These brief instructions will help you get started quickly with COIN-OR.
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The COIN-OR Optimization Suite is a collection of interoperable open source solvers from the repository of open source software maintained by the COIN-OR Foundation. It consists of the following projects.

  • CoinUtils (COIN-OR utility library)
  • Osi (Open Solver Interface)
  • Clp (COIN-OR LP Solver)
  • FlopCpp (C++-based algebraic modeling language)
  • DyLP (LP solver based on dynamic simplex method)
  • Vol (approximate LP solver based on Volume Algorithm)
  • Cgl (Cut generation library)
  • SYMPHONY (MILP solver framework)
  • Cbc (COIN-OR branch-and-cut MILP solver)
  • Smi (Stochastic modeling interface)
  • CoinMP (Unified C API for Cbc and Clp)
  • Bcp (Branch, cut, and price framework)
  • Ipopt (Interior point algorithm for non-linear optimization)
  • CHiPPS (COIN-OR High Performance Parallel Search framework)
    • Alps (Abstract Library for Parallel Search)
    • BiCePS (Branch, Constrain, and Price Software)
    • Blis (BiCePS Linear Integer Solver)
  • Dip (Decomposition-based MILP solver framework)
  • CppAD (Automatic differentiation in C++)
  • Bonmin (Solver for Convex MINLP)
  • Couenne (Solver for non-convex MINLP)
  • OS (Optimization Services)
  • MibS (Mixed Integer Bilevel Solver)
  • DisCO (Discrete Conic Optimization )
  • Application Templates (Examples)

Downloading and Installing

Pre-built Binaries

Binaries for some projects (and their dependencies) are available for download from Bintray. AMPL also kindly provides executables of some solvers for download at

http://ampl.com/products/solvers/open-source/

We are working on some other better ways of getting binaries, such as conda packages, and will keep this README updated as things progress. For now, various conda recipes are available if you search, e.g., here. Some other platform-specific ways of obtaining binaries are listed next.

Installers and Packages

Windows

On Windows, there are binaries available for some projects on BinTray. Please let us know if you try to use them and they don’t work because of missing dependencies or other issues. There is a deprecated Windows GUI installer available here for installing binaries and libraries compatible with Visual Studio (you will need to install the free Intel compiler redistributable libraries and the Visual Studio redistributable libraries. The versions installed are not currently up-to-date and this is not currently recommended. This may get updated someday, but in the meantime, you can get binaries for some projects from BinTray.

macOS

There are Homebrew recipes for some projects available here and this is the recommended way to install projects on OS X. Just do

brew tap coin-or-tools/coinor
brew install coin-or-tools/coinor/Xyz

Binaries are also available from BinTray for most recent version of macOS, but it’s not clear how portable these binaries really are and your mileage may vary.

Linux

For Linux, there are Debian and Fedora packages for many projects in the suite.

  • Click here for a list of Debian packages.
  • Click here for a list of Fedora packages.

It is also straightforward to install many packages using Linuxbrew, just as on macOS.

brew tap coin-or-tools/coinor
brew install coin-or-tools/coin-or/Xyz

At the moment, the first install is quite cumbersome, as it involves installing many dependencies, but this should be reduced or eliminated, once we move to bottling most projects.

Docker Image

Several Docker images available at

https://hub.docker.com/orgs/coinor/repositories

In particular, there is an image that contains the entire Optimization Suite.

https://hub.docker.com/repository/docker/coinor/coin-or-optimization-suite

This is another excellent way to use the COIN-OR Optimization Suite.

Other Installation Methods

Other ways of obtaining COIN-OR include downloading it through a number of modeling language front-ends. For example, COIN-OR can be used through

Building from Source

Why download and build COIN-OR yourself? There are many options for building COIN codes and the distributed binaries are built with just one possible set of options. We cannot distribute binaries linked to libraries licensed under the GPL or non-open source licenses, so you must build yourself if you want GMPL, command completion, command history, Haskell libraries, etc. Other advanced options that require specific hardware/software may also not be supported in distributed binaries (parallel builds, MPI). Once you understand how to get and build source, it is much faster to get bug fixes.

Linux

Most Linux distributions come with all the required tools installed. Occasionally, some commands are missing, so before starting, check that you have

  • pkg-config
  • gcc, g++, and gfortran
  • BLAS and LAPACK
  • Optional additions
    • Metis
    • Suitesparse
    • libamd
    • Cholmod
    • Nauty

To obtain the source code for a project ProjName, the first step is to download the bash script that automatically fetches the source, builds, and installs COIN-OR packages.

git clone https://www.github.com/coin-or/coinbrew

Next, to check out source code for and build the project and all its dependencies, do

cd coinbrew
chmod u+x coinbrew
./coinbrew

Once you run the script, you will be prompted interactively to select a project to fetch and build. The rest should happen automagically.

