The SpreadSheetSpace Team

SpreadSheetSpace was born as a scientific project. The SpreadSheetSpace proposition, published in the IEEE Computer Magazine[1] and described in its initial video[2] can be summarised as follows. In the same way as in 1990 the World Wide Web generalized the hypertext concept leveraging the Internet global connectivity, now the SpreadSheetSpace generalizes the spreadsheet concept, i.e., that of tables enriched with formulas and data dependencies, again leveraging the global Internet connectivity. The principle is to extend the data dependencies from the single spreadsheet domain to the global network domain, allowing each cell of a spreadsheet to point to any cell of any other spreadsheet.

It seems simple, one might envision just an extension of the link annotation. However, it is not that simple as the point is to extend the event-based system upon which spreadsheets are based to the global Internet domain, in such a way that the update of a cell in a spreadsheet belonging to a community of spreadsheets be able to issue events which propagate to a number of other spreadsheets through the Internet, thus triggering the update of all the cells that depend on the source cell, either directly or indirectly.

In other words, the SpreadSheetSpace is a Web of connected and interdependent Spreadsheets.

But SpreadSheetSpace is not just about science. It is also an industrial initiative which touches issues of extreme relevance. In particular the “Single Version of the Truth” concept, intended as the synchronization among all the users that operate on a shared set of data, opposed to the “Multiple Versions of the Truth” concept, intended as the situation in which different users operate on different incoherent versions of the same data, turns out to be the central aspect of the SpreadSheetSpace proposition. The second SpreadSheetSpace short video[3] prevalently focuses on such an issue and more in general summarises the industrial aspects of the SpreadSheetSpace initiative.

The team that designed and implemented the system in these last four years is led by Prof. Massimo Maresca, who currently teaches Computer Networks and Software Platforms at the School of Engineering of the University of Genoa, and at the time at which the SpreadSheetSpace project was conceived used to teach Computer Systems at the School of Statistics of the University of Padua, and by Prof. Pierpaolo Baglietto, who teaches Computer Systems and Distributed Systems at the School of Engineering of the University of Genoa. The SpreadSheetSpace system was developed and engineered by M3S, a high tech company located in Genoa, founded about fifteen years ago by Prof. Maresca and Prof. Baglietto as a spin-off of their activity along with Marconi Communications. Since the beginning of the project, about five years ago, several M. Sc. And Ph. D. students worked on it while Currently the SpreadSheetSpace staff includes about ten people. The variety of experiences of these people leads to an execution plan that balances scientific evolution, industrial evolution and marketing, to engineer the SpreadSheetSpace technology and bring it to real applications.

[1] M. Maresca, The Spreadsheet Space: Eliminating the Boundaries of Data Cross-Referencing, IEEE Computer, Vo. 49 n. 9, 2016.

[2] What is SpreadSheetSpace?

[3] SpreadSheetSpace Explained