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A research group from Polish university is looking for SMEs interested in cooperation under advanced spreadsheet programming project

Country of Origin: Poland
Reference Number: TOPL20170920001
Publication Date: 20 September 2017

Summary

A research group from Polish university has developed a novel method of implementing advanced algorithms in a spreadsheet. The main and innovative advantage of this method is no need of using macros or scripts which simplify communication and create a possibility to exchange information between parties, which use different spreadsheet software with incompatible or nonexistent macro programming systems. The team is looking for SMEs interested in cooperation under a technical agreement.

Description

The research group from Polish university has a significant expertise in spreadsheets. It has developed a method of implementing advanced algorithms in spreadsheets, without the need of macro or scripting languages. Implementations are built from spreadsheet formulas only. Therefore such spreadsheets: 
(1) Are fully portable and can be used without any modifications on every desktop, mobile or online spreadsheet software system on the market, as well as transferred between such systems. They can be used to exchange information between parties which use different spreadsheet software, with incompatible or nonexistent macro programming systems.
(2) Are absolutely safe, i.e. can provide advanced computational abilities in spreadsheets without macros or scripts. They can be used to exchange information between parties which disallow spreadsheets with macros, due to security concerns.
(3) Have significantly lowered error rate, due to their automatic creation from descriptions in higher-order languages.
The present proposal has grown out of an initially theoretical project, to create a mathematical model of spreadsheet computations, and describe their power to express algorithms. In the course of work the research team has realized their potential to perform very useful computations, for which the users typically tended to employ external, more complex tools.
Scientists involved in creating the method are part of informatics institute which has a very strong reputation both in the theory of computer science, as well as programming excellence of the students, who get top positions in various programming competitions.
The team’s technological portfolio consists of a few research papers, and the following software:
(1) Prototype automatic translator converting any given SQL query into an equivalent spreadsheet implementation.
(2) Prototype automatic translator converting a Java program into an equivalent spreadsheet implementation.
(3) Two proof-of-the-concept mobile platform-independent spreadsheet applications: one for archaeologists and one for sales representatives.

University is looking for a company capable of developing jointly the method, creating a product out of it and brings it to the market.

Advantages and Innovations

Technology, prototype tools and practical expertise for rapid development of spreadsheet applications implementing advanced general purpose computations, without any macros and scripts, are novel and there are no competing solutions of this kind.

Developed spreadsheets can be used to faciliate information exchange between parties which:

(1) Use internally different spreadsheet software, with incompatible or nonexistent (like all mobile spreadhseets) macro programming.
(2) Disallow spreadsheets with macros, due to security concerns.
(3) Need very reliable spreadsheets, with low error rates.

Comparing to existing solutions, the technology offered by the university is a potential tool for companies, which can
make spreadsheet models easier and faster to create, more reliable (low error rate due to automatic translation from
a high-level language) and more powerful (due to translating from advanced algorithms), without sacrificing portability and security.

Stage Of Development

Prototype available for demonstration

Stage Of Development Comment

(1) Prototype translator implementations were made.
(2) Two proof-of-the-concept customer applications were done.

Requested partner

The university is looking for a partner (SME) who will be able to:
(1) Define the market niche for this type of technology, in particular determine if it should be targeted at end-users, companies with IT departments, or software companies.
(2) After making the above choice, cooperate and participate in advancing the present research-level, prototype technology and tools into commercial products.
(3) Bring the products to market.

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