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JuMP, a modeling language with roots at MIT Sloan, achieves a new milestone in the open source community with its acceptance as a NumFOCUS sponsored project


JuMP, a modeling language with roots at MIT Sloan, achieves a new milestone in the open source community with its acceptance as a NumFOCUS sponsored project

The designation increases JuMP's visibility and status, and helps it attract funding

PR Newswire

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Aug. 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- MIT Sloan School of Management announced today that JuMP—a mathematical modeling language developed at the school and MIT's Operations Research Center (ORC)—has been accepted as a NumFOCUS sponsored project, a designation that elevates the technology's profile within the open-source community.

JuMP is an award-winning project started by ORC students Iain Dunning, Joey Huchette, and Miles Lubin. JuMP has already been used to route school buses in Boston, schedule trains in Canada, and improve sustainable energy production in North and South America. Its acceptance for sponsorship by NumFOCUS is likely to expand JuMP's influence even further.

"This designation is an acknowledgement of the impact and maturity of JuMP, but more importantly, it is a vote of confidence in its future," says Juan Pablo Vielma, Associate Professor of Operations Research and Statistics at MIT Sloan. "Being a NumFOCUS sponsored project will increase JuMP's visibility, help it garner more resources, and recruit more people to work on the technology."

Even the most successful open source projects have difficulty developing the operational framework required for long-term sustainability. To remedy this, NumFOCUS acts as umbrella organization and financial backer for a select group of projects, which helps them attract additional funding via donations and grants. JuMP's participation in NumFOCUS will be coordinated by a steering committee composed by JuMP community members, Oscar Dowson of the University of Auckland and Changhyun Kwon, of the University of South Florida, as well as Prof. Vielma and Huchette and Lubin.

JuMP's design leverages advanced features of the Julia programming language (also a NumFOCUS sponsored project developed at MIT) to allow users to express complex mathematical optimization problems with a natural notation that mirrors what a user might write on paper. Through this convenient and expressive syntax, JuMP lets users access advanced tools that were previously restricted to low-level proprietary interfaces.

"It began as a modeling language but its ecosystem has since expanded to include auxiliary tools and solvers," says Vielma. "Its ease-of-use, its power, and its state-of-the-art techniques make it an ideal language for a variety of different research and business environments."

JuMP's inclusion in NumFOCUS also aligns with JuMP's global and collaborative nature. JuMP's development team now includes over a dozen volunteers all over the world who recently convened at the second JuMP developers workshop at the University of Bordeaux. The workshop was part of the activities of the triennial International Symposium on Mathematical Programming. Its program committee members included: Benoît Legat of Université catholique de Louvain, Joaquim Garcia, a consultant at PSR, the energy consulting firm and a researcher at LAMPS PUC-Rio, and Dowson.

A wide range of research projects at MIT use JuMP. In addition, it is used in many of MIT Sloan's business analytics courses in the undergraduate, MBAn, and MBA programs.

"Through JuMP, the latest mathematical optimization techniques can move from a researcher's mind to a student's hands in days instead of years," says Vielma. "It is truly an effective instrument to make ideas matter."

MIT Sloan has supported JuMP through various avenues including early funding through the Junior Faculty Research Assistance Program, sponsorship of the first JuMP-dev workshop through the school's Latin America Office (MSLAO), and co-sponsorship of the second JuMP-dev workshop. The school's support for JuMP continues with Prof. Vielma's tutorial on JuMP at the upcoming JuliaCon—a symposium dedicated to the Julia programming language—that takes place August 7-11 at University College London.

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