We were delighted to welcome Dr Carina Negreanu and Professor Andy Gordon from Microsoft Research to deliver their talk: “Bringing Intelligence to the End User” on 23rd November. Our speakers discussed how AI could revolutionise the way Excel users interact with spreadsheets, the goals of Microsoft’s Calc Intelligence project, and their experiences working for one of the world’s leading industrial research labs.
Calc Intelligence aims to bring intelligence to end-user programming, and in particular to spreadsheets. The spreadsheet has continually evolved to remain at the forefront of productivity tools and work practices for over forty years. For example, today’s spreadsheets embrace collaboration, serve as databases, are mobile, and encompass AI-powered interaction via natural language. However, the soul of the spreadsheet remains the grid, and its formulas. Indeed, spreadsheets are the world’s most widely-used programming technology – but they also embody apparently-fundamental limitations. We are working on foundational ideas that will take a qualitative step forward, to extend dramatically the reach of what end users can do with spreadsheets. In this talk we will give an overview of Calc Intelligence (focusing on our recent ML publications) and share career experiences from two researchers at different career stages (principal researcher and post-doc researcher).
Dr Carina Negreanu completed a PhD in modified gravity at the Cavendish, University of Cambridge in 2018, before embarking on a 1 year AI Residency with Microsoft Research. She now works full-time as a ML postdoc researcher in the Calc Intelligence group at Microsoft.
Professor Andy Gordon is a Senior Principal Research Manager at Microsoft Research, Cambridge. His main project is Calc Intelligence, bringing intelligence to end-user programming, especially spreadsheets. As a part-time position, he also holds the Chair in Computer Security in the School of Informatics in the University of Edinburgh. He convenes the University of Edinburgh’s Microsoft Research Joint Initiative in Informatics and participates in the Data Science PhD programme and the Cyber Security & Privacy Research Network.