Day: August 12, 2009

Palisade’s Custom Development Services

Palisade Corporation now offers custom development services. Our consulting team can help you to automate your risk and decision analysis models so they can be easily used by everyone in your company, or even outside of it. 

We offer different options that include Excel add-ins, Windows, and Web based applications. Our consultants can help you to design, program and deploy these applications. A typical application might connect an Excel spreadsheet to your company’s database, extract data, then adjust it to probability distributions so they can be used in dynamic risk or optimization models. The structure of reports can be also customized and published as PDFs, or to the Web.

Palisade Custom Development can incorporate Monte Carlo simulation, probability distributions, distribution fitting, graphs, reports, and many other features of @RISK into any Windows-based application. In addition, we can integrate genetic algorithm optimization from RISKOptimizer or Evolver. This allows you to apply powerful, proven analytics to applications outside Excel. Applications can be run in a desktop, network, or Web environment.

You may wish to customize your @RISK or DecisionTools Suite spreadsheet models, restricting access to model components for some users or automating reports and other aspects of your analysis. Using the DecisionTools built-in Excel Developer Kit (XDK) and custom Excel VBA programming language, Palisade can help you build powerful, easy-to-use risk models for one user or for an entire work group.

We are currently working on a new website where you will find more information and project samples.  Upcoming posts will discuss examples of custom Excel VBA programming.

» More about Palisade Custom Development

Dr. Javier Ordóñez
Director of Custom Development

Risk Analysis as Intellectual Property

Say what?

I was mind-boggled to read today that the U.S. Supreme Court currently has under review a patent claim involving a risk management system that includes Monte Carlo simulation. According to a patent law blog, Bernard Bilski’s application was for a method of managing consumption risk in commodity trading.  In order to be "patentable subject matter," an invention (which can include a method) must be useful, novel and non-obvious.  

Certainly the application meets the first criterion.   Risk analysis is useful and widely used.   But I wonder how many of us, dear readers, would consider the use of Monte Carlo simulation a new or non-obvious approach to operations risk management–especially since the strategy of using commodity trading as a hedge against risk has been recognized for years.
Perhaps in an effort to maintain wide applicability, the claim does not mention the development of software or computer hardware.  It just describes the method.   
Mr. Bilski first applied for this patent in 1996 and received a "final" rejection in 2000.  

How, nine years later, has this patent case has reached the Supreme Court–I keep thinking there must be something more to the case.  Also, I keep returning to the fact that the men who originally developed this intellectual property, John von Neumann and Stanislaw Ulam, could never have patented it because they came up with it while they were employed by the U.S. Government.