INDUSTRY News

Frontline launches Solver.Academy, surpasses analytics tool milestone

Frontline Systems, developer of the Solver in Microsoft Excel, has launched Solver.Academy, its online learning platform for predictive and prescriptive analytics. Frontline also announced that it has surpassed 500,000 users of its cloud-based advanced analytics tools, aimed at spreadsheet-literate business analysts who aren’t expert data scientists.

“We’ve helped hundreds of thousands of non-experts build and solve advanced analytics models,” says Daniel Fylstra, Frontline’s founder and president. “We’re closing the ‘skills gap’ that would otherwise limit deployment of analytics methods in business.”

In addition to the 500,000 users of its cloud-based analytics tools, Frontline’s software for desktop Excel has been used by more than 500,000 MBA and undergraduate business students, over more than 10 years, to learn modeling and analytics in university courses.

An oft-cited June 2011 study from McKinsey Global Institute estimated that the U.S. faced a shortage of “1.5 million data-savvy managers” to make analytics-based decisions; Frontline believes it has materially contributed to easing this shortage.

Frontline Systems moved early to the cloud by launching its Solver – a prescriptive analytics tool – for Excel Online in July 2013, followed by Solver for Google Sheets in October 2014. More than 200,000 users have adopted these analytics tools (according to data from Microsoft and Google). Risk Solver, XLMiner Data Visualization and XLMiner Analysis ToolPak, also launched in 2014, have been adopted by another 200,000 users. In March 2015, Frontline launched RASON – RESTful Analytic Solver Object Notation – for developers, likely the first cloud-based REST API service for prescriptive analytics. And in fall 2016 Frontline launched AnalyticSolver.com, its own cloud-based platform for optimization, simulation/risk analysis, forecasting and data mining, widely used by business students -- now with 100,000 user accounts.

Solver.Academy, an online learning platform and formerly available only to select customers for general use. Built on Open edX – the software that powers the edX.org MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) platform – Solver.Academy offers self-service courses in data mining and predictive analytics, Monte Carlo simulation and risk analysis, and mathematical optimization. Each course is divided into six “weekly sections,” but these can be taken at the learner’s own pace. Each section includes video lectures and a quiz, and each course also includes a mid-term and a final exam, where learners must build and solve real models to pass. Frontline offers certificates for course completion, but the greater value for many course-takers is immediate application to their own business problems.

AIMMS announces release of new R-link

AIMMS recently announced the release of a new R-link feature that allows app developers to leverage the power of R, including R libraries, to add statistical and other specialized number-crunching features to their AIMMS apps. Data can easily be passed from the AIMMS model to R. R scripts can then be triggered from the AIMMS model. The results will be returned to the AIMMS model. The R-link is available as an AIMMS library, using AIMMMS new Auto-lib function. Besides its great benefits for developers, the new R-link enables users to put the combined power of AIMMS and R in the hands of your Apps’ end users, as it’s all deployable on the AIMMS Cloud and AIMMS PRO.

In other news, AIMMS recently announced the release of Center of Gravity Navigator, a new application that allows supply chain planners to identify candidate locations for their Distribution Center (DC) network using the Center of Gravity technique. The Center of Gravity technique is a quantitative method for locating distribution facilities based on distance and the weight of demand and/or supply. Using Center of Gravity Navigator, planners can visualize their current demand and supply distribution, and then evaluate how the number of DCs in their network impact service levels and cost to meet demand.

Georgia Tech offers certificate in Health & Humanitarian Supply Chain Management

Georgia Tech will offer a professional certificate program in Health & Humanitarian Supply Chain Management on May 14-19 at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center in Atlanta. The three-course, six-day certificate program is designed for practitioners in private industry, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), government, military and others who are active participants or interested in health and humanitarian systems. The goal of the program is to enhance the knowledge and experience of participants on a broad range of topics including adverse events preparedness and response (e.g., disasters or health emergencies), as well as healthcare delivery and health systems strengthening. Visit https://chhs.gatech.edu/node/52/591707 for a summary of the 2017 certificate program with reviews from past participants.

Courses include many interactive components, such as case studies, simulations and games, which help professionals to link the challenges and decision-making tradeoffs they face in everyday practice with the systematic approaches, tools and techniques presented in the course. Upon completion of the requirements for the three courses, participants will receive a certificate from Georgia Tech in Health & Humanitarian Supply Chain Management.

The program will offer a limited number of scholarships in 2018 (primarily for applicants from NGOs), which were made possible through the generosity of the UPS Foundation. For more information or to register for the program, visit: https://humanitarian.scl.gatech.edu/professional-education or contact j.cooper@isye.gatech.edu or hhs@isye.gatech.edu with any questions. To sign up for all three courses and receive the discounted rate for the full certificate program, use the code SCL-HHS at check-out.