Thursday, February 5, 2009

IEOR Tools interview with GUSEK developer Luis Bettoni

One of the great traits of developing software in the Open Source community is that you can build on the successes of others. Luiz Bettoni has done just that with his linear programming tool known as GUSEK. Recently Luiz released version 0.2.2 of GUSEK to the community. GUSEK is a linear programming modeling interface to the GLPK. GUSEK is freely availabe to download. It is designed for the a Windows operating system. IEOR Tools wanted to know more about GUSEK and is happy to have Luiz answer some questions about GUSEK and his contribution to the field of Linear Programming and Operations Research.

What is your experience in Operations Research and/or Management Science and your background?
I'm a Brazilian researcher and Master's student in the CPGEI department (Graduate School in Electrical Engineering and Industrial Computer Science) at UTFPR University. I'm actually working on two optimization projects to help in decision making. The first is focused in power distribution networks maintenance which is a partnership with COPEL (the energy company of Paraná State). The other one is a PETROBRAS (the world’s 7th biggest oil company) with oil distribution scheduling. The first project was my first contact with Operations Research, about a year ago.
What is your experience with GLPK?
One COPEL project requirement is to use free software to solve LP/MILP models. After some research and a lot of tests GLPK was the natural choice: fast (not like commercial solvers, but better than other open source options), customizable, flexible, has its own modeling language (the GMPL) and is under constant development.
Why did you want to create GUSEK?
Developing GMPL models without any resources (just with Windows Notepad) was a challenge. To make our job affordable and to save costs we made a custom IDE integrating the GLPK stand-alone solver and the GMPL programming language into a customizable text editor (SciTE). Custom improvements are made in the sense to be more friendly to the GMPL developer. After many changes, the IDE was significantly different from the original SciTE and we adopted the new name: Gusek (GLPK Under Scite Extended Kit).
Who do you expect to use GUSEK?
People who want a free, easy-to-use interface for development and solving of LP/MILP problems, like GLPK users and students.
Why did you want to create GUSEK for the Windows platform?
Commodity: in our lab we use Windows. But, as SciTE and GLPK are open source (and have Linux versions), GUSEK can be built for others OS, sure. Anyone which is available?
Why did you distribute under the GPL license?
First, GLPK is a GNU project, released under GPL. SciTE has a similar license. Gusek was possible just because they are open source, so, why not open source? If anyone can use and contribute, Gusek will be a better tool for all. I've just started it and shared. GPL is a good choice to allow this.
Are you working on any other free software projects?
Not really, actually I spend all of my time on the lab projects. However, me and my brother are planning to develop the open source concept of "cycle-tourism open tracks" based on our experience (take a look at www.odois.org, in Portuguese).
Have you learned anything new or interesting while working on this project?
I'm involved with builds and patches to other people's software, learning with the open source community. I learned LUA and batch script languages to implement advanced functions into SciTE. I have learned GMPL and a lot of other LP/MILP modeling tools using Gusek, for sure!
Thank you Luiz for this interview and sharing GUSEK with the Operations Research community. We hope that GUSEK finds a nice home in the Linear Programming world. We here at IEOR Tools have definitely added it to our tool bag.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I really Gusek, but can it apply to more advance technique like bender decomposition or lagrangian relaxation ?

Anyway, it is very good and useful software.

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