Architectural issues in spreadsheet languages

  • Alan G. Yoder
  • David L. Cohn
Session Papers
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 782)


We have recently begun to develop a programming language model for concurrent computation based upon the popular spreadsheet metaphor. We call it the Generalized Spreadsheet Model (GSM); it provides an easy-to-use, geometrically appealing interface to a concurrent computational facility. This interface directly captures the Dataflow relationships inherent in many important problems and makes them available for determining the order of computations. GSM's hierarchical approach to problem modeling also allows us to control granularity. In this paper we use a simple neural net example program to explore some architectural implications of our approach to concurrent computation; we conclude that some reasonably simple hardware assistance would yield significant performance gains.


Shared Memory Dependency Graph Priority Queue Runtime System Summing Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References & Additional Reading

  1. [Agh 91]
    Gul Agha. The Structure and Semantics of Actor Languages, Dept. of Computer Science, UI Urbana.Google Scholar
  2. [Aue 93]
    Joshua Auerbach. IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, personal communication.Google Scholar
  3. [AU 91]
    Arvind, L. Bic and T. Ungerer. Evolution of Data-Flow Computers. In Advanced Topics in Data-Flow Computing. Prentice-Hall, 1991.Google Scholar
  4. [BKT 93]
    Arindam Banerji, Dinesh Kulkarni, John Tracey, Paul Greenawalt and David Cohn. High-Performance Distributed Shared Memory Substrate for Workstation Clusters. HPDC-93, Spokane, Washington, IEEE, 1993.Google Scholar
  5. [CCA 88a]
    Jo Ann.C. Carland, James W. Carland, and Carroll D. Aby, Jr.. Spreadsheets: Placebos or Panacea? In Journal of Research on Computing in Education 21(1): 112–19. Fall 1988.Google Scholar
  6. [Car 88b]
    Sven A. Carlsson. A Longitudinal Study of Spreadsheet Program Use. In Journal of Management Information Systems 5(1): 82–100. Summer 1988.Google Scholar
  7. [Cas 92]
    Rommert J. Casimir. Real Programmers Don't Use Spreadsheets. In ACM SIGPLAN Notices 27(6): 10–16. June 1992.Google Scholar
  8. [CG 87]
    Robert L. Chew and Rajoo Goel. Transaction Processing Using Lotus 1-2-3. In Journal of Systems Management 38(1): 30–37. Jan 1987.Google Scholar
  9. [Cli 81]
    W. D. Clinger. Foundations of Actor Semantics. AI-TR-633, MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab, May 1981.Google Scholar
  10. [Dal 92]
    William J. Dally et al, The Message-Driven Processor: A Multicomputer Processing Node with Efficient Mechanisms. In IEEE Micro, pp 23–39, April 1992.Google Scholar
  11. [Den 91]
    The Evolution of “Static” Data-Flow Architecture, Jack Dennis; in Advanced Topics in Data-Flow Computing, J.L. Gaudiot, L. Bic, eds. (35–91). Prentice-Hall, 1991.Google Scholar
  12. [Fra 86]
    N. Francez. Fairness. Springer-Verlag, NY, 1986.Google Scholar
  13. [Hew 77]
    C. Hewitt. Viewing Control Structures as Patterns of Passing Messages. Journal of Artificial Intelligence, 8(3):323–64, June 1977.Google Scholar
  14. [HM90]
    Charles E. Hughes and J. Michael Moshell. Action Graphics; A Spreadsheet-based Language for Animated Simulation. In Visual Languages and Applications, Ichikawa, Jungert and Korfhage, eds. Plenum Press, 1990.Google Scholar
  15. [Jag 88]
    Suresh Jagannathan. A Programming Language Supporting First-Class, Parallel Environments. Technical Report LCS-TR 434, MIT, Dec. 1988.Google Scholar
  16. [Jag 90]
    Suresh Jagannathan. Coercion as a Metaphor for Computation. In Proceedings of the 1990 International Conference on Computer Languages. IEEE Computer Society Press, 1990.Google Scholar
  17. [JA 92]
    Suresh Jagannathan and Gul Agha, A Reflective Model of Inheritance, Dept of Computer Science Technical Report, UI Urbana 1990 (“to appear in ECOOP '92 proceedings, Springer-Verlag LNCS 615”).Google Scholar
  18. [JNZ 93]
    Jeff Johnson, Bonnie Nardi, Craig Zarmer, James Miller. ACE: Building Interactive Graphical Applications. In CACM 36(4): 41–55. April 1993.Google Scholar
  19. [KM 88]
    Ken Kahn and Mark Miller. Language Design and Open Systems. In The Ecology of Computation, North Holland, 1988.Google Scholar
  20. [Kam 90]
    Samuel Kamin. Programming Languages; An Interpreter-Based Approach. Addison Wesley, 1990.Google Scholar
  21. [Lie 86]
    Henry Liebermann. Using Prototypical Objects to Implement Shared Behavior in Object-Oriented Systems. In OOPSLA '86 Conference Proceedings, pp 214–223, 1986. Published as SIGPLAN Notice 21(11), November 1986.Google Scholar
  22. [Lit 90]
    C. Litecky. Spreadsheet Macro Programming: a Critique with Emphasis on Lotus 1-2-3. In Journal of Systems and Software 13(3): 197–200. Nov 1990.Google Scholar
  23. [Mae 87]
    Pattie Maes. Concepts and Experiments in Computational Reflection. Proceedings of OOPSLA'87, pp. 147–155. Oct 4–8, 1987.Google Scholar
  24. [Mas 89]
    D. Mason. An Empirical Analysis of Spreadsheet Usage: A Solution Storing Up Problems. In Journal of Information Technology 6(4): 159–63. Sep 1989.Google Scholar
  25. [Mye 91]
    Brad A. Myers. Graphical Techniques in a Spreadsheet for Specifying User Interfaces. In CHI '91 Proceedings. (New Orleans, LA April 27–May 2, 1991) ACM/Addison Wesley, 1991.Google Scholar
  26. [NLB 89]
    H. Albert Napier, David M. Lane, Richard R. Batsell, and Norman S. Guadango. Impact of a Restricted Natural Language Interface on Ease of Learning and Productivity. In CACM 32(10): 1190–98, Oct 1989.Google Scholar
  27. [Nie 93]
    Jakob Nielsen. Noncommand User Interfaces. In CACM 36(4):83–99.Google Scholar
  28. [RCM 93]
    George Robertson, Stuart K. Card and Jock Mackinlay. Information Visualization using 3D Interactive Animation. In CACM 36(4): 57–71. April 1993.Google Scholar
  29. [SP90]
    J. Sajaniemi and J. Pekkanen. An Empirical Analysis of Spreadsheet Calculation. In Software: Practice and Experience 20(11): 1097–1114. Nov 1990.Google Scholar
  30. [WL 90]
    Nicholas Wilde and Clayton Lewis. Spreadsheet-based Interactive Graphics: from Prototype to Tool. In CHI '90 Proceedings. ACM Press 1990.Google Scholar
  31. [YC 93]
    Alan G. Yoder and David L. Cohn. Making Concurrent Programming Easy. Univ. of Notre Dame, Tech Report 93-8: Postscript version by anon. ftp from, /pub/TechReports/1993/tr-93-8.psGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan G. Yoder
    • 1
  • David L. Cohn
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Notre DameUSA

Personalised recommendations