Switching from OPL

AMPL is a great alternative to OPL, whether you are just starting out or are looking to switch away from OPL. This page overviews why migrating from OPL™ and CPLEX™ to AMPL™ and Gurobi is both useful and likely easier than you think.


For existing OPL users, there are key reasons to consider converting to AMPL. OPL was inspired by AMPL and is based largely on the same concepts, which makes migration easier than one might expect. The fundamental thinking about the model, and therefore how it is structured, is similar across both languages.

People choosing between AMPL and OPL for a new model will generally find it easier to get up and running with AMPL, and find the process of building a model is more streamlined with AMPL than with OPL. In addition, AMPL offers a comprehensive book, available for free online, that provides a complete tutorial introduction to the language’s many features.

Below is a summary of some key comparisons between AMPL and OPL. We are of course happy to talk about your unique situation and answer any questions you may have.

  • With AMPL, new projects get up and running faster and easier. AMPL has a more streamlined design than OPL, and much more extensive tutorial material (in the comprehensive AMPL book).
  • AMPL has a more truly interactive interface than OPL, facilitating development and testing. Any AMPL statement can be executed interactively from the command line, providing greater flexibility than OPL in troubleshooting modeling issues.
  • AMPL's scripting language is integrated with its modeling language, simplifying the transition from formulation to application development and testing. When the model is built, it is easy to use intuitive scripts to read, calculate, and write data, as well as output tables. This contrasts with OPL's use of an entirely separate scripting language based on JavaScript.
  • AMPL is an independent modeling system that does not lock the user into IBM's solver offerings. This allows you to choose the industry's arguably best solver, Gurobi, and still get the benefits you want from a modeling language. In addition to its support for Gurobi, AMPL offers full support for general-purpose nonlinear solvers that have no counterparts among IBM's products.
  • AMPL focuses on optimization modeling and leaves other aspects of development to whatever tools a user is already familiar with. By contrast, OPL is part of a complex proprietary development system (ODM) that requires a much greater degree of specialized expertise.

Conclusion

Like Gurobi, AMPL is focused on doing one thing really well. As a result, when you choose Gurobi and AMPL you know you are getting one of the best modeling/solver combinations available today, with a strong history of ongoing improvements and great support. Just as importantly, this single-minded focus helps ensure that today's smart choice is also the right long-term choice.

Contact us at info@gurobi.com and we will be happy to arrange a free, no-obligation evaluation of Gurobi and AMPL.