One of the big current challenges in the computer industry is how we can make the power of the modern multi-core CPUs available to a large audience. Many attempts center on improving and extending existing procedural programming languages or shifting towards paradigms that are friendlier to parallel execution, like functional or dataflow programming. Unfortunately, most of them only address trained programmers and computer scientists and usually require a complete upfront design of the desired solution for the problem at hand.
So what about domain specialists in areas like advanced data analytics (e.g. data mining), data visualization or financial analysis (e.g. business intelligence and financial controlling), who require (and thus are often used to) more intuitive approaches and tools to solving their problems?
Even better: wouldn’t it be great if there even was a way enabling practically “everyone” to easily create solutions for their everyday computing problems, harnessing the full power of parallel programming, without the need to write a single line of code?
Interestingly, there is already a large group of people who unconsciously write parallel dataflow programs every day without being aware of it: I am talking about the users of spreadsheet applications like Excel or Calc (which is part of Open Office). Unfortunately, spreadsheets are afflicted with 5 major problems, so this choice can turn out to be a dead-end street for many.
What are these problems, and is there a way to get out of this trap? Can we bring back the fun into mining information from our data?