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Spreadsheets as a programming paradigm

Recent advances in programming languages are providing their users with powerful mechanisms to structure and develop their programs. Indeed, the development of powerful type systems, modular systems, abstract models, support for generic programming, support for domain specific language embedding, lazy evaluation engines and incremental models of computations are changing the way we write our programs. Moreover, the development of techniques for refactoring, testing and slicing are also changing the way we construct, transform and maintain our software. Surprisingly, with the exception of the pioneering work of Erwig and Burnett [EB02, AE04, EACK05], little work has been done on the foundations of spreadsheets by the programming language community. As a result, none of those developments have been incorporated in spreadsheets yet.

In fact, spreadsheets still do not offer support for abstraction, encapsulation, or structured programming. For this reason, it is fair to state that spreadsheets could benefit from all recent developments in programming languages even more than programming languages themselves.

The overall objective of this project was to study and develop techniques to incorporate these recent advances in programming languages, in spreadsheets. Thus, the research team studied new type systems and modular systems, and formal models for spreadsheets.

Starting Date: May 2010

Project team: João Alexandre Saraiva

Project Website: SSaaPP



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