New Generation Computing

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 287–304 | Cite as

Spreadsheets with Incremental Queries as a user interface for logic programming

  • M. H. van Emden
  • Masaru Ohki
  • Akikazu Takeuchi
Regular Papers


We believe that currently marketed programs leave unexploited much of the potential of the spreadsheet interface. The purpose of our work is to obtain suggestions for wider application of this interface by showing how to obtain its main features as a subset of logic programming. Our work is based on two observations. The first is that spreadsheets would already be a useful enhancement to interactive languages such as APL and Basic. Although Prolog is also an interactive language, this interface cannot be used in the same direct way. Hence our second observation: the usual query mechanism of Prolog does not provide the kind of interaction this application requires. But it can be provided by the Incremental Query, a new query mechanism for Prolog. The two observations together yield the spreadsheet as a display of the state of the substitution of an incremental query in Prolog. Recalculation of dependent cells is achieved by automatic modification of the query in response to a new increment that would make it unsolvable without the modification.


Spreadsheet User Interface Logic Programming Incremental Query Interactive Problem Solving 


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Copyright information

© Ohmsha, Ltd. and Springer 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. H. van Emden
    • 1
  • Masaru Ohki
    • 2
  • Akikazu Takeuchi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Institute for New Generation Computer TechnologyICOT Research CenterTokyoJapan

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