OR modelling language developed by Stu Mitchell. PuLP is included with SolverStudio.
  2. COOPR/Pyomo, an open source COIN-OR modelling language for Python which extends Pulp with abstract models, support for stochastic programming, and a larger range of solvers.
  3. AMPL, a commercial modelling language. SolverStudio either requires AMPL to be installed by the user, or can automatically install a free “demo” version of AMPL.  (The
    Demo comes with 11 solvers; AMPL’s variable/constraint limits are 500 for linear and 300 for nonlinear, though 4 of the solvers are limited to 10.) We have a tutorial on using AMPL with SolverStudio. We also support running AMPL models in the cloud using the excellent NEOS server; see AMPL on NEOS. See our SolverStudio AMPL page for more information.
  4. GMPL (GNU MathProg Language), an open source AMPL look-alike developed as part of GLPK (GNU Linear Programming Kit). GMPL is included with SolverStudio.
  5. GAMS, a commercial modelling language. SolverStudio requires GAMS to be installed by the user. GAMS provide a free trial version. Support for solving GAMS models using the NEOS server is working in our new beta version.
  6. Gurobi, a commercial solver which can be accessed from SolverStudio using the Gurobi Python modelling interface. This requires the Gurobi solver be installed. SolverStudio provides a license manager to help manage Gurobi licenses.
  7. CMPL, an open source COIN-OR  modelling language that also includes a remote server for solving on external computers. Also available from Python.
  8. SimPy, an open source Python simulation language, which is now included with the SolverStudio download.
  9. Any other Python software that runs under either IronPython or standard Python (i.e ‘CPython‘). IronPython comes built in, while the user needs to install their own choice of CPython.
  10. We hope to add Zimpl in the near future, and allow GMPL to be used with CBC.

SolverStudio allows you to create and edit your optimisation model without leaving Excel, and to save your model inside your workbook. You can also easily link data on your spreadsheet to sets, parameters, constants and variables used in the model. SolverStudio can run the model to solve the problem and then put the answer back onto the spreadsheet.

Referencing SolverStudio: The article below in INFORMS Transactions on Education provides a basic introduction to SolverStudio. If you publish work using SolverStudio, please cite this reference; ongoing development of SolverStudio depends on us being able to demonstrate impact through citations:

Mason AJ (2013) SolverStudio: A new tool for better optimisation and simulation modelling in Excel. INFORMS Trans. Ed. 14(1):45–52.

SolverStudio showing an AMPL model and associated data

SolverStudio is written in VBA, and C# using Visual Studio 2010 Professional. It uses the Microsoft VSTO (Visual Studio Tools for Office) system running on .Net 4 to manage the integration with Excel. It includes IronPython as its embedded Python engine.

You might also be interested in our OpenSolver add-in which can solve larger versions of models developed using Excel’s built-in Solver.

This research effort has been partially supported by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7-PEOPLE-2009-IRSES) under grant agreement n° 246647 and by the New Zealand Government as part of the OptALI project.

SolverStudio has no affiliation with, nor is recommend by, Microsoft, Frontline Systems, AMPL, Gurobi or GAMS. All trademark terms are the property of their respective owners.