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

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

In this episode, senior researchers Andy Gordon and Simon Peyton Jones provide an insightful account of how Microsoft Excel has advanced as a programming language. Excel continues to be a popular choice for people across various fields. From teachers to finance executives, individuals use Excel to make sense of data in their respective domains. However, what many fail to realize is that they are essentially programming when working with Excel.

Andy and Simon provide an in-depth account of Excel's programming journey, tracing the expansion of data types that enable greater functionality in Excel, as well as the release of the LAMBDA function, which has made the Excel formula language Turing-complete. They also explore the human-computer interaction challenge inherent in programming, how research has influenced Excel, and how Excel continues to evolve, potentially serving as the first language for aspiring programmers. They also touch on how incorporating probabilistic reasoning into Excel can enhance decision-making.

Overall, this episode sheds light on how Excel has grown beyond its origins as a spreadsheet tool and highlights the potential of Excel as a programming language of the future.

Link to the episode: https://open.spotify.com/episode/7auVImidUuR2310OO05MfR

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Microsoft Research Podcast
Microsoft Research Podcast

An ongoing series of conversations bringing you right up to the cutting edge of Microsoft Research.

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