OpenSolver 2.8.2 Pre-release

We have just uploaded OpenSolver 2.8.2, available on our SourceForge site here.

This is a second attempt to work around the “Automation Error” bug that some users are seeing on some versions of Excel. (This appears to be caused by a VBA bug that is corrupting the cached code. We have now “cleaned” the code)

As always, please send us any feedback and let us know if you have any problems.

OpenSolver 2.8.1 Pre-release

We have just uploaded OpenSolver 2.8.1, available here.

This fixes two bugs with the 2.8.0 release. Some users may have encountered an “Automation Error” depending on their version of Excel, which we have now fixed. Additionally we have fixed an error that occurred when cancelling the “Set QuickSolve Parameters” dialog.

As always, please send us any feedback and let us know if you have any problems.

OpenSolver 2.8.0 Pre-release

We are happy today to announce the release of OpenSolver 2.8.0!

We will be releasing this first as a pre-release for wider testing before releasing it as stable in the near future. Anybody that has elected to receive update checks for experimental updates should get an update notification in the next day, otherwise the notification will come later once it is tested further (if you enabled the update checker).

You can download OpenSolver 2.8.0 Prerelease here.

This update contains a large number of bugfixes (the changelog lists over 30 major fixes!) as well as some new features. It fixes a lot of problems that users encountered in version 2.7.1. In particular, it fixes the compile error message “Method or data member not found” that some Mac users were encountering due to VBA becoming case-sensitive and treating Me.width and Me.Width differently. If you somehow still run into this message on the latest version, please let us know immediately so we can work with you to fix it.

There are a couple of changes to the way models are defined. First of all, it is now possible to define ranges in the objective, variables and constraint cells that are not on the same sheet as the model. Beforehand this was not consistently allowed, but now there should be no problems. NOTE: For the non-linear solvers Bonmin and Couenne that use our formula parser, the entire model needs to be on the same sheet due to limitations in the formula parser. This is something we want to fix as soon as possible.

The other big change to the way models are defined is that models can now be defined using named ranges. Now you can give names to ranges on the sheet and use these names when defining the model. For instance, if you have a named range “production” in A1:A4 and another named range “capacity” in B1:B4, instead of entering the constraint as “A1:A4 <= B1:B4”, you can now add it as “production <= capacity”. If the named range is changed to point to a different set of cells, the model will update and use the new set of cells when solving the problem. This change will allow for much more expressive power when creating models, and makes it easier to keep track of what each constraint means when defining the model.

We have also revamped the way we show the solver output when “Show optimisation progress while solving” is enabled. Previously we used a command prompt/terminal window to show the output from the solver, but now we do this inside Excel, along with an easy “Cancel” button to abort the solve. This is a much more stable way of doing things than before, and looks a lot nicer too!

The “About OpenSolver” form now indicates whether OpenSolver has been correctly installed, by which we mean all the files have been unzipped to the same place. If you are having trouble getting any solver to run, please make sure that this form says everything is correctly installed.

Finally, there are some minor changes to the API. We have removed the “GetObjectiveCellWithValidation” method, and have changed “GetObjectiveFunctionCell” to validate by default. A large number of the API methods have been altered to validate their inputs and outputs by default, which can be turned off. We have also added a host of new functions to go along with the ability to define the model using named ranges, which requires working with string arguments rather than ranges.

We appreciate any feedback you might have on the release, including the new features and any future features you might like. If you do encounter any problems, please either use the “Report Issue” button from inside OpenSolver, or leave a comment here so that we can address the problem.

OpenSolver 2.7.1 (28 June 2015)

We have just released OpenSolver 2.7.1 which fixes a number of bugs in the 2.7.0 release. Please upgrade to this version if you are using 2.7.0 (or enable the update checker in OpenSolver to get automatically notified of these changes!).

Note: Unlike earlier versions of OpenSolver, we now correctly pass to the solvers (including CBC) the “Maximum number of iterations” value in the Options dialog. Be sure to set this (and the time limit) to a large value if want to find optimal solutions.

OpenSolver 2.6.1 (15 Feb 2015)

We are pleased to announce the release of OpenSolver 2.6.1. This release contains numerous bugfixes, as well as some new features:

  • Bonmin, Couenne and Gurobi support options set in OpenSolver (e.g. time limit, tolerance)
  • Gurobi now supports extra parameters just as CBC does (see http://opensolver.org/using-opensolver/#gurobi-params)
  • Support for more formulae in the non-linear solvers. SUMIF is now supported.
  • We have updated the COIN-OR solvers included with OpenSolver to CBC 2.9.0, Bonmin 1.8.0 and Couenne 0.5.1
  • The issues with OS X Yosemite have hopefully been resolved

Please let us know how you find it. In particular we are always interested in feedback on the OS X version, which should be a lot more robust now.

OpenSolver 2.5.3 alpha (2 Jul 2014)

In this release we are adding support for the NOMAD non-linear solver in 64-bit Office. Differences between the 32 and 64-bit versions of Office previously caused NOMAD to crash in 64-bit Office, but these issues have been identified and resolved now.

For anyone that might run into a similar problem in the future, the problem was our use of Application.Run to access the NOMAD DLL:

Application.Run("NomadMain", SolveRelaxation)

When Application.Run was used like this on 64-bit Office, any C API calls from the DLL back into Excel would fail. Instead, the function must be called directly and everything then works fine:

NomadMain(SolveRelaxation)

You can get it here. Let us know how NOMAD goes in 64-bit Office, and we welcome any other feedback too!

OpenSolver 2.5.1 alpha (25 Jun 2014)

Today we are releasing OpenSolver 2.5.1 alpha, which builds on the 2.5 alpha release from last week.

The main addition in this release is the option to use the non-linear solvers Couenne and Bonmin through the cloud-based NEOS servers.

We have also included a 64-bit version of CBC that is used automatically on 64-bit systems.

There are also stability fixes for the non-linear NOMAD solver that was included in the 2.5 release, and other bug fixes.

You can download it here. Like 2.5, this is an experimental alpha release, and we are looking for feedback on the new features, as well as any problems you might run into while using them.

OpenSolver 2.5 alpha (20 Jun 2014)

We have just released OpenSolver 2.5 alpha, which has a number of fixes and improvements. It also has some new experimental features.

You now have the ability to select from number of different solvers:

  • CBC (included and upgraded to version 2.8.8 in this release)
  • Gurobi LP/IP solver (if this is installed on your machine)
  • NOMAD non-linear solver (included, supported in 32-bit Office only for now)
  • Solvers on the cloud-based NEOS servers – CBC (linear) is supported now, and we hope to offer Couenne and Bonmin (both non-linear) in a future release.

This release also adds reporting of dual variables and sensitivity analysis, and as well as many small bug fixes and feature enhancements. Many thanks to students Matt, Kris, and Jack for their work on these enhancements.

You can download it here. All feedback is welcome, particularly regarding the new experimental features.