Spreadsheets are widely used as a calculation tool in scientific modelling, business and finance. A spreadsheet application is a standard part of any office productivity suite.
It is well-known that a spreadsheet can be viewed as a kind of functional program. Assuming the absence of circular references, by translating each filled cell to a function, one obtains a recursion-free functional program.
However, translation in the other direction, from functional programs into spreadsheets, has not been well-studied. In general, it is impossible to translate a functional program into a spreadsheet that performs the same computation. However, observing that the denotation of a functional program is the least upper bound of a sequence of fixed point approximants, we can translate one of those approximants into a spreadsheet. The goal of this project is to investigate this connection.
Applications of this research might include a spreadsheet-based tool for teaching functional programming, or a spreadsheet-based development environment and debugger for experienced users of functional programming.
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