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Analytics Magazine

Frontline shipping V. 2017 of Solvers for Excel and Analytic Solver.com

 

“We’re making advanced analytics power tools and learning aids accessible to every business analyst,” says Daniel Fylstra, Frontline’s president and CEO. “Our users can build models with point-and-click ease of use, while taking advantage of the most advanced analytic algorithms and methods.”

In this release, Frontline is making available to all users Analytic Solver Basic V2017, a new version of its Analytic Solver Platform for Education product, formerly offered only for university MBA programs and used to learn by hundreds of thousands of students. Analytic Solver Basic includes every feature of Frontline’s analytics software, but handles only limited-size models and data sets, suitable for learning. (All of the 100+ example models and data sets included with the software can be used.) A software license is just $250 per year and includes both the desktop version and access to AnalyticSolver.com. Paired with Solver Academy, Frontline’s new Open edX-based online learning platform, Analytic Solver Basic offers a way for business analysts to gain “advanced analytics ninja” skills.

Analytic Solver Basic gives the user an ongoing “free trial” opportunity for all the large-capacity products that Frontline offers. Users can simply create or open models or data sets larger than Analytic Solver Basic’s limits – and run them. The software enters “Test Run Summary Only” mode, and runs the problem but delivers only summary information such as the final objective in optimization or key statistics in simulation/risk analysis, then recommends the best upgrade option. After a simple, point-and-click upgrade step, the user has both the large-capacity product and Analytic Solver Basic, with its ongoing “free trial” of other functions.

Also in this release, Frontline has implemented a new cloud-based software licensing system, similar to the approach taken by Adobe Systems. Users can now install and use Frontline’s software on multiple computers, such as a desktop, laptop, home PC or virtual machine – but only one of these at a time. A multi-user license option enables organizations to share a license among multiple users and multiple machines, without having to run a special “license server.” Licenses can be used while disconnected from the Internet, for lengths of time specific to the license.

The V2017 release features further significant enhancements to Frontline’s popular Evolutionary Solver for optimization, focusing on the most difficult non-smooth, non-convex models with integer variables.

The new release features support for industry-standard PMML (Predictive Model Markup Language) for Analytic Solver’s full range of classification, prediction, and time series forecasting methods, as well as PMML extensions for text mining. Other data mining enhancements include:

  • Ability to create ensembles of any combination of six different classification methods or four different prediction methods.
  • Direct use of categorical variables in many predictive algorithms that, in other analytics software, can use only continuous variables
  • Ability to “fit,” store and apply to new data a wide range of data transformation and unsupervised learning tools, such as PCA and clustering.
  • Enhanced neural networks with any number of layers, and better scaling, training and activation function options,
  • Enhanced reports and charts, especially for model evaluation, and simplified functions to apply predictive models in Excel worksheets.

Other enhancements include support for very high resolution (4K) monitor, and support for a new version of Tableau Software’s Web Data Connector.

In this release, Frontline has simplified its product line and renamed most products. Frontline continues to offer eight plug-in, large-scale Solver Engines for optimization, upgraded in the new release, that work with Analytic Solver Optimization and Analytic Solver Comprehensive.

The new V2017 release is available at AnalyticSolver.com.

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