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Thread: Features - Michael Meeks: The spreadsheet is dead. Long live the spreadsheet!

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    Features - Michael Meeks: The spreadsheet is dead. Long live the spreadsheet!

    GM of Collabora Productivity, Michael Meeks, blogs about GPU-accelerated Calc.
    Read more.

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    Seething Cauldron of Hatred TheAnimus's Avatar
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    Re: Features - Michael Meeks: The spreadsheet is dead. Long live the spreadsheet!

    OK, maybe this is coming at it just from my little corner of the world, investment finance, mostly derivs, but this isn't going to help at all.

    The bottleneck on some of these spreadsheets (and boy, I've seen them, the worst was in 2006, running on Office XP, a 285meg behemoth, I didn't know it would let them get so big.) it wasn't due to formula references. It was due to bespoke libraries that were called via Excel formula. These wouldn't run on a GPU.

    Then we get to the fact that you want predictive branching for a lot of these formula, which GPUs suck at.

    Can't help but think this is a bandwagon hop-on.
    throw new ArgumentException (String, String, Exception)

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    Re: Features - Michael Meeks: The spreadsheet is dead. Long live the spreadsheet!

    Interesting posting/article.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheAnimus View Post
    OK, maybe this is coming at it just from my little corner of the world, investment finance, mostly derivs, but this isn't going to help at all. ... It was due to bespoke libraries that were called via Excel formula. These wouldn't run on a GPU. ... Can't help but think this is a bandwagon hop-on.
    If you're doing stuff outside of Calc then sure, it's pretty obvious that them optimising the Calc engine isn't going to make a blind bit of difference. Then again, if you're dependent on external libraries would you be looking at Calc as an Excel replacement? Probably not.

    You're right that it's not going to noticeably help everyone - but on the other hand if they've done work on getting a better sheet engine then that's surely worth an "attaboy" on principle? Plus if they've got the ability to seamlessly select the "best" engine for the job - CPU or GPU - then that's also worthy of some praise surely?

    I suspect that it's the engineering and science users that'll be able to make best use of the new features. And yes, I realise that AMD aren't being altruistic - they want to sell their APU's etc. On the other hand, the accusation of "bandwagoning" is maybe a bit harsh. Like I said, "we" get an improved engine out of it, so I'm not that bothered if AMD are driving it, I assume that given it's OpenCL based that it'll work fine on NVidia and Intel gear anyway. Not something you could say if NVidia were the partner because it's an easy assumption that they'd want CUDA used.

    Problem is that Joe Public isn't that bothered about calc'ing mult-mega datasets, they just want their accounts to look pretty. And I'm afraid that Excel is still the best tool for the job for that kind of thing.

    Career status: still enjoying my new career in DevOps, but it's keeping me busy...

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    Re: Features - Michael Meeks: The spreadsheet is dead. Long live the spreadsheet!

    While it may not provide real-world performance increases for most, I applaud the use of GPGPU to start accelerating all floating point operations. The future will be much better for it once it becomes standard.
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    Re: Features - Michael Meeks: The spreadsheet is dead. Long live the spreadsheet!

    I am actually surprised that the Intel chip came off so badly.

    There are some OpenCL benchmarks that Intel actually do rather well at. If you are crunching really really big data, then yes the Intel chip will lose as it just doesn't have the raw GPU horsepower, but the different cache structure on the Intel chip sometimes give it an advantage.

    I suspect once AMD have done all the hard work, Intel will pop in with a bit of a tweak to get performance parity

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    Re: Features - Michael Meeks: The spreadsheet is dead. Long live the spreadsheet!

    Take Human Resources, keeping track of staff attendance. A spreadsheet is created, then more and more data is added over time, with formulae extended to crunch it. The value of doing this might initially be to help the sales team understand whether people buy more red cars on a Tuesday, but the complexity quickly grows. Are people more likely to buy red cars with the performance pack and alloys on the Friday after pay day, for example?
    Why is Human Resources concerning itself with the cars that the company's staff buy? And what's so important about the the day of the week and the colour and options? ;o)

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