Data-Parallel Spreadsheet Programming

Florian Biermann

Publikation: Bog / Antologi / Rapport / Ph.D.-afhandlingPh.d.-afhandling


Spreadsheets are used in industry and academia across all domains and their application
ranges from simple accounting to sequencing of amino acids. Some businesses re-use
and extend spreadsheets over years and not only complexity but also performance
becomes a problem.
In the last two decades, parallel shared-memory multiprocessor computers have become
abundant, but they remain notoriously difficult to program correctly. Therefore, it is
often not possible for end-users to make full use of their parallel hardware.
Declarative, functional programming languages are an alternative to imperative
programming languages that makes programming shared-memory multiprocessors
much easier: due to the absence of side effects in these languages, compilers and
libraries can parallelize programs automatically. The formula language of spreadsheets
is a declarative, first-order functional language and therefore potentially allows for an
automatic parallelization of spreadsheet calculations.
This thesis explores the design space of automatically parallelizing spreadsheet
recalculations. Often times, computations in spreadsheets are structured in a way that
corresponds to declarative high-level programming on arrays. Therefore, the focus of
this thesis lies on practical data-parallelism in a spreadsheet model of computations.
This thesis makes the following contributions:
•• we show how to automatically re-write high-level spreadsheet structures into
higher-order functional programs for parallel execution;
•• we contrast and combine our re-writing technique with a recalculation algorithm
that dynamically exploits dataflow parallelism in spreadsheets;
•• we describe a representation of two-dimensional arrays that pragmatically caters
to the needs of high-level array programming; and
•• we explore a hypothetical approach to array fusion and laziness in a purely
functional, strict spreadsheet language.
ForlagIT-Universitetet i København
Antal sider199
ISBN (Trykt)978-87-7949-015-4
StatusUdgivet - 2018


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