OptQuest: An Innovative Solver for Nonsmooth Problems for Risk Solver Platform and Solver SDK Platform

Frontline Systems is pleased to offer the OptQuest Solver Engine, for use inside and outside Microsoft Excel. The OptQuest Solver is a field-installable Solver Engine that "plugs into" Risk Solver Platform and Premium Solver Platform for Excel, and takes advantage of its new Polymorphic Spreadsheet Interpreter.  You can also use it with our Solver SDK Platform to develop applications in a programming language, for one license price! 

It employs metaheuristics such as tabu search and scatter search to solve nonsmooth optimization problems of up to 5,000 variables and 1,000 constraints. It also supports integer variables and "alldifferent" constraints in both Platforms.  The OptQuest Solver handles models with any Excel formulas and functions, yet it finds remarkably good solutions with excellent speed.

Fully Compatible

Risk Solver Platform and Premium Solver Platform are 100% upwardly compatible from the standard Excel Solver. Your existing models can be solved with no changes, faster and more easily than before.  And your VBA code designed to control the standard Solver will work as-is with Risk Solver Platform or Premium Solver Platform and the OptQuest Solver Engine -- just select the OptQuest Solver interactively or in your VBA code.

Solve New Kinds of Problems

The OptQuest Solver, like the Evolutionary Solver in Risk Solver Platform, can solve nonsmooth optimization problems that cannot be handled effectively by the standard Excel Solver.

Even if your model uses IF, CHOOSE, LOOKUP and similar functions that cause difficulty for the standard Solver, you can obtain good solutions with the OptQuest Solver. And where the standard Solver (using the nonlinear GRG Solver engine) can find only a locally optimal solution, the OptQuest Solver is much more likely to find a globally optimal (or near-optimal) solution.

Greater Speed and Capacity

You'll be able to solve nonsmooth optimization problems larger than the Evolutionary Solver included with Risk Solver Platform and Premium Solver Platform -- up to 5,000 variables and 1,000 constraints.  (Please note: The practicality of solving large problems with the OptQuest Solver, and the time required to find "good" solutions is highly dependent on the model. But the OptQuest Solver is highly effective on many kinds of problems with structure that can be discovered and exploited by the methods that it employs.)

Integer Variables and "Alldifferent" Constraints

The OptQuest Solver handles nonsmooth problems that include general integer and binary integer variables, and variables subject to the "alldifferent" constraint, available in Risk Solver Platform and Premium Solver Platform. Alldifferent constraints can be used to model ordering or permutation of choices, such as the order of cities to visit in the Traveling Salesman Problem.

Where other Solvers may have difficulty finding any feasible solutions to nonlinear or nonsmooth problems that include both integer (or alldifferent) variables and other constraints, the OptQuest Solver will often find not only feasible, but close to optimal solutions. 

Note:  At present, the OptQuest Solver Engine allows only one alldifferent constraint in a model, whereas Risk Solver Platform and Premium Solver Platform allows you to define any number of (non-overlapping) alldifferent constraints.

Comprehensive User Guide

In addition to the User Guide that comes with Risk Solver Platform, you'll receive our Solver Engine User Guide that describes several field-installable Solver engines, including the OptQuest Solver.  This guide provides complete information on OptQuest Solver options, the various messages which the OptQuest Solver can return, how to diagnose problems, and how to control the OptQuest Solver from VBA in Excel, or from our Solver SDK Platform.

Order or Upgrade Today!

Prices.  The OptQuest Solver Engine solves nonsmooth optimization problems of up to 5,000 variables and 1,000 constraints.  For pricing information for all Solver Engines, please see our Product Catalog.  If you are ordering for several users, ask us about quantity discounts and Flexible Use Licenses.

What's Included.  The OptQuest Solver Engine supports Excel 2013 Preview (32-bit only), Excel 2010 (32-bit only), Excel 2007, and Excel 2003 on Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2008.  It comes with a comprehensive User Guide and extensive online Help.  And, like all Frontline Systems products, it includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Annual Support Contracts.  An Annual Support Contract for the OptQuest Solver is required for the first year, and at all times in order to obtain software upgrades and technical support beyond basic installation assistance.  An Annual Support Contract includes:

  • A limited warranty for the functionality and performance of the software product 
  • All software upgrades for the product released during the contract term
  • Ability to trade in this product for an even more powerful Excel Solver product
  • Access to protected support pages of our Website
  • Technical support by phone and email during normal business hours
  • Up to 15 minutes of consulting assistance arising during the contract term

Product Upgrades.  If you own an older version of the Risk Solver Platform, Premium Solver Platform or Solver SDK Platform and the OptQuest Solver Engine, you'll receive an automatic upgrade to our latest version at no extra charge if you have a current Annual Support Contract (if you aren't current, see our instructions for "catching up" on annual support and paying the difference in price).

Evaluation Versions.  If you want to "try before you buy," simply fill out the form below to register, then download and run the EngineSetup program. (If you're already registered, just login; if you're already logged in, just click the Download button.)  If you don't already own Risk Solver Platform or Premium Solver Platform (which is required to use the OptQuest Solver Engine in Excel), you can also download and run the SolverSetup program.  You'll receive an evaluation license code which will allow you to use a full featured, full capacity, full speed version of Risk Solver Platform and the OptQuest Solver Engine for 15 days, free of charge.  You can also download and run the SDKSetup program, and use Solver SDK Platform with the OptQuest Solver Engine for 15 days.