Re: gnumeric-list Digest, Vol 59, Issue 21

gnumeric-list-request gnome org wrote:
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2009 11:12:55 -0600
From: "Andreas J. Guelzow" <aguelzow math concordia ab ca>
Subject: Re: gnumeric-list Digest, Vol 59, Issue 21

According to the Gnumeric solver dialog, the solver uses a simplex
algorithm to optimize the function. I really don't think that is the
right tool for your kind of problem.

Which kind of algorithm is used by OpenOffice Calc and/or Excel? 
According to the microsoft web site, Solver in Excel uses the "Generalized Reduced Gradient Algorithm". The solver plugin is written by Frontline Systems (

The Solver for Nonlinear Programming extension for OpenOffice consists of two independent algorithms: Differential Evolution and Particle Swarm Optimization. For more information see:
(I doubt that there is a general solver that will "converge in seconds" for an arbitrary problem.)
Well Andreas, I certainly respect your academic skepticism. Indeed, there is no reason to either accept or doubt my claim. Rather, I encourage you to check the veracity of my report yourself (presuming you have access to a computer with excel).  The article and the spreadsheet are available on line at  Once you go the article, you will see a link to the spreadsheet. So please feel free (indeed obligated by your publicly stated doubt of my report) to download that spreadsheet, set the Fourier coefficients to some new values, and then run solver yourself. Please let us know how quickly it converges for you. When I reset the coefficients for the 1st order approximation to zero solver finds the solution almost instantaneously. Perhaps that is somehow related to the fact that solver has done the approximation before on my computer and has access to that solution history. So please try it from scratch on your computer.


James C. Martin PhD
Associate Professor
The Neuromuscular Function Lab
Department of Exercise and Sport Science
College of Health
The University of Utah
250 S. 1850 E. Room 241
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84112-0920
Voice 801-587-7704
Fax 801-585-3992
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