Free Python optimization framework

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Introducing OpenOpt GUI

I'm glad to introduce initial version of OpenOpt GUI.

I had some months of GUI experience in PyGTK and tcl/tk so I have some experience in GUI development; on the other hand I know very well what's the deuce it is: you have to try all possible combinations of buttons (and the dummy task is NP-Hard of course) to ensure all works ok, to enable/disable buttons in correct order, to story related variables etc.

For OO I decided to use Tkinter, because it doesn't require any additional soft installation (it is included in Python distribution).

I had took a look at AMPL and GAMS GUIs before starting my own one, and of course I have no intention to duplicate Python IDEs.

Running OO GUI is performed via

r = p.manage()

instead of p.solve(), or via

from scikits.openopt import manage
r = manage(p, solver, ...)

Let me also note: manage() can handle named argument start = {False}/True/0/1, that means start w/o waiting for user-pressed "Run".

Currently there are only 3 buttons: "Run/Pause", "Exit" and "Enough".
As you probably know lots of solvers have troubles with stop criteria. Especially it's relevant to NSP solvers, where calculating derivatives only for to check stop criteria isn't a good idea. So pressing "Enough" button yields triggering of stop criterion, like this:
solver: ralg problem: GUI_example goal: minimum
iter objFunVal log10(maxResidual)
102 5.542e+01 -6.10
istop: 88 (button Enough has been pressed)
Solver: Time Elapsed = 1.19 CPU Time Elapsed = 1.12
Plotting: Time Elapsed = 6.86 CPU Time Elapsed = 5.97
objFunValue: 55.423444 (feasible, max constraint = 7.98936e-07)

Let me also note that
  • pressing "Exit" before "Enough" and before solver finish will return None, so there will be no fields r.ff, r.xf etc.
  • for some IDEs pressing "Exit" doesn't close matplotlib window (if you are using p.plot=1). You should either wait for newer matplotlib version (they intend to fix it) or try to fix it by yourself via choosing correct Agg, see here for details
  • OO Doc webpage entry related to OO GUI will be committed later
  • you could play with the GUI example by yourself

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