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GAMS Developement @ the LIINES — Practical Implementation Advice on Mac OS X, Linux and Windows

One major disciplinary expertise at the Laboratory for the Intelligent Integrated Networks for Engineering Systems is operations management and research.  Naturally, using optimization techniques in the form of mathematical programming is an essential aspect of this competence.  One really useful software package to allow the straightforward numerical optimization is the General Algebraic Modeling System (GAMS) and it has been used extensively in the smart power grid application domain.  Many researchers in the field also link Matlab to GAMS using the former for data processing and results visualization and the latter as a solver.

The implementations at the LIINES, however, have some challenging implementation demands.  For example, model predictive control problems require the solution of a numerical optimization at every discrete time step simulation evolution.  When Matlab calls GAMS — on the Windows platform — it spawns a new graphical user interface integrated development environment (GUI-IDE) window (and all associated dynamic link libraries).  This slows down simulation tremendously.  Even worse, the Windows OS may not be able to reliably handle these repeated calls leading to a crash of the simulation.  Trust us, when you are many hours into a fully automatic simulation, that’s hardly what you are looking for.

Fortunately, the GAMS version of Linux and Mac OS X does not have a GUI-IDE and runs purely from the command line.  We have found this to be not just faster for simulation but also much more stable when tied to MATLAB.  We highly suggest this approach.

Now some will say, that they need the GAMS GUI-IDE for development.  We agree that this can be useful!  Fortunately, you can have the best of both worlds.  Use the command line native Linux/Mac OS X version for reliable simulation.  In the meantime, a Windows version installed over WINE can be used purely for development.  The GAMS support page provides very clear installation instructions here.

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LIINES Websitehttp://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu

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Happy New Year 2014! Lots of News to Come!

Dear Readers,

Happy New Year 2014!  Last year was quite the successful year for the LIINES.  At times the news was coming in so fast that we could hardly keep up with this blog.  Needless to say some of the news didn’t quite make it up.  In the meantime, 2014 appears to be no different.  So in the coming days and weeks, we hope to keep you up to date with the latest news.  And in all fairness to all LIINES researchers, we will highlight some of the accomplishments of 2013 as well.  .

Best,

Prof. Amro M. Farid

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LIINES Websitehttp://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu

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