Spider is a C++ class library for optimized transportation planning.
Spider offers a huge potential for savings in transportation planning. Planning tasks include strategic, tactical and operational planning, such as transportation network design, fleet dimensioning, dynamic fleet management, and dynamic cheapest path calculations. The algorithms used for optimal planning in Spider are based on state-of-the-art heuristics for the solution of Vehicle Routing Problems (VRP) and an extremely efficient optimization method for the Dynamic Shortest Path Problem (SPP). Good co-ordination of transportation activities can improve customer service, improve resource utilisation and give environmental and economical savings. Spider is a versatile and robust software product that easily extends to meet special requirements, making it an ideal tool as a planning kernel for real-world application development.
Spider consists of three modules:
- Plan administration. This module contains the data structures and functions needed to administrate plans and input data.
- Optimization. This module's main function is to create initial plans and optimize the plans by means of an iterative improvement process.
- Topology. The topology module calculates time and distance information for use in the optimization module. The information can be based on tables, calculations based on coordinates (e.g. Euclidean distance) or on exact calculations based on digital road map information.
Spider is developed and owned by SINTEF Applied Mathematics. It is the optimization core of for instance the scheduling tool Spider Designer, which is distributed and developed by Spider Solutions AS. Both Spider and Spider Designer are developed in close collaboration with the industrial users. For customers with special challenges, we develop high quality, tailor-made solutions in a cost-effective way.
Spider is also available as a COM component, in the product Spider COM. The component uses Microsoft's component standard, COM, and is based on the Windows version of the Spider C++ class library. This makes it easy to start prototype development and integrate Spider with other programs. Spider COM makes the Spider library functionality available for developers using e.g. Visual Basic as their development platform, and for other integration purposes where a COM module is desirable.