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Friday, May 28, 2021

Excel as a Programming Language

Intriguing Podcast.  The mere notion will  get considerable disdain from coders.   But an interesting point is made about the idea. There is power here.    Podcast and text transcript:  

Advancing Excel as a programming language with Andy Gordon and Simon Peyton Jones

Episode 120 | May 5, 2021   from Microsoft Research. 

Today, people around the globe—from teachers to small-business owners to finance executives—use Microsoft Excel to make sense of the information that occupies their respective worlds, and whether they realize it or not, in doing so, they’re taking on the role of programmer. 

In this episode, Senior Principal Research Manager Andy Gordon, who leads the Calc Intelligence team at Microsoft Research, and Senior Principal Researcher Simon Peyton Jones provide an inside account of the journey Excel has taken as a programming language, including the expansion of data types that has unlocked greater functionality and the release of the LAMBDA function, which makes the Excel formula language Turing-complete. They’ll talk specifically about how research has influenced Excel and vice versa, programming as a human-computer interaction challenge, and a future in which Excel is the first language for budding programmers and a tool for incorporating probabilistic reasoning into our decision-making.  

Learn more: 

Excel Blog: “Announcing LAMBDA: Turn Excel formulas into custom functions” 

Microsoft Research Blog: “LAMBDA: The ultimate Excel worksheet function” 

Research Collection: “Innovation by (and beyond) the numbers: A history of research collaborations in Excel”    ... " 

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