AnalyticSolver.com and Analytic Solver Platform Differences
Analytic Solver Platform and AnalyticSolver.com offer the same basic functionality for creating and evaluating decision trees, using Expected Value or Certainty Equivalent calculations, and the dialog boxes for creating, deleting or editing tree nodes are very similar in both cases. But they are visually somewhat different.
In Analytic Solver Platform, decision trees are created on the Excel spreadsheet (which has a "graphics layer"). In AnalyticSolver.com, decision trees are created in a separate window that "pops up" in front of the spreadsheet grid. In both cases, rollback calculations are performed via worksheet cell formulas. But in Excel the graphic nodes are visually "next to" the related worksheet cells; in AnalyticSolver.com, the nodes are in the pop-up window. Since the node-worksheet cell relationships are maintained, you can create a decision tree in desktop Excel, save and upload the workbook to AnalyticSolver.com, and immediately see and work with that decision tree in the pop-up window.
If you are on a different worksheet and you click the tab for a worksheet that contains a decision tree (created and saved in either AnalyticSolver.com or Analytic Solver Platform in Excel), the window will pop up to display the tree. Clicking the Close button hides the window, clicking the Decision Tree button on the Ribbon displays it again.
Because array formulas are not yet supported in the spreadsheet grid, you cannot use the (array-entered) TABLE function to perform sensitivity analysis on decision trees in AnalyticSolver.com, as you can in Excel. However, with a little care, you can perform Monte Carlo simulations on decision tree models. The built-in Grant Decision Analysis workbook ("Exploring Decision Risk" worksheet) is an illustration of this.
All of the Ribbon options for forecasting, data mining, and text mining functionality of XLMiner Platform in Excel are
also available in AnalyticSolver.com, and the dialog boxes that appear for each menu function are virtually identical.
The main difference is that charts "pop up" in front of the worksheets In AnalyticSolver.com, instead of being
"embedded in" the worksheets as they are in desktop Excel.
- The Explore dropdown menu includes the Chart Wizard, but the Chart Wizard displays only one chart type at a time, and does not yet have the ability to create, name and save multi-chart layouts.
- The Help dropdown menu has different options in Excel versus AnalyticSolver.com.
The XLMiner Get Data button options (Worksheet, Database, File Folder, Big Data) are all available. Users with student licenses (who entered a Textbook Code and Course Code) will have access to Frontline's SQL Azure database when Get Data - Database is chosen, and to Frontline's Apache Spark Big Data cluster when Get Data - Big Data is chosen, without having to enter login credentials.
- Distributions: All of the continuous, discrete, and custom distributions are available except PsiGeneral, PsiHistogram, PsiDiscrete and PsiDisUniform (these four take array constants as arguments).
- Correlations: Rank-order correlation and Gaussian copula correlation are available, but Student and Archimedean copulas are not. The Correlation Matrix dialog allows entry of coefficients, but does not yet draw histograms or scatterplots in cells. When a correlation matrix is saved, it can be converted to PSD (positive semi-definite) form, but the PSD "adjustment preferences" for coefficients are not yet available.
- Results: All of the Statistics, Risk Measures, Range and Six Sigma functions are available. These Psi functions accept the simulation index as a second argument, and will display results across multiple simulations if desired.
- Decisions: All menu options are available. In Decisions Plot, variable bounds from the model are not automatically recognized, but you can (and should) enter lower and upper bounds in the dialog.
- Constraints: The Constraint Wizard is not yet available; however all options for Normal, Chance, Variable Type and Bound constraints are available. The Monitored Cells option will enter PsiOptValue() calls in cells, but these function calls do not yet display results across multiple optimizations (this is coming soon).
- Objective: All menu options are available.
- Parameters: All menu options are available, including Parameters Identify.
- Simulate: Interactive Simulation is not available (it would be too slow with round-trips to the front-end and back-end servers). Clicking the button runs one or multiple simulations, based on the Platform tab settings.
- Optimize: Analyze Transformed Model is not yet available, but all other menu options are available (Analyze Original Model, Solve Complete Problem, Solve Without Integer Constraints, Solve for Recourse Variables).
- Create App: Menu options Rason.com and Web Page are available, but RASON IDE wouldn't make sense.
- Reports: The Answer, Sensitivity, and Feasibility reports are available for optimization, and the Simulation and Simulation Trial Data reports are available. But the Population, Solutions, and Limits reports are not yet available. All of the Parameter Analysis Reports are available.
- Charts: All the chart options in Analytic Solver Platform are available.
- Decision Tree: All basic decision tree functions are available -- see the discussion above.
- Fit and Dist: Distribution fitting and creation of DISTs are available.
- Publish: Publishing models from AnalyticSolver.com to Excel Online or Google Sheets is not yet available.
- Load/Save: The Load Model and Save Model options are available, but only the Classic (Excel Solver compatible) format is supported. The Load Solution and Save Solution options are not yet available.
- Reset All: This button (effective for optimization models) is available.
- Sim #, Trial, Opt# These are available to select a specific simulation or optimization, or a specific simulation trial when multiple simulations or optimizations are run. But Trial display options (All/Normal/Error Trials, Sample Mean and Base Case) are not yet available.
In Analytic Solver Platform in Excel, the Task Pane is automatically refreshed by a separate "thread" that watches for changes to the worksheet. In AnalyticSolver.com, you'll need to click the Refresh button in the Task Pane to update it for the latest worksheet changes. This is especially important if you insert or delete rows or columns, or type Psi function calls manually into worksheet cells.
- Model tab: At present, the Model tab is "read only": You cannot edit decision variables, constraints, uncertain variables, etc. in the bottom area of the Task Pane. When you choose Analyze (Original) Model, the model type (LP, QP, NLP, etc.) and size are reported, but detailed dependency information is not yet reported.
- Platform tab: Most commonly-used options for Optimization Models, Simulation Models, Decision Trees, Model Transformations, and Default Bounds are available. But the (desktop) Excel Interpreter, some other options, and the Diagnosis, Advanced, and General option groups are not yet available.
- Engine tab: Essentially all options are available for all built-in and plug-in Solver Engines, except the OptQuest Solver Engine.
- Output tab: Log messages, statistics such as solve time and subproblems explored, and a running chart of the objective during optimizations are available. Buttons are available to solve or simulate, stop/interrupt the run, reset decision variables, and clear the log. Other buttons such as Analyze model, Copy log to Clipboard, Export to Tableau or Power BI, and the "improve solution" function for robust optimization are not yet available.