Alternatively, the following command-line incantation will execute the procedure non-interactively (this is recommended for expert users who are used to executing Unix commands).

./coinbrew fetch ProjName@version --no-prompt
./coinbrew build ProjName --prefix=/path/to/install/dir --no-prompt

For example

./coinbrew fetch Cbc@2.10.5 --no-prompt

The --prefix argument above specifies the directory where the packages will be installed and would normally be something like $HOME or \usr\local. If the specified directory is writable, then all packages will be automatically installed immediately after building and the install command is not needed. If no prefix is specified, the package will be installed in the directory dist/.

Options that should be passed to the configure script can simply be added to the command-line. For example, to build with debugging symbols, do

./coinbrew build ProjName --prefix=/path/to/install/dir --enable-debug --no-prompt

To get help with additional options available in running the script, do

./coinbrew --help

To get help with configuration options, do

./coinbrew ProjName --configure-help

The above procedures will build all required dependencies and the project itself. Afterwards, the binaries will be installed in the directory /path/to/install/dir/bin and the libraries in the directory /path/to/install/dir/lib.

After installation, you will also need to add /path/to/install/dir/bin to your PATH variable in your .bashrc and also add /path/to/install/dir/lib to your LD_LIBRARY_PATH if you want to link to COIN-OR libraries, as follows

export PATH=$PATH:/path/to/install/dir/bin
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$LD_LIBRARY_PATH:/path/to/install/dir/lib

Windows

Obtaining the source

Source can be obtained either by downloading an archive that includes the source of the main project and all dependencies or by fetching with coinbrew. The use of coinbrew is strongly recommended unless you plan to work exclusively with Visual Studio and you wish to build within the Visual Studio IDE using the supplied Visual Studio project files.

If you wish to obtain the source by downloading a complete archive to use with Visual Studio, then go to the URL

https://www.coin-or.org/download/source

and click on the folder for your desired project. Download source for the latest release and unpack the archive. Then continue with the instructions for the Visual Studio IDE below. Otherwise, continue here with the instructions for coinbrew.

Setting up coinbrew

The most flexible and powerful way to build on Windows is with the GNU autotools and the GCC, MS Visual Studio compilers, or Intel compilers from a bash command line. To obtain the source and build it in this way, you will need to first obtain a version of bash, which is a shell (command-line interpreter) and scripting language. To get bash (and the GCC compilers), install one of

Bash and the GCC compilers also come with the Anaconda Python distribution. Bash itself (but not the GCC compilers) come with Git for Windows.

WSL is a great option if you already know your way around Unix and want a similar experience in a Windows environment. WSL gives you access to a full Linux environment within Windows (essentially a Linux VM). If you go the route of using WSL, then once you install WSL, you can simply open a WSL terminal and follow the Linux instructions from there. Note, however, that this produces Linux binaries that can only be run from within WSL.

To get Windows binaries, it is recommended to use MSys2, which provides a minimal toolset that is easy to install. The remaining instructions will be for MSys2. Instructions for CYGWIN will be similar, just with different package names and a different package manager. Note that building on CYGWIN is no longer officially supported or tested and anecdotal evidence indicates that there may be issues with building recent version of some projects.

To get MSys2, either download the installer or a zip file containing the MSys2 base from here Once you have installed MSys2, the easiest path to getting started if you are planning to use the GCC compilers is to execute C:\msys64\mingw64.exe or C:\msys64\mingw32.exe, which will automatically start up bash in a separate window and set all paths for you.

Once you are running bash, install required packages using the following command.

pacman -S make wget tar patch dos2unix diffutils git svn pkg-config zip unzip

Finally, you can obtain coinbrew, the script that will help you download and build COIN-OR packages, with the following command.

git clone https://www.github.com/coin-or/coinbrew

Building with GCC in MSYs2

Using the GCC compiler suite is convenient and easy, but will build libraries that are incompatible with Visual Studio. If you intend to link your libraries to Visual Studio applications you plan to build, you should follow the Visual Studio instructions below.

