|PAPERS & PRESENTATIONS FROM EuSpRIG 2016|
|Formal papers will be uploaded to arxiv.org soon. Here are links to the presentations:
“Teaching methods are erroneous: approaches which lead to erroneous end-user computing” Mária Csernoch highlighted boring textbooks that teach Excel following the Ribbon interface, rather than working from simple to advanced problems. She liked the Walkenbach books because they show array formulas, and urged the adoption of the Hungarian Sprego syllabus for teaching Excel in schools using few building blocks including array formulas.
“Characteristics of Spreadsheets Developed with the SSMI Methodology” by Paul Mireault described the way he teaches how to structure spreadsheets. His architecture separates interface from calculation, simple formulas with few operators, and makes extensive use of range names for constants and rows of data. He advocates drawing a data flow and process diagram first so that you really understand how the solution should be organized before you starting writing formulas.
“A Programmatic Approach to the development of Solutions in Excel” by Peter Bartholomew took the challenge of using range names to its ultimate conclusion. Against those who deprecate the use of names, he uses only names, and his rewriting of a FAST debt repayment model shows that it can be done. One advantage of this is that documenting the formulas becomes as easy as listing the names.
“A Conceptual Model for Measuring the Complexity of Spreadsheets” by Thomas Reschenhofer presented a number of possible complexity metrics from analogies with software engineering and linguistics, such as the ratio of formula cells, and the numbers of precedents and dependents. I look forward to his extending the work to establish which of them form a sufficient set of metrics which can be efficiently derived.
“A Pilot Study Exploring Spreadsheet Risk in Scientific Research” is a student paper by Ghada AlTarawneh, presented by Simon Thorne. He presented the results of interviews with researchers about their use of spreadsheets and their perception of risk.
“The use of the Power Query / Get & Transform tools in Excel” by Simon Hurst was one of the rare excursions into data analysis in Excel. This is a column-oriented world rather than the row-oriented world inhabited by financial modellers. He showed how Power Query can be many times more efficient at handling large amounts of data than the common practice of VLOOKUP for data matching. He demonstrated how to consolidate account balance data from several separate Excel workbooks and use the consolidated data to create a structure management report.
We finished up with a general discussion of the direction of Eusprig and how we could publicise the event better, and how we can attract a broader audience. Do please give us your opinion on this.
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