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Innovative Serbian software solution for complex optimization problems as an internet service

Country of Origin: Serbia
Reference Number: TORS20180313001
Publication Date: 13 March 2018

Summary

A Serbian spin-off R&D company developed an innovative internet service for solving complex optimization problems, without investing in hardware and with significantly lower level of required expertise in the field of optimization and high performance computing. Implementation of this innovation eliminates the need for initial investment in equipment, and reduces personnel costs by 80%. The company is interested in joint venture or a commercial agreement with technical support.

Description

A small Serbian R&D company was established as a spin-off company from University of Kragujevac, which through an academic-business cooperation developed this innovative software solution. Three members of the company are university professors, experts in optimization methods and high performance computing with 20 years of experience in developing industrial software solutions. The company has also sales manager with ten years of experience in business and management sector, as well as one economist. The company’s greatest achievement so far, is development of a comprehensive software solution for measurement analysis and production optimization at the hydroelectric power plants "Iron Gate" on Danube river, which is expected to lead to an increase in revenues by more than 10 million euros per year.
Solving complex optimization problems has so far been a privilege of large companies and research institutions, which can afford specialized expert teams and necessary computing infrastructure. Due to inability to provide adequate human and hardware resources, smaller companies and institutions are forced to avoid optimization of their business procedures, or to rely on commercially available solutions. However, those solutions are usually limited in terms of problem complexity and generality, due to employment of inadequate optimization methods and deficiency of high performance computing (HPC) resources.
The innovative solution is an internet service for solving complex optimization problems without investing in hardware and with significantly lower level of required expertise in the field of optimization and high performance computing. The system has been developed as a service for distributed execution of evolutionary algorithms in the cloud environment, which hides the details of the implementation from users, and enables the use of the service without knowing the optimization theory and HPC techniques.
The user through the web portal defines optimization problem and initiate optimization procedure in the cloud environment without the need to know the details of the optimization methods. Providing this service is possible thanks to the company’s innovation in the form of a software system for solving complex optimization problems on high performance computers, which consists of:
• the framework for parallel execution of the evolutionary algorithms
• evolutionary algorithms library
• the component in charge of elastic allocation of the distributed HPC/cloud resources
• optimization service which exposes functionalities of library.
• user exposed web application for optimization management and monitoring.
• web application for administration, monitoring and management of work binder service.
By accessing manager instance, the user defines the optimization problem and initiate optimization procedure. The execution of the optimization task itself is left to the framework, which hides the complexities of the optimization method and underlying computing infrastructure. The user has the ability to follow the progress of the optimization process within manager, through its common numerical and graphical elements expressing the current status. Hardware infrastructure capabilities, if desired, can be managed using the web application.
The innovative software solution will be introduced to market as a pay-per-use service.
The company is interested in partnering with HPC companies and cloud services providers through commercial agreement with technical assistance, since that already operate in the company’s target markets and their offer is compatible with the company’s offer. For incorporation of an innovative solution in their business, the company offers partner companies a percentage of each sale made.
The company is also interested in a joint venture agreement with the appropriate partners in order to further develop the service, its adaptation to specific areas of use, and a joint presence on the selected market.

Advantages and Innovations

The technological novelty is reflected in the following:
• Service oriented architecture (SOA) approach to the optimization software, which allows the optimization methods to be exposed as an internet service.
• Fully automatic allocation of the computing resources on high performance computing (HPC) or cloud infrastructure, which provides enough computing power hiding the implementation details from the user.
• Frugal utilization of the computing resources in accordance with the current service load, resulting in financial and energy savings up to 50%.
A business novelty is in the offer of the optimization in the form of service that can be accessed over internet.
The advantages of this innovative service are that the user:
• Can define the optimization problem in an easy-to-understand way, and then runs and monitors the execution of the optimization process,
• Does not have to acquire high-performance computing resources, whose price ranges from 50,000 to 250,000 EUR,
• Does not have operating costs and costs of maintaining computer resources (administration, electricity, repairs, improvement etc.),
• Does not have to hire costly and hard-to-reach experts in the field of optimization and HPC computing. The engagement of such an interdisciplinary team amounts to 200,000 EUR per year,
• Can pay for resources only in periods when optimization services are needed,
• Can independently determine the amount of engaged computer resources, so that it can get the solution within acceptable time frames.

Stage Of Development

Available for demonstration

Stage Of Development Comment

The product as a whole corresponds to technology readiness level (TRL) 7 stage of development, and it was demonstrated in operational environment.

Requested partner

Type: Industry 

Activity: Cloud services providers, providers of HPC services

Role: in commercial agreement with technical assistance, it is expected from partner to include the company’s product, optimization as a service, into their portfolio and offer it as a service to their existing customers.
In joint venture agreement, it is expected from partner participate in customizing the company’s service to specific areas of use and joint appearance in these markets.

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