You should already have the MinGW GCC compilers available (you can check by running which gcc). If not (and you plan to use the GCC compilers, not the Visual Studio compilers), you can install them via

pacman -S mingw-w64-i686-toolchain mingw-w64-x86_64-toolchain

It is recommended (but optional for some solvers) to install BLAS and LAPACK packages, since this will speed up some of the solvers that can use those packages.

pacman -S mingw-w64-x86_64-lapack --noconfirm

Additionally, there are a number of other packages that provide additional functionality and can also be installed.

pacman -S mingw-w64-x86_64-lapack \
          mingw-w64-x86_64-winpthreads-git \
          mingw-w64-x86_64-readline \
          mingw-w64-x86_64-suitesparse \
          mingw-w64-x86_64-metis

Next, to check out source code for and build all the necessary projects (including dependencies), execute the script in the coinbrew subdirectory, as follows.

cd coinbrew
chmod u+x coinbrew
./coinbrew

Once you run the script, you will be prompted interactively to select a project to fetch and build. The rest should happen automagically.

Alternatively, the following command-line incantation will execute the procedure non-interactively (this is recommended for most expert users).

./coinbrew fetch ProjName@version --no-prompt
./coinbrew build ProjName --prefix=\path\to\install\dir --no-prompt --build=x86_64-w64-mingw32

The argument --prefix=\path\to\install\dir specifies the directory where the packages will be installed and would normally be something like $HOME or \usr\local. If the specified prefix is writable, then all packages will be automatically installed immediately after building and the install command is not needed. When the directory is not writable, the install step will need to be run with administrator privileges (usually by running bash as administrator). If no prefix is specified, the package will be installed in the directory dist/.

Options that should be passed to configure can be added to the command-line. For example, to build with debugging symbols, do

./coinbrew build ProjName --prefix=\path\to\install\dir --enable-debug --no-prompt

To get help with additional options available in running the script, do

./coinbrew --help

To get help with configuration options, do

./coinbrew ProjName --configure-help

After installation, you will also need to add /path/to/install/dir/bin to your PATH variable in your .bashrcby adding the line

export PATH=$PATH:/path/to/install/dir/bin

Building with Visual Studio in MSys2

It is possible to use almost the exact same commands that were used with GCC to build with the Visual Studio compilers. If you want to use the Visual Studio compilers, however, it is important to get your PATH set correctly, as there are some commands in MSys2 that have the same names as commands in Visual Studio and you need to ensure the right command is used. Mainly, it is important that the Visual Studio paths come before the MSys2 paths in your PATH variable. To ensure this, start again in a fresh Windows command Window. Now, begin by manually adding C:\msys64\usr\bin to your Windows PATH by executing

set PATH=C:\msys64\usr\bin;%PATH%

in a Windows terminal. Do NOT run Msys2_shell.bat, mingw64.exe, or mingw32.exe. After setting your PATH as above, run the vcvarsall.bat script for your version of Visual Studio to add the Visual Studio paths to your PATH. You can do this with, for example,

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 14.0\VC\vcvarsall.bat x86_amd64

Now run

bash

and to check if everything is correct, do

which link

The result should be something like

/c/Program Files (x86)/Microsoft Visual Studio 14.0/VC/BIN/x86_amd64/link

Next, to check out source code for and build all the necessary projects (including dependencies), execute the script in the coinbrew subdirectory, as follows (you should have already setup the coinbrew subdirectory above).

cd coinbrew
chmod u+x coinbrew
./coinbrew

Once you run the script, you will be prompted interactively to select a project to fetch and build. The rest should happen automagically.

Alternatively, the following command-line incarnation will execute the procedure non-interactively (this is recommended for most expert users).

./coinbrew fetch ProjName@version --no-prompt
./coinbrew build ProjName --prefix=C:\path\to\install\dir --enable-msvc --no-prompt --build=x86_64-w64-mingw32

The argument --prefix=C:\path\to\install\dir specifies the directory where the packages will be installed and would normally be something like C:\Program Files (x86)\COIN-OR\ProjName or C:\Users\YourUserName\COIN-OR. If the specified directory is writable, then all packages will be automatically installed immediately after building and no separate install step is needed. When the directory is not writable, the install step will need to be run with administrator privileges (usually by running bash as administrator). If no prefix is specified, the package will be installed in the directory dist/.

Options that should be passed to the configure script can be added to the command-line. For example, to build with debugging symbols, do

./coinbrew build ProjName --prefix=C:\path\to\install\dir --enable-debug --no-prompt

To get help with additional options available in running the script, do

./coinbrew --help

To get help with configuration options, do

./coinbrew ProjName --configure-help

The above procedures will build all required dependencies and ProjName itself. Afterwards, the binaries will be installed in the directory C:\path\to\install\dir\bin and the libraries in the directory C:\path\to\install\dir\lib.

