Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Open source solver for Excel

Thanks to a post by Michael Trick we find that the open source solver community has an new platform with Excel.  Although its not a replacement for Solver the OpenSolver does offer a lot of benefits that the existing Excel optimization platform does not perform.  OpenSolver is an extender of the existing Solver.  You will still need to use Solver to develop the model.  Yet OpenSolver can take over from there.  Some of the benefits include
  • COIN-OR CBC optimization engine to perform the calculations
  • Compatible to existing Solver models
  • No artificial limits to the size of the problem (huge win here!)
Some of the disadvantages are that it does not solve non-linear models.  Also it does not run as a stand-alone plug-in as the current Solver.  I believe that OpenSolver is only developed for the Excel 2007 platform.  OpenSolver was developed by Andrew Mason and is licensed under GPL.  OpenSolver is free to distribute and download.

I'm hoping to give this a try soon.  I'm really encouraged by OpenSolver because I always thought the current Solver was very limited.  Looking forward to great things from OpenSolver.  For other ideas about Open Source solvers with spreadsheets be sure to look at Open Office Calc.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It will also work under excel 2003, the only thing that needs to change is the toolbar.