This report describes a tool for global optimization that implements the Differential Evolution optimization algorithm as a new Excel add-in. The tool takes a step beyond Excel’s Solver add-in, because Solver often returns a local minimum, that is, a minimum that is less than or equal to nearby points, while Differential Evolution solves for the global minimum, which includes all feasible points. Despite complex underlying mathematics, the tool is relatively easy to use, and can be applied to practical optimization problems, such as establishing pricing and awards in a hotel loyalty program. The report demonstrates an example of how to develop an optimum approach to that problem.
Ukhov, A. (2016). Differential Evolution: A tool for global optimization. Cornell Hospitality Report, 16(24), 3-44.