To use the resulting binaries and/or libraries, you will need to add the full path of the directory build\bin to your Windows executable search PATH, or, alternatively, copy the contents of the build directory to C:\Program Files (x86)\COIN-OR\ProjName and add the directory C:\Program Files (x86)\COIN-OR\ProjName\bin to your Windows executable search PATH. You may also consider adding C:\Program Files (x86)\COIN-OR\ProjName\lib to the LIB path and C:\Program Files (x86)\COIN-OR\ProjName\include to the INCLUDE path.

Building with Visual Studio IDE

After obtaining source for the projects you want to build, either with coinbrew or by downloading an archive of the sources of all dependencies, as described above, find the solution file in the directory MSVisualStudio. MSVS project files are only available for some projects.

macOS

macOS is a Unix-based OS and ships with many of the basic components needed to build COIN-OR, but it’s missing some things. For examples, the latest versions of macOS come with the clang compiler but no Fortran compiler. You may also be missing the wget utility and subversion and git clients (needed for obtaining source code). The easiest way to get these missing utilities is to install Homebrew (see http://brew.sh). After installation, open a terminal and do

brew install bash gcc wget svn git

To obtain the source code, the first step is to get the installer that will then fetch the source for ProjName and all its dependencies.

git clone https://www.github.com/coin-or/coinbrew

Next, to check out source code for and build the project and all its dependencies, do

cd coinbrew
chmod u+x coinbrew
./coinbrew

Once you run the script, you will be prompted interactively to select a project to fetch and build. The rest should happen automagically.

Alternatively, the following command-line incantation will execute the procedure non-interactively (this is recommended for expert users who are used to executing Unix commands).

./coinbrew fetch ProjName@version --no-prompt
./coinbrew build ProjName --prefix=/path/to/install/dir --no-prompt

The --prefix argument above specifies the directory where the packages will be installed and would normally be something like $HOME$ or /usr/local. If the specified directory is writable, then all packages will be automatically installed immediately after building and the install command is not needed. If no prefix is specified, the package will be installed in the directory dist/.

Options that should be passed to the configure script can simply be added to the command-line. For example, to build with debugging symbols, do

./coinbrew build ProjName --prefix=/path/to/install/dir --enable-debug --no-prompt

To get help with additional options available in running the script, do

./coinbrew --help

To get help with configuration options, do

./coinbrew ProjName --configure-help

The above procedures will build all required dependencies and the project itself. Afterwards, the binaries will be installed in the directory /path/to/install/dir/bin and the libraries in the directory /path/to/install/dir/lib.

After installation, you will also need to add /path/to/install/dir/bin to your PATH variable in your .bashrc and also add /path/to/install/dir/lib to your DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH if you want to link to COIN-OR libraries. You can add the following lines to your .bashrc.

export PATH=$PATH:/path/to/install/dir/bin
export DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH=$DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH:/path/to/install/dir/lib

Additional Useful Information

Organization of the repositories

All projects are now (or will soon be) managed using git. Within the repository, the development branch is master, while branches named stable/x.y contain long-running stable versions and tags names releases/x.y.z indicate point releases.

The source tree for the root of project Xxx currently looks something like this

ProjName/
doxydoc/
INSTALL.md
README.md
AUTHORS
Dependencies 
configure 
Makefile.am
... 

The ProjName subdirectory for project ProjName looks something like this.

src/
examples/
MSVisualStudio/
test/
AUTHORS
README 
LICENSE 
INSTALL 
configure 
Makefile.am 
... 

The files in this subdirectory are for building the library of the project itself, with no dependencies, with the exception of the MSVisualStudio directory, which contains solution files that include dependencies.

About version numbers

COIN-OR numbers versions by a standard semantic versioning scheme: each version has a major, minor, and patch/release number. All versions within a major.minor series are compatible. All versions within a major series are backwards compatible. The versions with the stable/ subdirectory have two numbers, e.g., 1.1, whereas the releases have three numbers, e.g., 2.1.0. The first two numbers of the release version indicate the stable series of which the release is a snapshot. The third number is the release number in that series.

ThirdParty Projects

There are a number of open-source projects that COIN-OR projects can link to, but whose source we do not distribute. We provide convenient scripts for downloading these projects (shell scripts named ./get.ProjName and a build harness for build them. We also produce libraries and pkg-config files. If you need the capabilities of a particular third party library, simply run the get.ProjName script before configuring for your build and it will be automatically integrated. Beware of licensing incompatibilities if you plan to redistribute the resulting binaries. The following are the supported libraries.

  • AMPL Solver Library (required to use solvers with AMPL)
  • Glpk (required to read GMPL files and to use Glpk via OSI)
  • Metis (used by HSL and MUMPS)
  • MUMPS (required for Ipopt to build completely open source)
  • HSL (an alternative to MUMPS that is not open source)

For the following, download and build scripts are still available, but are no longer updated.

