Contact:  Daniel Fylstra
Frontline Systems 775-831-0300
press@solver.com

News Release

INCLINE VILLAGE, NV -- November 5, 2000 -- Frontline Systems Inc., developer of the Solver in all three major spreadsheets, is now shipping the OptQuest Solver Engine V3.5, which integrates tightly with Frontline's Premium Solver Platform V3.5 for Microsoft Excel and which finds good solutions to the most challenging type of optimization problems -- nonsmooth models.

In the context of an Excel spreadsheet, nonsmooth models can include arbitrary functions such as IF, CHOOSE and LOOKUP, that can't be handled by classical optimization methods such as linear programming and smooth nonlinear optimization. Prior to the OptQuest Solver Engine, only genetic and evolutionary methods, such as those used in Frontline's Evolutionary Solver, have been able to tackle such models. The OptQuest Solver Engine provides a new and often superior approach to solving these very challenging problems.

OptQuest Solver Engine Uses Innovative New Methods

The OptQuest Solver Engine uses innovative new 'metaheuristic' methods, such as tabu search and scatter search, to find good solutions to difficult nonsmooth optimization problems. It also handles integer variables and the new 'alldifferent' constraint, first introduced to spreadsheets in Frontline's Premium Solver Platform. The OptQuest Solver Engine was developed by Fred Glover, Manuel Laguna and James Kelly, professors at the University of Colorado at Boulder and principals of OptTek Systems, Inc. Dr. Glover is widely recognized as the 'father' of tabu search, and the group is the first to incorporate these methods in general-purpose optimization software.

The OptQuest Solver Engine handles problems as large as 5,000 variables and 1,000 constraints. It provides solutions for Excel models directly on the spreadsheet, through the Premium Solver Platform, and it produces an Answer Report and Population Report in the form of Excel worksheets inserted into the user's workbook. It is priced at $995 for a single-user license. Concurrent-user licenses are also available. Volume discounts are offered for quantity purchases. Academic users wishing to use the OptQuest Solver Engine in non-commercial research  projects should contact Frontline Systems about academic prices.

Premium Solver Platform Brings New Power to Spreadsheet Optimization

The Premium Solver Platform, Frontline's flagship spreadsheet optimization product, is a fully compatible upgrade to the Solver bundled with Excel, which Frontline developed for Microsoft. It provides a wide range of new features, from an extended LP Solver that handles quadratic programming problems and an extended GRG nonlinear Solver that provides for global optimization to a new hybrid Evolutionary Solver and new constraint programming features. It increases problem-solving capacity to 2,000 variables for linear problems and 500 variables for nonlinear and nonsmooth problems, and it also supports multiple, field-installable Solver engines to handle even larger problems.

Downloadable Solver Engine Supports "On-Demand" Evaluation Licenses

The OptQuest Solver Engine is especially easy for users to evaluate, since it takes advantage of advanced software licensing support in the Premium Solver Platform. It can be downloaded free of charge from Frontline's World Wide Web site http://www.solver.com, and installed so it appears in the Premium Solver Platform's list of available Solver engines. The first time the Solve button is clicked with the OptQuest Solver Engine selected, the user is given the option to start a free 15-day evaluation period, during which time the full power of the OptQuest Solver is available to solve problems. At any time, the OptQuest Solver Engine can be field-upgraded to a full license for permanent use. Users with questions about the OptQuest Solver Engine or the Premium Solver Platform are invited to contact Frontline Systems at (775) 831-0300 or (888) 831-0333 or by email at info@solver.com.

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