Excel meets Lambda

by Andy Gordon


Based on joint work with Simon Peyton Jones, Jack Williams, and many others.

The Calc Intelligence project at Microsoft Research Cambridge has a long-standing partnership with the Excel team to transform spreadsheet formulas into a full-fledged programming language. At POPL 2019, we announced data types (which allow cells to contain first-class records) and dynamic arrays (which allow a formula in a cell to compute a whole array that spills into adjacent cells). In a blog post in December 2020 and a sponsored talk at POPL 2021, we announced LAMBDA, which makes Excel’s formulas Turing-complete. The purpose of this talk is to get you excited about the programming possibilities opened up by LAMBDA in Excel – the world’s most widely used programming language – and to outline some research challenges.

School of Computer and Cyber Sciences Augusta University