Contact: Daniel Fylstra
INCLINE VILLAGE, NV -- December 15, 2007 -- Frontline Systems, Inc., developer of the Solver in Microsoft Excel, is shipping a major Version 8.0 upgrade of its full product line: Premium Solver and Premium Solver Platform for optimization, Risk Solver and Risk Solver Engine for simulation, and seven large-scale Solver Engines - as well as Solver Platform SDK Version 7.2 for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows and Linux, an improved version of Frontline's popular Software Development Kit for optimization and simulation. Prospective users can download a free trial version.
A brand-new product offering in Version 8.0 is Premium Solver Platform Stochastic Edition, the first commercial software product to implement new robust optimization methods, and the only software to offer a comprehensive toolkit for solving models that include uncertainty, using simulation optimization, stochastic programming, and robust optimization methods. Enhanced Solver dialogs, familiar to Excel Solver users, make it easy to define models with uncertain parameters (compatible with Frontline's Risk Solver software), recourse decision variables, chance constraints, and expected value and risk measure objectives.
New video tutorials, online Help, and example models make the Platform's new power readily accessible to business users. Other enhancements include new heuristics for faster solution of linear mixed-integer problems, new multi-core processor support in the XPRESS and MOSEK Solvers, significant nonlinear optimization improvements in the KNITRO and LSSQP Solvers, new support for semi-continuous decision variables in all twelve Frontline Solvers, and enhancements to the Platform's object-oriented API (Application Programming Interface) including automatic recording of API calls for actions taken through the Solver dialogs. Frontline is featuring the MOSEK Solver as an add-on to Premium Solver Platform Stochastic Edition, since it solves large LP and SOCP robust counterpart models that the Platform can create automatically for problems with uncertainty.'
In Version 7.0, we matched the best competitive products for risk analysis in Excel, and we offered the fastest available simulation optimization,' said Daniel Fylstra, President of Frontline Systems. 'In Version 8.0, we've gone far beyond competitors and our own earlier products, to give users to ability to solve large-scale models with uncertainty, and to create and solve more realistic models that include recourse or 'wait and see' decisions.'
New, Easier User Interface for Solver Models
The Premium Solver V8.0 and Premium Solver Platform V8.0 feature a new Solver Parameters dialog that looks familiar to users of the standard Excel Solver, but offers easier ways to create and modify the elements of Solver models. In place of a simple list of constraints, an outlined list of all the elements of the model - objective, decision variables, and constraints - appears. The outline distinguishes general, bound, conic, and integer constraints, and supports new recourse decision variables and chance constraints in Premium Solver Platform Stochastic Edition. Uncertain parameters may also be defined through the Solver Parameters dialog, in a form fully compatible with Frontline Systems' Risk Solver and Risk Solver Engine products.
Risk Solver Enhancements for Simulation Optimization
Risk Solver and its subset Risk Solver Engine have been enhanced in Version 8.0 to work with the new Premium Solver Platform user interface, and support high-speed simulation optimization when used with Premium Solver V8.0, Premium Solver Platform V8.0 Standard, and especially with Premium Solver Platform V8.0 Stochastic Edition - while still providing breakthrough performance, spectacular graphics, and ease-of-use for risk analysis of Excel models.
New Video Demos, Help, Examples and Support
A new Help / Welcome dialog gives users ready access to video demos of key Premium Solver features, online Help, full-text User Guides, examples of both conventional optimization models and stochastic models that include uncertainty, and direct links to Web-based support information and live technical support. A new version of Frontline's licensing software is also included in Version 8.0, with access to licensing options through the Help / Welcome dialog.
Enhanced Object-Oriented API for Excel VBA Users
The Premium Solver's new Object-Oriented API, introduced in Version 7.0, has been enhanced in Version 8.0 to support creation of Solver models 'from scratch' entirely in Excel Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), and automatic 'macro recording' of Object-Oriented API calls that correspond to steps performed interactively by the user.
New Power for Integer Programming Problems
New in Version 8.0 is support for semi-continuous decision variables (in addition to continuous, general integer, binary integer, and 'alldifferent' variables), in all twelve of Frontline's Solver Engines. Semi-continuous variables can be used in many situations that would otherwise require both a continuous variable and a binary integer variable - for example when modeling minimum charges or startup costs on an assembly line. The LP/Quadratic Solver in the Premium Solver Platform is especially efficient in handling semi-continuous variables in the solution process.The LP/Quadratic Solver in Version 8.0 is also much faster on many difficult mixed-integer problems, thanks to new cuts and heuristics including the "Feasibility Pump" heuristic, a notable recent development in the integer programming field.
Plug-in Solver Engines Offer Performance Gains, Multi-Core Processor Support
Frontline's seven plug-in, large-scale Solver Engines V8.0, which work with both Premium Solver Platform V8.0 and Solver Platform SDK V7.2, offer across-the-board improvements in performance and reliability. Some highlights include:
- The MOSEK Solver Engine V8.0 offers dramatic performance enhancements in solving mixed-integer problems, and multi-core processor support in its Interior Point Solver. The MOSEK Solver, which handles second-order cone programming (SOCP) problems as well as linear, quadratic and mixed-integer (LP/QP/MIP) problems, is an especially good upgrade for Premium Solver Platform Stochastic Edition, which can transform models with uncertainty into LP or SOCP robust counterpart problems.
- A new multi-core processor option for the XPRESS Solver Engine V8.0 takes full advantage of dual- and quad-core processors to greatly speed the solution of mixed-integer problems. In addition, both the XPRESS Solver Engine and the Large-Scale LP/QP Solver Engine V8.0 offer enhanced performance on a range of difficult mixed-integer problems, thanks to new cuts, heuristics, and local search methods.
- The KNITRO Solver Engine V8.0 and the Large-Scale SQP Solver Engine V8.0 both offer a number of algorithmic enhancements that yield better performance on challenging nonlinear optimization problems. The KNITRO Solver is notable for its advanced Interior Point Nonlinear methods, while the LSSQP Solver is well-known for advanced Active Set methods.
Availability, Upgrades, Academic Versions, and Free Evaluations
All Version 8.0 products are available immediately. Existing users of Frontline's Version 7.x products with current annual support subscriptions will receive free upgrades to the corresponding new product versions. Academic versions are available at reduced prices for qualified users with an Academic Certification signed by a faculty member. Prospective users can download fully functional, full capacity and speed, free trial versions of the new products from Frontline's Website at www.solver.com.. For further information, contact Frontline Systems Inc. at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 888-831-0333 (toll free) or 775-831-0300.
About Frontline Systems, Inc.
Frontline Systems, Inc. (www.solver.com) is a leading developer of optimization and simulation software, and the leader in spreadsheet optimization software that helps analysts and managers optimally allocate scarce resources - money, equipment, and people - to realize substantial cost savings. Frontline developed the solvers/optimizers in Microsoft Excel, Lotus 1-2-3 and Quattro Pro, distributed to more than 500 million spreadsheet users. Founded in 1987, Frontline is headquartered in Incline Village, Nevada (775-831-0300 or email@example.com). Premium Solver and Risk Solver are trademarks of Frontline Systems, Inc.
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