Category Intelligent Software>Genetic Algorithm Systems/Tools

Abstract Evolver is an optimization add-in for Microsoft Excel. Evolver offers innovative genetic algorithm (GA) technology that can be used to solve complex optimization problems in finance, distribution, scheduling, resource allocation, manufacturing, budgeting, engineering, and more.

Virtually any type of problem that can be modeled in Excel can be solved by Evolver. Product requires No knowledge of programming or GA theory and ships with a fully illustrated manual and several examples.

Evolver is available in two (2) versions: Professional and Industrial. The Professional and Industrial versions have problem capacities and advanced features. The Professional version supports up to 250 adjustable variables, and the Industrial version supports an unlimited number of variables.

In addition, the Professional and Industrial versions include the Evolver Developer’s Kit (see Evolver Developer’s Kit below) and auto-mutation rate adjustment.

Genetic Algorithms and Evolution -- In nature, we can observe “problems” being solved through evolution; species evolve as they adapt to dynamic environments. This observation can be extended into the world of computer software via Evolver.

Evolver uses innovative GA technology to create environments where possible solutions continuously crossbreed, mutate, and compete with one another, until they “evolve” into the best solution. As a result, Evolver can be used to find optimal solutions to virtually any type of problem, from the simple to the most complex.

Evolver includes six (6) highly specialized algorithms for different types of problems:

1) Recipe - a set of variables which can change independently. Like ingredients in a cooking recipe, they are combined to find the best mix.

2) Grouping - a collection of elements to be placed into groups. For example, place workers into groups to perform different jobs, or group stocks into equally valued bundles.

3) Order - an ordered list of elements. For example, the order in which a school lets students choose their classes, or the optimal order to execute several interdependent tasks.

4) Budget - recipe algorithm, but total is kept constant.

5) Project - order algorithm, but some elements precede others.

6) Schedule - group algorithm, but assign elements to blocks of time while meeting certain constraints.

How Evolver Works - Evolver solves optimization problems using genetic algorithms. In a genetic algorithm, each guess or possible solution to a given problem becomes an independent “organism” that can “breed” with other organisms.

The spreadsheet model acts as an environment for the organisms, determining which are “fit” enough to survive based on their results. Here is a brief description of the process:

1) Randomly generate many organisms (possible solutions), and calculate the result each organism produces. This entire “population” of organisms is ranked from best to worst.

2) Select good organisms and swap their variables (genes) using crossover and mutation to produce “offspring”. If offspring do Not produce a good result, two (2) more parents are selected.

3) If the offspring organism is good, it is re-inserted into the population.

As Evolver repeats steps 2 and 3, the population “evolves” increasingly optimal solutions.

What Evolver Can Do - Evolver can find optimal solutions to any function that results in a number, whether calculated in a single cell, a full sheet of equations, or the result of some large, complex macro.

Evolver’s GA doesn’t need to know the specific details of your problem, or even whether it is solving linear, nonlinear, stochastic (random), combinatorial, noisy, or probabilistic functions. It doesn’t even need a starting guess to get going. Just click “Optimize” and the rest is automatic!

The Evolver Watcher - During an optimization, you can bring up the Evolver Watcher. The Evolver Watcher is a separate application that monitors your computer for all Evolver activity, whether it is being called from Excel or from your own application (see Evolver Developer’s Kit below…).

It allows you to change the algorithm parameters, explore the population, and display graphs, charts, and complete reports on the status of your problem. These graphs update automatically while Evolver is running.

Auto-Mutation Rates - Professional and Industrial versions of Evolver feature auto-mutation rate adjustment. The mutation rate determines the amount of randomness Evolver uses when generating new solutions. Evolver Professional and Industrial can monitor progress toward an optimal solution and adjust the mutation rate appropriately.

Selectable Genetic Operators - Professional and Industrial versions of Evolver also allow users to select from a variety of available genetic operators, including heuristic crossover, extinction, boundary mutations, local search, and others.

Choose the best operator for your specific problem to find the optimal answer more efficiently. Using an advanced auto-operator feature, Evolver can test all available operators and identify the best-performing one for a specific model.

What’s New in Evolver --

Included in the DecisionTools Suite (an additional product from this manufacturer...) or by itself, Evolver is an advanced genetic algorithm optimization tool. Featuring a new interface, support for cell ranges, and better real-time reporting, Evolver raises the bar for optimization software.

New Evolver 5.7 is fully compatible with 64-bit Excel 2010. 64-bit technology enables Excel and Evolver to access much more computer memory than ever before. This allows for vastly larger models and greater computational power.

Evolver 5.7 has also been fully translated into Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, Japanese, and Chinese.

1) Streamlined Interface - The all-new Evolver interface minimizes the need for nested dialogs. Most model definition and optimization settings can be controlled from their main dialogs.

2) Range Support - Evolver allows you to define constraints and adjustable cell minimums and maximums with cell ranges, greatly simplifying model definition.

3) Progress Watcher - During optimization, Evolver gives you two (2) ways of monitoring your progress - the summary Evolver Progress dialog and the detailed Evolver Watcher showing real-time reports in tabbed format.

4) Original, Best, Last Updating - After optimization, Evolver can update your entire spreadsheet model with values generated for the original, best, and last solutions. This lets you quickly switch between different scenarios in your model.

5) Application Settings - Evolver Application Settings on the Utilities menu contains customizable defaults such as reports, stopping defaults, goal settings, runtime settings, and more.

Evolver Developer's Kit - The Evolver Developer Kit (EDK) is Palisade's optimization programming toolkit. The EDK allows you to build genetic algorithm (GA) optimization models using Windows and .NET programming languages, such as C, C#, C++, Visual Basic, or Visual Basic .NET.

Examples of programs written in Windows and .NET programming languages are provided.

The EDK offers access to all of the optimization technology available in one of the world's fastest genetic algorithm-based solvers, Evolver. It can be used to easily create custom applications that include genetic algorithm optimization, such as job shop scheduling, investment portfolio analysis, budget allocation, and many more.

Unlike the Excel version of Evolver, the EDK does Not require a spreadsheet to perform optimization. This means user models can be larger and execute faster. All optimization results can be accessed programmatically, directly in the developer's application.

EDK applications can be run in a desktop, network server, or web environment. Furthermore, the EDK fully supports multithreading to allow the development of scalable web applications.

Models built using the EDK run optimizations and generate results entirely in the user's program. Genetic operators that drive the optimization may be chosen by the programmer as well.

System Requirements

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Manufacturer Web Site Palisade Corporation

Price Contact manufacturer.

G6G Abstract Number 20049U57

G6G Manufacturer Number 102058