Entries by Ash Nelson

Cross-platform development

During the course of developing Biarri’s flagship Workbench product, we’ve taken pains to ensure that our (GUI-less) optimisation “engines” work well under both Windows and Linux operating systems (so-called cross-platform). This turns out to be relatively easy as long as you stay away from the big OS-specific frameworks (e.g. Microsoft’s MFC/COM/ATL etc). We’ve picked up […]

The Launch of Biarri’s WorkBench

With the impending launch of Biarri’s workbench and our ongoing close relationship with Schweppes for the daily routing of soft drink deliveries (an application of perhaps the most well known operations research problem: the vehicle routing problem), I thought that the following excerpt from a journal article submitted to the Asia Pacific Journal of Operations […]

Biari Workbench Technology Stack

Over the course of developing our Workbench solution we’ve adopted a powerful set of interconnecting components. It’s worth mentioning what these are and how they fit together. Almost all the components of the stack are free and/or open source. We want to be as platform independent as possible and not get too locked in to […]

The ‘L’ Shaped Excel Graph

  I recently had to develop a graphical report in Excel that was required to fit perfectly on a single A4 page for printing purposes. A lot of information was supposed to fit on this page, so using the space well was very important. After the initial formatting was reviewed it was decided that one […]

An IDE for Python

For some time now I have been trying to find a decent IDE with step-through debugging support for Python. I’ve wanted it for Linux, but Windows support would also be a bonus. There’s some debate about the need for an IDE for Python, which (as a veteran of C++ development with Visual Studio) I am […]

Choosing a web framework

In the ongoing evolution of the workbench I’ve solved some interesting problems and found some hard ones I haven’t solved yet. I also made some poor choices and later found more elegant solutions. All this is a learning process and I’d like to share some of those findings in this series. I’ll cover templates, web […]

Javascript: It’s actually pretty decent.

I admit it, the ‘Java’ in the word JavaScript has previously put me off. However, it turns out it really is rather nice and with some searching you can find some good documentation! In our midst we have a language with more in common with scheme and lisp than Java or VB! And, it’s wonderful […]

Merging PostScript (.ps) files

I recently had to merge the output of a bunch of academic papers I had written in Latex. Each file uses a document class from a range of academic journals (has its own title, abstract, bibliography etc). I could have made a single Latex file and shoe horned each individual file into it, but I […]

Thoughts on Point Solutions

Lately I have been thinking a bit about the advantages of small, tightly focussed web apps (so-called “point solutions”) that scratch a single little itch, versus larger, more powerful and general web apps that tend to deliver more of a total body rub. This question is of utmost importance to a company like Biarri that […]

Re-solving Linear Programs with COIN-OR

I recently had to go from solving a Linear Program (LP) once only, to modifying the problem and re-solving it multiple times. I was using the excellent open source COIN-OR libraries as my interface (OSI) and solver (CLP). I found that you will get obscure-looking crashes (though, to be sure, I am using the downloaded […]