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In the fast-paced world of industries working tirelessly to generate optimum results, modelling languages like AMPL are the new-age requirements for solving complex mathematical problems. We are moving towards a new era of digital representation and technological advancement. Tools like these are just the beginning of an era where you can use such tools to simplify highly complex problems for mathematical computing. Ever come across a situation where you need to make a decision - balancing multiple factors to find an optimal solution? New-age super-smart tech tools like these are already helping organizations and industries solve complex problems of mathematical computing.

Introduction to AMPL

You must wonder what is AMPL used for exactly if it is such an in-demand tool used by many organisations and industries. The complexity of mathematical computing is the main domain of how this tool works. This tool is like a wizard solving your personal problems by cracking the puzzles. Different industries, ranging from finance to logistics, utilise this tool due to its mathematical computing capabilities. The tool crunches numbers and optimises the outcomes. But the important thing is - it also helps students to solve their mathematical problems. Let’s provide you with a brief guide on how to utilise this tool! 

What is AMPL?

AMPL (short for A Mathematical Programming Language) is an algebraic programming language for simplifying highly complex mathematical problems using numbers and optimisation. Experts highly regard the tool as powerful for solving mathematical optimisation problems and providing benefits such as:

Natural Language Processing

It allows users to model a wide range of mathematical optimisation problems, such as linear programming, nonlinear programming, integer programming, and more, using natural language and expression.

Ease of Use

The tool provides a high-level modelling language for users without having any extensive programming experience. What is the programming language used for solving mathematical problems will be covered later in this.


It seamlessly integrates with various software as solvers, which includes both open-source and commercial ones. These solvers specifically use algorithms to find optimal solutions and identify the best possible outcome.


It allows users to easily modify and experiment with their working models, supporting iterative model development and refinement. This essentially provides an outlet for the users to explore different scenarios and optimise the solutions.


In a stand-alone factor, the tool might be a general programming language solving mathematical problems. However, by using it with solvers (specialised software), AMPL can handle large-scale optimisation problems efficiently.

Community Support

This tool has a large and active community to support each other in using it to the best of its potential and using the resources available. The tool itself provides extensive documentation with tutorials and examples, making it easy for new users to get started.

Key Features of AMPL - Students’ Specific Case Scenarios

The ability to solve problems with this tool is immense and makes it easier for any user to formulate and solve optimisation problems with ease. However, when it comes to students utilising the tool for their academic purposes, the scenario is a little different. Students who are not familiar with the tool won’t even ask what is the card function in AMPL. They will need a basic introduction to it first. 

Learning it for university students can take time, but depending on the knowledge of the particular student, it can be easily mastered by any user. The features of AMPL are the same for any user, but the particular case scenario tells a different story. What feature is relevant to university students will probably differ from a general user’s perspective. It offers an opportunity for students to learn and apply optimisation techniques in their coursework. Here are some of the key features of AMPL from the perspective of university students using it for academic purposes:

Natural Mathematical Syntax

The capabilities of this tool allow students to improve their mathematical formulation in the context of computing. It allows students to give optimisational problems with a natural language (mathematical syntax). This mathematical syntax includes decision variables, objective functions and constraints.

Interface With Various Solvers

The tool enables students to interface with numerous optimisation algorithms for solving linear programming problems, integer programming, nonlinear programming, and other types of mathematical optimisation problems.

Flexible Mechanisms For Data

What language is AMPL written in? It uses algebraic language and supports flexible programming and mechanisms to enter the data according to the requirements of the user. Students can use this feature to directly embed the data in their models or read from an external source such as a file, database and spreadsheet.

Efficient Scenario Analysis

It allows students to solve the same mathematical optimisational problems from different instances. Students can use the tool to implement scenario analysis entering different input parameters and constraints.

Effective Sensitivity Analysis

The tool has enabled effective ways for sensitivity analysis to evaluate the changes in model parameters and how they were done. AMPL allows students to evaluate the changes in parameters or even the constraints that impact the optimal mathematical solution.

Vast Scripting Capabilities

The tool provides an array of scripting capabilities to the students for various functions as per their particular objectives. This includes functions such as automating repetitive tasks, conducting models’ batch processing and streamlining the workflows.

Comprehensive Documentation

One of the most useful features of the tool is the documentation for any user from any background, including students from different disciplines. This documentation provides tutorials and example models. These tools are especially useful for students because they customise for educational purposes and aid the guidance process.

Cross-Platform Compatibility

Students often ask if they can find what is AMPL used for on different OSes. The answer to this question is that, first of all, using and exploring the tool is totally up to the student. Second, it can be used on multiple platforms and operating systems, such as Windows, macOS, and Linux. 

An Active Community Support

There is a large number of community users in the tool, ranging from students to researchers, for encouraging a collaborative learning environment. The tool provides forums & resources to share knowledge and troubleshooting.

Advanced Modeling Features

The advanced modelling features have allowed students to deal with complex optimisation problems in research and coursework. It supports features such as piecewiselinear functions, complementarity constraints and stochastic programming constructs.

