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                Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: How is OptTime different from Microsoft Project?
A: Microsoft Project (with the exception of resource leveling) depends on the user to find a conflict free schedule. The user is able to do this by examining a proposed schedule within the GUI environment.  On the other hand, OptTime does not need a human in the loop. It has the ability to accept multiple ways to satisfy a task and choose a "best" solution. There is no way to represent multiple possible solutions in Project.  It is possible to construct a hybrid system in which a higher level client software (possibly hosted within an data base program like Access) would use the functionality of OptTime to find and Schedule solution and use Microsoft Project for Gantt chart review and reporting.


Q: Are the  schedule solutions found by OptTime optimal?
A: All OptTime schedule solutions are de-conflicted, that is conflict free.  Whether they are Optimal depends on what is meant by "optimal".  Several of the OptTime "standard solution" algorithms mimic human procedures and are optimal as far as these users are concerned since they yield predictable solutions with no conflicts. OptTime gives the user the option of defining a Figure of Merit (FOM) which can be searched by the algorithms to find an optimal solution. Because of the complexity of scheduling problems  it is not possible to guarantee that an optimal solution can be found in general. OptTime has been designed to find good conflict free solutions quickly and give the users to ability to search for better solutions.


Q: Why doesn't OptTime have a Graphical User Interface?
A: The primary goal of the OptTime solution was to add advance scheduling into existing systems. Such an existing system will have a GUI with domain specific assumptions. Avoiding domain specific assumptions allows OptTime to be be adapted to a wide range of problems. For example, while time is represented to double precision, there is no assumption that the user is using a particular time unit. You can do nanosecond accuracy schedules over years or second resolution schedules over millions of years. In addition, because there is no GUI there is a much smaller code footprint. The documentation file for OptTime is larger than the dynamic link library containing the OptTime code.  If you would like to have a GUI complete with a Gantt chart and screens for defining tasks our partner in the Aerospace Industry, Orbit Logic Inc. Has adapted the GUI from STK/Scheduler, to a more generic form called Saturn. See the STK/Scheduler product page for more information. Another way to add a Gantt chart representation would be to export the data to Microsoft Project.

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