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xlOptimizer differs radically from the built-in "solver" pack of Microsoft Excel in the sense that it implements a host of customizable, state-of-the-art metaheuristic algorithms (both evolutionary and swarm intelligence), homogenized and arranged in an intuitive interface. These algorithms are considered to be very good "global optimizers", i.e. they are able to find very good solutions (from a practical point of view) with few function evaluations. This renders them ideal for very difficult (multi-parametric, non-differentiable, discontinuous, combinatorial, deceptive, etc) and/or expensive problems (i.e. each function evaluation may require several minutes).
Apart from the built-in functions of Microsoft Excel, which are readily available, external functions can be easily implemented through dynamic-link-libraries (dlls), so that virtually any problem can be formulated efficiently within a spreadsheet.
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