One of the central trends in the optimization community over the past several years has been the steady improvement of general-purpose solvers. A logical next step in this evolution is to combine mixed integer linear programming, constraint programming, and global optimization in a single system. Recent research in the area of integrated problem solving suggests that the right combination of different technologies can simplify modeling and speed up computation substantially. Nevertheless, integration often requires special purpose coding, which is time-consuming and error-prone. We present a general purpose solver, SIMPL, that allows its user to replicate (and sometimes improve on) the results of custom implementations with concise models written in a high-level language. We apply SIMPL to production planning, product configuration, machine scheduling, and truss structure design problems on which customized integrated methods have shown significant computational advantage. We obtain results that either match or surpass the original codes at a fraction of the implementation effort.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jnhooker/31/