The aim of Faster Coin is to make Optimization software go faster. The main emphasis is on improving performance when using the world's fastest Open Source software for Operations Analysis and Optimization at coin-or.org. The main expertise of Faster Coin is in the Cbc (Coin Branch and Cut) and Clp (Coin LP) areas. This is not too surprising as John Forrest wrote most of this code (although you can see his marks on CoinUtils and Cgl as well).
The Open Source software from coin-or can be used at no cost and with no restrictions for commercial use. Although Cbc and Clp are designed to give good performance with no special tuning, it is nearly always possible to get improved performance when one particular application needs to be solved many times with different data but the same structure. Faster Coin can help in several ways -
- We can suggest non standard settings for various parameters. It has been pointed out by various people that the authors of the code do not always provide good documentation and at least one has been known to use "hidden" parameters.
- It may be possible to make a minor modification to code to improve performance on a particular class of problem, while not hurting performance on other types of problem.
- If the problem has special characteristics e.g. many more rows than columns (or vice versa) or if most of the model can be decompose into smaller models then hand crafted drivers can improve performance by orders of a magnitude.
- For integer problems it is often possible to create heuristics which will greatly improve performance.