By Ana-Iulia Alexandrescu

In conjunction with the INFORMS Annual Meeting in Charlotte, N.C., the COIN-OR community held its annual award ceremony to reward the best contribution to the COIN-OR suite. COIN-OR (Computational Infrastructure for Operations Research) is an initiative to promote the development of open software, models, standards and data sets for the operations research community, and it involves members from both academia and industry.

Pietro Belotti, chair of the Award Committee, announced that this year’s award went to Andrew Mason from the University of Auckland and Iain Dunning, currently at the MIT Center for Operations Research, for OpenSolver, a linear and integer optimization solver for Microsoft Excel. OpenSolver harnesses the power of the COIN-OR CBC optimization engine and is compatible with Excel 2003, 2007 and 2010.

Since neither Mason nor Dunning could attend this year’s meeting, the award – a cup full of coins – was accepted by Ted Ralphs on their behalf. In his speech delivered on Mason’s behalf, Ralphs highlighted the rapid traction OpenSolver gained in the O.R. community, going from zero downloads 18 months ago to roughly 30 downloads per day. Ralphs also mentioned the release of the beta version of OpenSolver Studio that allows users to use Excel maneuver models built using the Python-based PuLP modeling language, which provides a more elegant solution for modeling complex optimization problems.

The ceremony was sponsored by IBM.