  • Blas (improves performance of basic linear algebra routines—usually available natively on Linux/macOS)
  • Lapack (provides higher-level linear algebra routines—usually available natively on Linux/macOS)
  • FilterSQP (NLP solver for Bonmin)
  • SoPlex (required to use SoPlex via OSI; can be used by SCIP)
  • SCIP (required for the feasibility pump in Couenne)

Parallel Builds

SYMPHONY, DIP, CHiPPS, and Cbc all include the ability to solve in parallel.

  • CHiPPS uses MPI and is targeted at massive parallelism (it would be possible to develop a hybrid algorithm, however). To build in parallel, specify the location of MPI with the --with-mpi-incdir and --with-mpi-lib arguments to coinbrew build, as follows:

    --enable-static \ 
    --disable-shared \
    --with-mpi-incdir=/usr/include/mpich2 \ 
    --with-mpi-lib="-L/usr/lib  -lmpich" \
    MPICC=mpicc \
    MPICXX=mpic++ \
    
  • SYMPHONY has both shared and distributed memory parallel modes, but we’ll only discuss the shared memory capability here. It is enabled by default if the compiler supports OpenMP (gcc and Microsoft’s cl both do, but clang does not). To disable share memory parallel mode, use the --disable-openmp argument to coinbrew.
  • Cbc has shared memory parallelism, which can be enabled with the --enable-cbc-parallel to coinbrew
  • DIP currently has a shared memory parallel mode that works the same way as SYMPHONY’s.

Other Configure-time Options

There are many configure options for customizing the builds, which is the advantage of learning to build yourself.

  • Over-riding variables: CC, CXX, F77, ADD_CXXFLAGS
  • --prefix
  • --enable-debug
  • --enable-gnu-packages
  • -C

Individual project also have their own options.

  • ProjName/configure --help will list the options for project ProjName.
  • The options for individual projects can be given to the root coinbrew script—they will be passed on to subprojects automatically.

If one regularly uses a number of configure options, using a config.site file is a good choice. For projects based on BuildTools 0.8, this template documents a number of commonly used configure options and shows how they can be set via a config.site file. For projects that already use the current BuildTools master, this template applies.

Build environment

The projects in the COIN-OR Optimization Suite use a build system that is build on top of the autotools (autoconf, automake, autoheader, etc). The m4 functions and other custom build scripts are maintained in the BuildTools project and this is where you need to go if you want to re-generate any of the auto-generated build files, such as the configure script.

Note that until recently, all COIN-OR projects were using a very old version of the autotools. Recent versions of some projects (primarily the master versions of projects in the Cbc stack) in the Optimization Suite are now upgraded to use the most recent version of the autotools, but the transition is not complete yet and there are no releases of any projects using recent versions of the autotools.

Building without coinbrew

In principle, each project can be obtained, built, and installed via

   git clone --branch stable/x.y https://github.com/coin-or/ProjName.git
   cd ProjName
   ./configure
   make
   make test
   make install

Most hints and instructions from above on how to setup a build environment, flags to configure, etc, also apply when not using coinbrew.

However, many COIN-OR projects depend on a number of other COIN-OR projects. coinbrew automates fetching, building, and installing these dependencies. To see the dependencies of a project, see the file Dependencies in the .coin-or subdirectory or base directory of a project.

Building static executables

For projects using the most recent version of the autotools (so far, this means the master version of anything in the Cbc stack, but this will be changing), running configure or coinbrew with the following additional arguments should produce static binaries with gcc, at least on Linux.

LT_LDFLAGS=-all-static LDFLAGS=-static --disable-shared

For version of COIN-OR projects using older versions of the autotools, e.g., Cbc 2.10 and its dependencies, it may work to additionally disable the linking of libraries that not necessarily available statically (otherwise, the compiler finds and links to the dynamic libraries anyway anmd this defeats the purpose). For example, something like this may work for you, but you may have to tinker with it if you get an executable that is not static (usee ldd to see whether succeeded or not).

--enable-static
--disable-shared
LT_LDFLAGS=-all-static
LD_FLAGS=-static
--disable-readline
--without-cholmod
--without-lapack
--without-amd
--no-third-party

Documentation

Some documentation on using the full optimization suite will someday be available here. There is also a full tutorial on the Optimization Suite and much more at Ted’s page.

User’s manuals and documentation for project ProjName can be obtained at either http://coin-or.github.io/ProjName or http://www.coin-or.org/ProjName. Doxygen source code documentation for some projects can also be obtained at http://coin-or.github.io/Doxygen.

Support

Support is available primarily through mailing lists and bug reports at http://github.com/coin-or/ProjName/issues/new.