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I tried to research what exactly is a SOLVER only to find a not clear-cut simple answer. My doubts still remain after going through several sites full of discussions about it.

I need to clarify as to whether it is a software product, or is it an open-source tool, or is it a commercial software package? Or is it like a library package that one can even design his/her own?

All I could find is that people related "solver" to Microsoft Excel or advanced Excel, and there were sources quoting a solver in connection to various programming languages like python, java, C#. I even saw the term's usage with HADOOP.

If it happens to be a software package, then, is there any other package comparable to it or better than it, which can perform a wider range of tasks(for statistics) than "solver"?

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Generally, people refer to software packages as 'solver' that, well, solve some class of equations. For example, it could be stated that R contains a linear system solver.

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  • $\begingroup$ hey thnx a lot for the fast response....so that means a SOLVER is a customized tool made out of various other tools or softwares, meaning, more analogous to the concept of "Library of different Modules" right???...........finally i have some clear-cut response....... $\endgroup$
    – Code Man
    Aug 27, 2014 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ ALSO, can you give me an example of a Good Solver which can be used for some of the widest range of stats/analytics tasks. Or do i have to make my own best everytime. Is MS EXCEL Solver a good one or is it a very limited functionality solver for larger stats/analytics tasks??? $\endgroup$
    – Code Man
    Aug 27, 2014 at 15:15
  • $\begingroup$ I think you would be able to do some basic descriptive statistics as well as constrained optimization in Excel. Even linear regression should be possible. For everything beyond that I would recommend you R. Free packages are available even for quite involved statistical tasks. $\endgroup$
    – Matthias
    Aug 28, 2014 at 8:49
  • $\begingroup$ so by your description i understand that A SOLVER is more like what a "module of a Library" is to a programming language like Python/C#/Perl, Meaning i have to make my own solvers as per the need and i can make as many of them and use them in combinations also, right???......... thnx for the response $\endgroup$
    – Code Man
    Aug 28, 2014 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ Usually you don't have to program a solver for any given class of equations, except maybe for some highly exotic problems. Most classes of equations have been thoroughly studied and often free libraries exist that solve those equations in a number of programming languages. $\endgroup$
    – Matthias
    Aug 29, 2014 at 13:00
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The word "solver" typically is used to mean a linear equation solver which finds the answer to systems of linear equations usually written in the form:

$$ Ax=b $$

Where $A$ is a matrix, and $x$ and $b$ are vectors. Sometimes the word is used to mean other kinds of equation solver spanning the range from linear systems to full-blown PDE systems, etc.

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