The Optimization Services Project on COIN-OR
by Bob Fourer
Abstract: Each modern optimization modeling system has developed its own way of representing problem instances. As a result, each optimization solver package requires a separate "driver" for every supported modeling system.
We describe Optimization Services (OS), a unified framework for a new generation of distributed optimization systems that make solvers readily available over the Internet. OS incorporates XML-based standards for representing and communicating optimization problem information, so that only a single driver is required for each solver. Components of OS include OSiL, a new XML-based representation for optimization problem instances, and OSInstance, a corresponding in-memory representation. An open-source library hosted by the COIN-OR software repository (www.coin-or.org) provides application programming interfaces for reading and writing OSiL and OSInstance and for converting between them. Related languages and libraries handle the passing of options to solvers and the retrieval of results, as well as protocols for facilitating solver registration, client and scheduler discovery, and communication between the various components of the optimization process. Recent work has focused on the requirements of systems that automatically analyze optimization problems and match them with appropriate solvers.
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