YASAI was developed at the MSIS Department of Rutgers Business School. The add-in was designed for teaching elementary Monte Carlo simulation in Microsoft Excel. Although numerous similar tools do already exist, we needed one that was simple to use for mathematically unsophisticated beginning students, and could be used and installed easily without system administrator privilege. Please read the online journal article or the RRR report for a detailed description of the reason we developed YASAI and our design philosophy.
'Yasai' also means 'vegetables' in Japanese.
YASAI is a creation of Professor Jonathan Eckstein and Steven T. Riedmueller. Steve implemented YASAI as his Livingston College senior honors project, under Professor Eckstein's supervision. Since then, various independent study students at Rutgers have worked with Professor Eckstein to implement improvements (after installing the software, click on the lettuce in the YASAI simulation dialog box to see a full list).
The State of Washington Department of Ecology has developed a more "industrial strength" version of YASAI called YASAIw. The "main" version of YASAI will still be aimed at teaching and will hence remain simpler, but some features of YASAIw should eventually be incorporated into YASAI. There is an article in the Rutgers Business School News about how YASAIw is being used to model pollution pathways.