Human-Computer Interaction Institute
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


Using Objects of Measurement
to Detect Spreadsheet Errors

Michael J. Coblenz

July 2005

Senior Honors Thesis

Also appears as Computer Science Department
Technical Report CMU-CS-05-150


Keywords: Spreadsheets, spreadsheet errors, unit systems, spreadsheet languages

There are many common errors in spreadsheets that tradtional spreadsheet systems do not help users find. This paper presents a statically-typed spreadsheet language that adds additional information about the objects that spreadsheet values represent. By annotating values with both units and labels, users denote both the system of measurement in which the values are expressed as well as the properties of the objects to which the values refer. This information is used during comptuation to detect some invalid computations and allow users to identify properties of resulting values.

23 pages

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