New analytics modeling language embedded in JSON, and REST API providing advanced analytics power for “thin client” and server applications, gains more powerful dimensional modeling, direct connections to online data sources.
INCLINE VILLAGE, NV – September 22, 2015 – Frontline Systems is releasing the second major version of its RASON® modeling language and REST API at https://rason.com – six months after the initial public beta of the RASON service. Application developers can sign up for free accounts to use the language and REST API service, to create compact analytic models that ‘live’ in any mobile app or web page, solve them easily in the cloud, and get back results.
“We’ve made deployment of advanced analytics for web and mobile applications radically simple,” said Daniel Fylstra, Frontline's President and CEO. “With the RASON API, developers can create and deploy analytic models in days instead of months.” A new generation of apps that can use advanced analytics ‘behind the scenes’ in domains ranging from finance, logistics and energy to consumer services and even games are now much easier to build with RASON.
RESTful Analytic Solver® Object Notation
RASON models can be ‘executed’ via the REST API, or directly in server-based applications, using Frontline’s Solver SDK Platform product, where key RASON model elements appear as objects in C++, C#, Java and other languages, giving developers all the advantages of a high-level modeling language, plus the full control of a programming language.
The RASON REST API service is offered on a monthly subscription basis with a free tier to get started, and paid tiers that support solving models of different sizes, using varying amounts of CPU time on Frontline’s back-end servers. For server-based applications, the Solver SDK-based RASON Interpreter can be licensed on an annual basis at a modest fixed cost.
To enable secure applications, REST API calls to Rason.net are made via SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) with an OAuth-based header for authentication and authorization – available with a free developer account on Rason.com.
Optimization and Simulation Power
RASON models can express linear programming and mixed-integer programming models, quadratic programming and second-order cone models, nonlinear and global optimization models, and ‘arbitrary’ models solved via genetic algorithms and tabu search methods. They can also express Monte Carlo simulation / risk analysis models, and simulation optimization, robust optimization, and stochastic programming models with recourse decisions and chance constraints.
The RASON server solves small models in sub-second times, but is capable of solving extremely large, challenging models, such as LP/MIP models with millions of decision variables. A RASON client app, even on a mobile device, can request solution of even a very large model (running on an auto-scaled Microsoft Azure server cluster), check the solution status, and retrieve results, even hours or days later.
Simple but Powerful Language Extended
The RASON language is simple enough so its essential features can be grasped through a single-page example, shown at https://rason.com/Home/About. But it packs a lot of power, with arithmetic, logical and string operators, 650 built-in functions, array and vector-matrix operations, and “slicing and dicing” of multi-dimensional tables. The new release greatly extends the ‘indexing’ and dimensional modeling capabilities of the language, especially for optimization models, with ‘looping’ constructs in the language. And it includes 245 pages of User Guide, Reference and Help, plus dozens of examples.
Data Sources Extended with OData
RASON models can work with data included in the model itself, supplied in REST API call parameters, or uploaded with a REST API request as CSV files, Excel spreadsheets and Access SQL databases. Model parameters can be easily ‘bound to’ any of these data sources. In the new release, results may be returned in JSON, or written to data sources and streamed to the caller as CSV, Excel or Access files.
Excel and RASON Models
The RASON Interpreter is a powerful extension of Frontline’s Polymorphic Spreadsheet Interpreter (PSI Interpreter), which has been in development for nearly 15 years. Thanks to this heritage, it starts its life with features such as parallelized ‘automatic differentiation’ of linear and nonlinear expressions, and parallelized execution of Monte Carlo trials across processor cores. Though many RASON users will likely use the language without any thought of Excel, users who are coming from Excel will find that it’s straightforward to convert Excel formulas into RASON notation. Indeed, the RASON Interpreter can specially recognize names such as "a1:b10" as cell references, and give them the properties of cell ranges.
Frontline Systems Inc. (www.solver.com) is the leader in analytics for spreadsheets and the web, helping managers gain insights and make better decisions for an uncertain future. Its products integrate forecasting and data mining for "predictive analytics," Monte Carlo simulation and risk analysis, and conventional and stochastic optimization for "prescriptive analytics." Frontline developed the solvers/optimizers in Microsoft Excel, Lotus 1-2-3 and Quattro Pro, distributed to more than 1 billion spreadsheet users. Founded in 1987, Frontline is based in Incline Village, Nevada (775-831-0300). RASON® and Analytic Solver® are registered trademarks of Frontline Systems Inc.