Please note that the DataExchange Library offers a more flexible and significantly more efficient method for reading and writing CSV files. Moreover, minor changes to such a mapping also provides for reading and writing using other data formats such as data sheets in an Excel workbook or Parquet files.

Read and Write CSV Files

CSV files are a de facto standard for communication of data. AIMMS provides the libraries DataLink and CSVProvider in order to serialize CSV files.

This article shows an example of how to read data from a CSV file.

Import CSVProvider library

First you’ll need to import the CSVProvider library

  1. Go to File > Library Manager > Add Library from Repository…

  2. Select CSVProvider

Architecture view and more details

The DataLink and CSVProvider libraries cooperate to present the following data view:


The DataLink column maps to an AIMMS set or parameter, and is linked to a CSV column.

A group of columns make up for a table in the DataLink view, and such a table corresponds to a file in the CSVProvider view.

A group of DataLink tables make up for a database in the DataLink view, and such a database corresponds to a datasource in the CSVProvider view.


Using the image above for reference, it is clear we need to provide details in several steps:

  1. Provide a name for the mapping between the DataLink view and the CSVProvider view.

  2. Provide the names of the tables in the DataLink view that correspond to the filenames in the CSVProvider view. Note that in the CSVProvider view, the file suffix .csv is automatically appended.

  3. Provide a mapping between AIMMS Sets and Parameters to columns in CSV files.

  4. Define file convention details such as separator characters, and width/precision of numeric data.

  5. Put it all together in a read or write call.

We will discuss each of these steps in detail below the code example.

Code example

 1dl::DataTables += {'fourRows'} ; ! komma/fourRows.csv is the file we're gonna read from.
 3DataMap(dl::dt,dl::idn,dl::cn,dl::dn) := data {
 4    ( fourRows, sLocs, 1, 1 ) : "location",     ! from fourRows.csv, read in a 1rst set sLocs from a 1rst csv column named "Location". This column is indexing the rest of the data
 5    ( fourRows, sProd, 2, 2 ) : "product",
 6    ( fourRows, pDem , 3, 0 ) : "demand",       ! from fourRows.csv, read in a data pDem from a 3rd csv data column named "demand". This is a data column
 7    ( fourRows, spCmt, 4, 0 ) : "comment"
11dl::AddDataSourceMapping("TheMapping", DataMap, dl::DependEmpty, dl::TableAttributesEmpty, dl::ColAttributeEmpty);
13spCommunicationAttributes :=
14      { 'DataProvider' : csvprov::DataLink ,
15        'ContainsHeaders' : "yes"
16        ! Note that Separator attribute is left to its default of ",".
17      };
19dl::DataRead("komma",                 ! reading from data source "komma" - because we use csvprovider this data source is a folder.
20        "TheMapping" ,                ! using relation "TheMapping" between folder komma and AIMMS identifiers.
21        spCommunicationAttributes);   ! Technicalities on how to communicate.

Provide the file name (line 1)

The table names in the DataLink view are the same as the filenames in the CSVProvider view, except with suffix .csv.

The AIMMS set dl::DataTables contains a list of these table names. For instance, adding the table fourRows to the list of tables is done like this:

dl::DataTables += {'fourRows'} ; ! komma/fourRows.csv is the file we will read from.


You may also dynamically update this file name by declaring a local set, and filling it through the same procedure

SetElementAdd(S_datatable, EP_datatable, SP_filename);
dl::DataTables += S_datatable ;

Knowing that

Set S_datatable {
    SubsetOf: dl::DataTables;
    Parameter: EP_datatable;

StringParameter SP_filename;

Provide the mapping (line 3 to 8)

For each set and parameter in the AIMMS model, we need to specify to which DataLink table (CSV file) it corresponds and to which column in that table.

We do this using the following 4-dimensional table:

            dl::dt,    ! Table name, should be present in dl::DataTables.
            dl::idn,   ! Full AIMMS identifier name, enclose in '' iff it is declared in a library or module.
            dl::cn,    ! Column number
            dl::dn     ! Domain number
                       !     For domain sets: equal to the Column number
                       !     For parameters : equal to 0.
            ! contents: the names of the columns in the CSV files.
) := data {
    ( fourRows, sLocs, 1, 1 ) : "location",
    ( fourRows, sProd, 2, 2 ) : "product",
    ( fourRows, pDem , 3, 0 ) : "demand",
    ( fourRows, spCmt, 4, 0 ) : "comment"

As you can see in the example above, the column numbers are increasing and correspond to the column numbers in the ``DataLink`` view.

  1. When reading a CSV file, the header line of the CSV file, in combination with the value of each element in the DataMap, is used to determine the column numbers in the CSVProvider view. Thus the column numbers in the DataMap are not necessarily the same as the column numbers in the CSVProvider view.

  2. When writing a CSV file, these two column numberings happen to be same.

Provide the mapping name (line 10 and 11)

The DataLink library provides two procedures for managing data source mappings:

  1. dl::RemoveDataSourceMapping("someMapping"). When the data link mapping someMapping exists, it will be removed from the data structures of the DataLink library. Otherwise this procedure does nothing; it is harmless to call this procedure two times in a row with the same argument.

  2. dl::AddDataSourcemapping( "someMapping", ... ) will create a mapping.

The read and write call (line 19 to 21)

Using the above specifications, we are now ready to actually read from or write to CSV files. The following example should be self-explanatory.

dl::DataRead("semi",                  ! reading from data source "semi" - because we use CSVProvider this data source is a folder
                                      ! data source "semi" path is relative to the project folder
        "TheMapping" ,                ! using relation "TheMapping" between folder "semi" and AIMMS identifiers.
        spCommunicationAttributes);   ! Technicalities on how to communicate.

Download example

You can download the example used in this article:


This project contains also an example procedure to write a CSV file