Beyond Excel: The Logical Spreadsheet

Loraine Lawson

If all goes according to plan, the Computer Science Department at Stanford University will be run using a spreadsheet that makes Excel look like a toy. Stanford researchers call it a logical spreadsheet -- a spreadsheet can apply not only mathematical formulas, but logic, to situations. The possibilities are as diverse as arranging soldier logistics, planning a balanced meal or plotting coursework for graduating.

 

To date, the problem has been how to handle inconsistencies in the the logic. That's what the Stanford team worked out, though it's still waiting on a patent.

 

And who's funding all this research? The Stanford Logic Group and SAP.

 

As for the other groups, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency is providing funding to four companies to develop commercial applications. DARPA, of course, is better known for its development of the Internet's precursor, ARPANET.



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