Business analysts gain new power and flexibility to build predictive and prescriptive analytic models that use data mining, mathematical optimization, and simulation/risk analysis methods.

Frontline Systems is shipping a new product line release for desktop and cloud, Version 2017 of its Solvers for Excel and AnalyticSolver.com, its SaaS equivalent. The new release unifies and simplifies Frontline’s products, makes learning predictive and prescriptive analytics accessible to everyone at very low cost, is easier to upgrade for larger models or datasets, and is easier to use across multiple desktop machines and the cloud.

“We’re making advanced analytics power tools and learning aids accessible to every business analyst,” said 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.”

Analytic Solver Basic: Advanced Analytics for Learning

V2017WelcomeScreen

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 datasets, suitable for learning. (All of the 100+ example models and datasets included with the software can be used.)

For $250 per year you get
both desktop 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.

Test Run Summary Only: The Ongoing Free Trial

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Where many vendors offer a 15- to 30-day free trial, 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 datasets larger than Analytic Solver Basic’s limits – and run them. The software enters “Test Run Summary Only” mode, and actually 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.

New ‘Adobe-Like’ Software Licensing System

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.

High Performance Evolutionary Solver

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. For problems of this nature, Frontline believes that its Evolutionary Solver performs in the very top tier of research and commercial software, available at any price on any single-machine platform.

PMML Enhancements

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

Tableau Integration Enhancement

For Tableau fans, a Frontline has added even better support with a new version of Tableau Software’s Web Data Connector. They already support export of analytic model results to Tableau, the popular data visualization software, complementing support first introduced in Frontline Solvers V2015.  Results can be sent to Tableau Data Extract (TDE) files via an HTML/CSS/JavaScript form that can be consumed directly by the Tableau Web Data Connector.

Simplified Product Line

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 now at Frontline’s website Solver.com and at its cloud version portal AnalyticSolver.com.

Frontline Systems Inc. (www.solver.com) is the leader in analytics for spreadsheets and the web, helping managers gain insights and make better decisions for an uncertain future. Its products integrate forecasting and data mining for “predictive analytics,” Monte Carlo simulation and risk analysis, and conventional and stochastic optimization for “prescriptive analytics.” Founded in 1987, Frontline is based in Incline Village, Nevada (775-831-0300).