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Some afterthoughts on the use of Spreadsheets to work with Images

Although this project was a very solid attempt to start working with images in a spreadsheet like context, in the end it didn't work out too well because, often image analysis relies on grouping an regrouping of elements. To understand this: suppose we have 4 data sets which we want to align and compare to each other: we would like to compare all those that belong to group 1 and 2 against those of group 3 and 4. However, two days later we want to see whether there is any relation between groups 1/3 and 2/4. Such a simple change to the analysis question directly requires the user to turn their spreadsheet upside down. Potential solutions to this are adding extra 'selecting' operators and so on, but in the end what one then does is teaching those poor biologists to program; clearly something they are not cut out for (keep on classifying things). OF course the comment above is also valid for general purpose spreadsheets, without the image part; and indeed, often you see people laying out their spreadsheets in the most horrifying ways to get what they need. E.g: we have 5 subtables of different sizes and want to compare the averages of the columns of all tables. Try to do that without INDEX and similar functions.