mercredi 22 février 2012

Local Solver is out

LocalSolver is a back-box commercial local search solver developed at Bouygues.
It's free for academics but since I'm not academic I cannot fully try it. Here are some thoughts after reading a bit their website:
It seems very nice and the results are quite impressive but to me it doesn't mean that tree search methods are dead.
Approaches like LNS (large neighborhood search) are very powerful to explore complex neighborhood with tree search methods like CP.
Also counting the number of 0-1 variables and the number of moves per second is not the argument that I prefer to judge the quality of the solution I can potentially get with a solver.
I prefer much more to have some kind of control to do very complex moves and self designed search as CBLS in Comet.
The thesis of Sebastien Mouthuy "Constraint-based very Large-Scale Neighborhood Search" is very nice on this topic of building very complex moves.
Anyway, it's always a good news to see new technology in optimization coming out. I'm looking forward to read feedback or user experience from the local search community. Maybe this will become the future "cplex" for local search i.e. a kind of standard benchmarking tool...

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