Probabilistic Programs as Spreadsheet Queries

Andrew D. Gordon, Claudio V. Russo, Marcin Szymczak, Johannes Borgström, Nicolas Rolland, Thore Graepel, Daniel Tarlow

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


We describe the design, semantics, and implementation of a probabilistic programming language where programs are spreadsheet queries. Given an input database consisting of tables held in a spreadsheet, a query constructs a probabilistic model conditioned by the spreadsheet data, and returns an output database determined by inference. This work extends probabilistic programming systems in three novel aspects: (1) embedding in spreadsheets, (2) dependently typed functions, and (3) typed distinction between random and query variables. It empowers users with knowledge of statistical modelling to do inference simply by editing textual annotations within their spreadsheets, with no other coding.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProgramming Languages and Systems
Subtitle of host publication24th European Symposium on Programming, ESOP 2015, Held as Part of the European Joint Conferences on Theory and Practice of Software, ETAPS 2015, London, UK, April 11-18, 2015. Proceedings
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-662-46669-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-662-46668-1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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