In 2016, Mark Ziemann and his colleagues at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, quantified the problem. They found that one-fifth of papers in top genomics journals contained gene-name conversion errors in Excel spreadsheets published as supplementary data2. These data sets are frequently accessed and used by other geneticists, so errors can perpetuate and distort further analyses.
However, despite the issue being brought to the attention of researchers — and steps being taken to fix it — the problem is still rife, according to an updated and larger analysis led by Ziemann, now at Deakin University in Geelong, Australia3. His team found that almost one-third of more than 11,000 articles with supplementary Excel gene lists published between 2014 and 2020 contained gene-name errors (see ‘A growing problem’).
Simple checks can detect autocorrect errors, says Ziemann, who researches computational reproducibility in genetics. But without those checks, the errors can easily go unnoticed because of the volume of data in spreadsheets.
In the pre-computer days, people used these approximations due to having to do all calculations by hand or with the help of tables. Of course, many approximations are done by computers themselves — the way computers calculate functions such as sine() and exp() involves approaches like Taylor series expansions.
The specific approximation techniques I try (1 “exact” and 6 different approximation… including the final ones where I put approximations within approximations just because I can) are not important. But the concept that you should know how to try out and test approximation approaches in case you need them is important for those doing numerical computing.
Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell
Publication Date: 3 February 2016 (updated for links 2021)
Publication Site: LinkedIn, CompAct, Society of Actuaries
Cell maps are intended as tools for reviewing spreadsheets. If you spot an error or an inconsistency in the cell map this should be recorded and, if practicable, corrected.
The cell mapping software provides a method for recording a reviewer’s comments. All comments are linked to a specific map (or data table), The comments for a workbook under review are collated in a single worksheet.
Excel may be the most influential software ever built. It is a canonical example of Steve Job’s bicycle of the mind, endowing its users with computational superpowers normally reserved for professional software engineers. Armed with those superpowers, users can create fully functional software programs in the form of a humble spreadsheet to solve problems in a seemingly limitless number of domains. These programs often serve as high-fidelity prototypes of domain specific applications just begging to be brought to market in a more polished form.
If you want to see the future of B2B software, look at what Excel users are hacking together in spreadsheets today. Excel’s success has inspired the creation of software whose combined enterprise value dwarfs that of Excel alone.
Excel is a very popular tool among all data users. It can be leveraged to unlock the value of open data of all kinds, and it is particularly well-suited to transforming, analyzing, and visualizing Census data. This course will show how to use Excel to access, manipulate, and visualize Census data. It will also tools for doing advanced statistical analysis.
After completing this course, you will be able to: ✓ Access data from the Census Bureau using the American FactFinder ✓ Format tables for data analysis ✓ Perform basic and advanced analysis of Census data using Excel ✓ Create data visualizations such as sparklines, hierarchical charts, and histograms
The sheer versatility and accessibility of the spreadsheet has made it the Swiss Army Knife of modern day productivity, inserting itself into almost every workflow across every industry. Over the past three decades, spreadsheets have become the de facto way for information to be collected, distributed and analysed.
But, as our operational and computational needs become ever greater, the limits of Excel become clear, and opportunities emerge for companies and tools to replace the spreadsheet.
Excel now dominates the spreadsheet world, but once upon a time there was actual competition among spreadsheet products. This program looks at Quattro 1.0, Allways 1.0, Lotus 1-2-3 3.0, Ashton-Tate’s Full Impact, and Excel 2.1. Guests include Gary Kildall, Jan Lewis, and Jared Taylor of PC Magazine. Originally broadcast in 1988.