[ExI] ai class at stanford

Adrian Tymes atymes at gmail.com
Wed Aug 24 00:56:54 UTC 2011

On Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 5:27 PM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:
> I am pushing this notion for a reason.  The engineering environment in which
> I work has enormous resources already in excel sheets.  An example would be
> an extremely sophisticated atmosphere model, which has evolved over the
> years, and takes into account F10.7, geomagnetic index, latitude, longitude,
> altitude, time of day, temperature, pressure, a bunch of other minor
> factors, and it works really well, but the catch is, it's a spreadsheet.
> Porting all that to any other language would be a nightmare.


You are attempting to invoke code reuse, of something that was
never designed to be reusable.

This is an easy to understand notion.  On a small scale, it is
even good.  However, if you wind up trying to do more than
simple projects this way, you will soon find that the overhead
greatly exceeds the cost of just biting the bullet and porting this
into something with simple interfaces.  Maybe have the sheets
running on a server somewhere, with ODBC access set up.

If that sounds like waaay more effort than it's worth - consider
how much you'd be using of that.  Consider, for instance, if
all of that was available to any other - authenticated - Web
browser on a page that wanted to include those functions to
calculate and display the likelihood of hurricane passage in a
given area, to tell some mayor who knows what zip code he's
in whether he should be ordering an evacuation, and if so in
which direction to tell people to flee.  Would it be easier to
ship each mayor that set of Excel sheets, or would it be
easier to set up Web access to those sheets' functions?

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