NEOS: Cloud Optimisation using Excel
We’ve been working on improving SolverStudio to meet the needs of a student class we are teaching. As part of these changes, we are currently beta testing a new version of SolverStudio that allows AMPL models to be solved “in the cloud” using the excellent NEOS on-line optimisation service.
SolverStudio can now take an AMPL model, combine it with the data on your spreadsheet, and send it to NEOS to solve. The results are then sent back to your computer, and appear in your spreadsheet. Using NEOS instead of a local copy of AMPL is as simple as changing the model language from AMPL to ‘AMPL on NEOS’. NEOS supports a wide range of solvers, making it very easy to experiment with different ones, including heuristics.
This is all possible thanks to the XMLRPC (XML remote procedue call) support that NEOS provides. NEOS even provide a Python example, which made it easy to add a new ‘AMPLNEOS’ language to SolverStudio and then write the Python support files to pass the model and data to and from NEOS. Thanks, NEOS, for an excellent service.