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What is Octeract Engine?

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4 min read

This post aims to provide an outline of Octeract Engine by breaking down its purpose and value to users.  

Our product outline of Octeract Engine will include:

How it works
What makes it a champion solver
How this could be applied to your industry
How to take it for a test drive

Let’s get started.

What does it do?


Octeract Engine is a global optimisation solver.  It has the ability to guarantee a globally optimal solution for any mixed-integer non-linear problem.  This might seem like a lot to digest, so let’s dive deeper into how the Engine works.

Every optimisation problem can be represented in a mathematical format.  If we cast our minds back to the good ol’ (school) days, this type of problem involves a function.  The maximum or minimum values for this function need to be determined, given some set of constraints.  High school maths recap done.  

Optimisation problems are a reality in any industry.  Octeract Engine is able to take an optimisation problem, convert the math into solver format, and provide a solution that satisfies the constraints. This solution is the global optimum, the best possible solution to that optimisation problem.  This solution allows users to make the best business decision possible.  Guaranteed.

Some problems are harder than others to solve.  Non-linear problems are notorious for their complex nature.  Octeract Engine is, however, up for the challenge. In a matter of seconds, the Engine makes light work of some of the hardest known optimisation problems.

Champion Solver

At this point, you might be thinking that Octeract Engine functions the same way as any other solver.  However, it has some unique features which allow it to stand out from other solvers in the optimisation space.  

For starters, the Engine is natively parallel so it can use thousands of Central Processing Units (CPUs) to increase the probability of finding a feasible solution quickly.  Furthermore, Octeract Engine can prove or disprove infeasibility of the optimisation problem, so that the user can know whether they need to change their optimisation model.  These features save the user time and improve the accuracy of decisions made.

As mentioned earlier, the Engine can solve any general mixed-integer non-linear problem.  In addition to this, Octeract Engine can solve any discontinuous, non-convex problem.  These problems are not only complex and difficult to solve, but they will cause most solvers to crash unless the user does some clever math in advance.

The Engine takes these challenging problems and guarantees a globally optimal solution without user intervention.  This is a rare quality that puts Octeract Engine in another league. 

Octeract Engine also has a built-in reformulator with over 175 reformulations.  This is among the highest number of reformulations implemented in a solver.  The built-in reformulator automatically simplifies any optimisation problem, making it easier to solve.  Octeract Engine also has a really user-friendly Python API which renders this tool accessible and intuitive to users.  Speaking of user-friendly, the Engine can directly read and write different files and can convert file formats, hassle-free. This goes a long way in breaking down the technology barrier between a user’s optimisation problem and finding a globally optimal solution. 

These features make Octeract Engine a unique deterministic global optimisation solver.  

Industrial Applications

Optimisation problems exist in every industry. This is not always obvious, but they are there. When decision-makers face the challenge of using data insights to make effective business decisions, that’s an optimisation problem. This is a daily struggle.

Price optimisation, for example, is a pervasive problem. The airline industry made this problem quite famous, by trying to achieve the best ticket price possible at all times. This type of problem is typically non-linear.  It involves finding the optimal price for each ticket, in order to maximise revenue. Furthermore, that optimal price will need to enable an airline company to have a competitive advantage against other airline companies. This strategy can be scientifically determined by combining optimisation and data science: data insights are fed to an optimisation framework to generate the right pricing strategy. Based on that strategy, the optimisation solver can generate optimal prices on demand. This is a simple example of a global optimisation problem faced by revenue management decision makers in the airline industry.

Price optimisation is one of many global optimisation problems decision-makers experience.  Octeract Engine is applicable across the board, as it boasts the ability to solve some of the toughest mixed-integer non-linear problems out there.

How to try it out

The best way to understand the value of Octeract Engine is to try it out for yourself.  Why not put the Engine to the test? You can request a trial of the full product.  All you need to do is complete a simple form – this takes less than a minute. From there, you can enjoy the experience of having your problems solved in a snap. Don’t hesitate to let us know your thoughts.

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