A Spreadsheet for Everyday Symbolic Reasoning

Iliano Cervesato

We propose a deductive extension of the spreadsheet paradigm as the basis for an automated assistant for the daily reasoning and decision-making needs of computer users, in the same way as a spreadsheet application such as Microsoft Excel assists them every day with calculations simple and complex. Users without formal training in Logic or even Computer Science can interactively define logical rules in the same simple way as they define formulas in Excel. These rules are immediately evaluated thereby returning lists of values that satisfy them, again just like with numerical formulas. The deductive component is seamlessly integrated into the traditional spreadsheet so that a user not only still has access to the usual functionalities, but is able to mix deductive reasoning and numerical calculation.

Subjects: 3.5 Qualitative Reasoning; 6.3 User Interfaces

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