Benefits of Using AMPL for Academic Purposes

With these features, students can ensure that AMPL brings them the maximum potential outcomes for their complex mathematical problems. The benefits of using the tool for students not only aid in their coursework but also their professional development. While the benefits of the tool can be inferred from the features explained above, we have compiled some particular advantages. Here are some of the benefits that students can have for their academic success:

Formulating Complex Mathematical Models

You can easily formulate your highly complex mathematical models and optimisation problems through a natural and intuitive mathematical syntax. You can solve these problems without having a need to focus on programming details.

Aiding Academic Research and Coursework

Knowing what language is AMPL written in provides a basic introduction to its usage. The tool supports several programming techniques to allow you to deal with different optimisation problems that you can encounter in academic research and coursework.

Seamless Implementation of Algorithms

The tool allows you to utilize powerful optimisation algorithms without learning them from scratch by serving as modeling language. It enables you to integrate with different state-of-art solvers such as CPLEX, Gurobi and more.

Efficient Accuracy to Solve Complex Problems

The automation process of solving complex problems allows you to efficiently tackle optimisation problems with accuracy. This further allows you to focus on the interpretation of the results and understand the implications of these findings.

Preparation to Work in Different Industries

You can find several mathematical methods to test a wide range of mathematical programming problems and techniques on this tool. This will allow you to prepare yourself for the industries that are extensively using these techniques. By learning to use this tool properly, you will be able to make a career in fields such as operations research, management science, logistics, finance and engineering.

How to Use AMPL - Basic “How To” Guide

Using the tool will require you to follow some simple steps in order to get started. The broader practical implementation of using this tool is wide and complicated for beginners to understand. This is why we have skipped adding too much technical information for the unversed. We are going to provide you with a simple guide on how to create your account and use the card function with simple descriptions.

Creating an Account and Getting Started With AMPL

Go to the official AMPL website and click on “Start free now”.

Typically, you don’t have to choose the AMPL community edition unless you are either in a hurry or looking for a high-end community edition of the tool. Go with the first option (3–Day Commerical License) by clicking on “Request here.”

Since you are going to create a new account, click on “Sign up,” as shown below.

Fill in your details as required for the authorised account and click “Continue” at the end.

Visit the inbox of the email address you provided and verify your account by clicking on the link provided by the development team.

Create a profile by providing the important details and submit it to create your account.

When you click on the dropdown menu of “Your intended use,” you can choose whether to use it for only academic purposes or both academic and commercial purposes.

Instead of creating a general account, you can also create a student account.

When you have completed and submitted your profile, the team will review your request to create the account. Once it is done, you will be able to use the tool.

How to Use the Card Function? 

What is the card function in AMPL? The ‘card’ function determines the number of elements in a set or a subset of a set. This number of elements is also called “cardinality.” This is how you can use this function to determine cardinality:

  • Declare your sets using the ‘set’ keyword.
  • Use the ‘card’ function to find the number of elements in a set or subsets.
  • You can also choose to display the calculated cardinal number to verify with the ‘display’ function.

Comparison With Other Similar Technologies

There are a variety of tools similar to those used for mathematical modelling and optimisation, and depending on the specific requirements and the tools’ specifications, you will be better able to understand the differences between these tools. Here is a brief comparison of similar tools based on their specifications:

Modelling Language

  • AMPL uses natural language with mathematical notation
  • Pyomo uses Python-based language
  • AIMMS uses proprietary modeling language

Solver Integration

  • AMPL interfaces with various solvers
  • Pyomo interfaces with various solvers
  • AIMMS interfaces with various solvers

Programming Interface

  • AMPL has API available for interface
  • Pyomo has Python (object-oriented)
  • AIMMS has AIMMS language

Open Source

  • AMPL is not an open-source
  • Pyomo is an open-source
  • AIMMS is not an open-source


  • AMPL has high flexibility
  • Pyomo has high flexibility
  • AIMMS has high flexibility

Learning Curve

  • AMPL’s learning curve is moderate
  • Pyomo requires familiarity with Python
  • AIMMS has a moderate learning curve

Industry Usage

  • AMPL is widely used in industries
  • Pyomo is in the growing stages
  • AIMMS is widely used in industries


  • AMPL provides optimisation modelling
  • Pyomo provides optimisation modelling
  • AIMMS provides optimisation and stimulation

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the system requirements for AMPL?

To use AMPL, an updated R setup with Rtools is required in order to execute the functions. In general, it supports all Windows, multiple Linux (32/64 bits) and OSX.

Is AMPL free to use?

The license to use AMPL is absolutely free for personal use and even academic purposes. The license will grant you the right to use the tool for 30-days with commercial solvers such as Gurobi, Xpress, and CPLEX.

Do companies use AMPL?

Yes, many companies and individuals use AMPL to solve problems of highly complex mathematical computations and turn them into simplified solutions to generate optimal solutions.

Is AMPL case-sensitive?

AMPL is case-sensitive, and the official sources say that all the keywords must be in lowercase when using the tool.

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