[ExI] ai class at stanford

spike spike66 at att.net
Wed Aug 24 16:29:21 UTC 2011

>... On Behalf Of BillK
Subject: Re: [ExI] ai class at stanford

On Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 2:41 PM, Kelly Anderson wrote:

>> What we really need for spreadsheets to more fully reach their full
potential are:...
>> Give me that and I'll be all over programming in Excel.

>...Yes, very nice, except for the elephant in the room...

I was thinking of a different elephant.  Anything written in Excel is in
some sense owned or controlled by the BILL.  It is analogous to building
your dream house on someone else's land.  I have done some really cool
things in Excel, such as the atmosphere model, some iterative numerical
analysis stuff, a model of a bouncing tetrahedron (with graphics!  {8^D), a
sudoku solver, plenty of useful stuff in a programming environment that puts
out solutions in a form useful to the many other excel users in any big

That last point is important.  We have a lot of Matlab users, a lot of
Labview users, C++ jockeys, all of these being powerful tools for a controls
engineer, indispensible.  But most engineers never use either Matlab or
Labview, and plenty couldn't write a line of code in any language that came
along after Fortran went out of fashion.  On the other hand, every person
who can fog a mirror in a big company such as Lockheeed, down to and
including the guys who empty trash cans and possibly even upper management,
use excel regularly.  So for that possibly bad reason, Excel allows
collaborations where each specialty can create a worksheet.  If you know how
to write a specification for a sheet and know how to integrate other
people's work, you can do some truly amazing stunts in that environment.
But it still belongs to the BILL in some important sense, the one with a G,
not a K.


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