The global economy is built on two things: the internal combustion engine and Microsoft Excel. Never forget this.
After the pioneering work of Canadian Professor Richard Mattessich (1922-2019), who suggested in 1961 to use budget simulation in form of a computerized spreadsheet, the next key invention in the development of electronic spreadsheets was made in the summer of 1969 by his compatriots Rene Pardo and Remy Landau, who just graduated from Harvard University.
The program, called LANPAR (LANguage for Programming Arrays at Random or LANdau PARdo) was developed by Pardo and Landau in response to the problem that Bell Canada and AT&T had in changing the numerous cells in their budgeting forms. Pardo imagined, that the managers at Bell Canada shouldn’t depend on programmers to program and modify budgeting forms (which took several months), and he thought of letting users type out forms in any order and having an electronic computer calculate results in the right order (“Forward Referencing/Natural Order Calculation”). LANPAR, written for 6 weeks in the middle of 1969, introduced forward referencing and natural order recalculation, which allowed for a complex set of connections to be quickly charted across the array of cells of an electronic ledger. LANPAR was sold to the Plant Budgeting Divisions of Bell Canada, AT&T, and the 18 Operating Telephone Companies across the U.S., in addition to General Motors in Michigan. The program was written in Fortran language, coded on punch tapes, and ran on the General Electric GE-400 Time Sharing Series on several computers in North America and on mainframes Honeywell 6000 series used by Bell Canada, AT&T, and General Motors.
In August 1970 Pardo and Landau filed a U.S. Patent 4,398,249 on a spreadsheet automatic natural order calculation algorithm. While the patent was initially rejected by the patent office as being a purely mathematical invention, following 12 years of appeals, Pardo and Landau won a landmark court case at the Predecessor Court of the Federal Circuit, overturning the Patent Office in 1983 — establishing that “something does not cease to become patentable merely because the point of novelty is in an algorithm.”
Rene K. Pardo was born in 1947 in Lausanne-Pully, Switzerland, to parents who were residents of Egypt, with ancestry from Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Ukraine. His family emigrated to Canada when he was at the age of 4. In the New World Pardo studied at Westmount High School (1964) in Westmount, Quebec, then got his BSc degree at McGill University (1968) in Montreal, and an M.Ed. degree at Harvard University (1969).
In 1970 Pardo founded LANPAR Technologies Inc. in Markham, Ontario. Until the early 1980s, LANPAR was Canada’s largest independent distributor of computer terminals, between 1982 and 1988, the company was involved in the distribution and manufacturing of personal computers, then shift its corporate focus to sales and service of PC networking products. The company was dissolved in January 2003. Pardo also founded companies for Digital Image Library and Online Communities, advanced hybrid capacitor-battery energy storage technology, advanced membrane technology, providing clean drinking water and electricity for emerging nations with portable solar-wind powered technology, area lighting LED technology, and innovations in the electrical & construction industry, energy management & control.
Besides their seminal work in the area of electronic spreadsheets, Pardo and Landau pioneered also: 1. The educational multimedia game & online computer timesharing-based multiplayer games; 2. Online conference registration and message retrieval system; 3. Artistic computer-assisted animation.