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Simon Thorne & David Ball


In this paper we present a novel alternative means of modelling decision support spreadsheets called Example Driven Modelling.

The concept and rationale of the approach is discussed and experimental evidence is presented illustrating the benefits of the methodology.

We demonstrate the application of EDM on a real world spreadsheet and compare the performance of the EDM model with the traditional spreadsheet.

Finally we discuss the relative advantages and disadvantages of this approach and consider other areas of application in spreadsheet modelling.


Proposed human spreadsheet interaction method
Proposed human spreadsheet interaction method

In the current spreadsheet development paradigm, strain is placed on the natural weakness of the human, logical deduction and manipulating mathematics, i.e. thinking up formulae to satisfy a problem.

Further the strengths of the human (pattern matching and generating real-world examples) are not exploited by the current spreadsheet paradigm.

A potentially more beneficial paradigm would be to play on the natural strengths of the human and the conventional computer. In this new paradigm, the human would pattern match and generate real world examples, the computer would use its ability of mathematical manipulation and logical deduction to build a model from the examples provided by the user.


2009, 42nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), January, pages 1-9

Full article

The potential of Example Driven Modelling for decision support spreadsheets