INCLINE VILLAGE, NV – January 21, 2013 – Frontline Systems is shipping Version 12.5 of its Solvers for Excel, including a new flagship integrated product, Analytic Solver Platform. V12.5 also includes new versions of Risk Solver Platform, the leading tool for simulation / risk analysis, conventional and stochastic optimization in Excel; subsets Premium Solver Platform, Premium Solver Pro, and Risk Solver Pro; and XLMiner, the leading data mining add-in for Microsoft Excel. Analytic Solver Platform integrates all the capabilities of all these products, and adds new features such as visual data exploration and data mining methods applied to Monte Carlo simulation trial data.
"Our tagline for Analytic Solver Platform is 'no-compromise analytics in Excel'," said Daniel Fylstra, Frontline's President and CEO. "Users enjoy the ease of use of Excel, and leverage their spreadsheet model-building experience, but they don't compromise at all on functionality or performance." Analytic Solver Platform incorporates many of the most powerful algorithms for optimization, simulation and data mining available, and exploits new technology in CPUs, GPUs and cloud servers to a greater degree than "enterprise analytics software" costing five to ten times more.
Upward Compatible from Excel Solver, works with Excel 2013
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 Solvers V12.5 work with Excel 2007, Excel 2010, and Excel 2013, which recently became available to Microsoft's corporate customers, and will be available at retail in early 2013.
Visual Data Exploration and Data Mining Applied to Monte Carlo Simulation
Analytic Solver Platform is the first software to bring the power of data mining and visual data exploration to the analysis of Monte Carlo simulation trial data. Frontline's and other vendors' Monte Carlo software has offered histograms, tornado charts, and descriptive statistics summarizing simulation results, but they've had only limited visualization for multivariate data, and aside from basic sensitivity analysis, they have lacked tools to discover patterns in simulation data. This has changed in Analytic Solver Platform, which makes all the data visualization and algorithmic tools of XLMiner available for analysis of simulation trial data placed on a worksheet.
To benefit all of Frontline's simulation and risk analysis users, one of the most popular and easiest to use data mining methods – k-Means Clustering – is available to all users of Analytic Solver Platform, Risk Solver Platform, and Risk Solver Pro, directly in the Uncertain Function dialog which displays charts of simulation results. The automatically-discovered clusters of trials are displayed visually in these charts.
New Levels of Help and User Support in Analytic Software
The algorithmic methods in Analytic Solver Platform represent "rocket science" for many users, who want to gain business advantage from these methods, but may be unsure whether they can learn and make effective use of this power. For years, Frontline Solvers have offered uniquely helpful features such as a Distribution Wizard, Constraint Wizard, and Guided Mode for optimization, but Analytic Solver Platform goes even further – bringing "Active Support" for analytics directly into Microsoft Excel.
When a user encounters a common problem or error condition in any of Frontline Solvers V12.5, special dialogs and Help appear, the desktop software reports the problem in real-time to Frontline's servers, and the user can be connected immediately via "live chat" to Frontline's technical support – bypassing the delays and missing information characteristic of traditional support by phone and email.
Solves on Desktops or Cloud-Based Servers
Users of Frontline's Solvers V12.5 can choose whether to solve an optimization or simulation model on their own desktop PCs, or upload their model for solution on a server running Frontline's Solver Server V12.0, a new component of recently-released Solver SDK Platform V12.0. Solutions downloaded from server to client automatically update the user's Excel model, so that server-based solutions offer the same features (such as sensitivity analysis for optimization, or trial data for Monte Carlo simulation) as desktop-based solutions. Both client and server can use the same advanced Solver Engines, with more than a dozen choices, fully exploiting the power of the host machine.
New Performance Enhancements
Frontline Solvers have always offered the fastest Monte Carlo simulation in Excel, and the fastest available solvers for mathematical optimization. V12.5 further enhances performance, especially for models using the ever-popular LOOKUP functions in Excel. Frontline's Polymorphic Spreadsheet Interpreter executes these functions much faster in simulation, and it can perform automatic, algebraic transformations of LOOKUP functions for optimization, replacing them with new binary-integer and continuous variables and linear constraints. This can make the difference between a 'compromise solution' and a proven optimal solution in far less time, using today's advanced mixed-integer solvers.
Multi-Core CPU, GPU, and Algorithmic Advances from V12.0 Included
Of course, the V12.5 release incorporates all the enhancements first introduced in V12.0 (just four months ago – Frontline has one of the fastest product upgrade cycles in the industry). The Evolutionary Solver now includes both a full set of genetic algorithm based methods, and a full set of methods from the literature on tabu search and scatter search, and it exploits massively parallel GPUs for even faster performance. Users of optimization with uncertainty benefit from the first commercial implementation of the stochastic decomposition algorithm, a highly scalable approach for solving stochastic LP models.
Academic Version and Upgrades for Existing Users Available
Users of existing Frontline Solver products can upgrade to V12.5 at no cost if they have current Annual Support, and they can upgrade to Analytic Solver Platform for the difference in price. Analytic Solver Platform for Education is available as an upgrade for Risk Solver Platform for Education, and will be featured in the next editions of several leading management science textbooks later in 2013.
Frontline Systems Inc. (www.solver.com) is the leader in spreadsheet-based analytics software, 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 750 million spreadsheet users. Founded in 1987, Frontline is based in Incline Village, Nevada (775-831-0300).