Improving the Performance of a Large Scale Spreadsheet: A Case Study

A.A.S. Swidan, Felienne Hermans, Ruben Koesoemowidjojo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Spreadsheets are used extensively for calculations in several domains, especially in finance and insurance. Spreadsheets offer a clear benefit to their users: they are an easy to learn application in which to express their business needs, however, there are downsides too. Like software, spreadsheets can have a long life span in which they are used by several people. This leads to maintainability issues, including errors, but also often to issues with performance. In this paper we present a case study in which a model for shortfall calculations, originally implemented in a spreadsheet, was adapted to run on an HPC cluster. We present the design, analysis and implementation of the solution which clearly improved the performance of the spreadsheet, with a factor of 50 in some cases. We subsequently reflect on challenges related to reverse engineering, testing and scalability. Finally, we identify opportunities that would provide automatic support to refactoring, dependency recognition and performance profiling in future spreadsheet optimization projects.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2016 IEEE 23rd International Conference on Software Analysis, Evolution, and Reengineering, SANER 2016
EditorsA. Jiu
Place of PublicationPiscataway, NJ
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5090-1855-0
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2016
EventSANER 2016: 23rd IEEE International Conference on Software Analysis, Evolution, and Reengineering - Osaka, Japan
Duration: 14 Mar 201618 Mar 2016


ConferenceSANER 2016


  • simulation models
  • spreadsheet optimization
  • large-scale
  • high-performance


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