Sometimes it just takes a simple new feature in a popular piece of software to remind us how computer science just does cool stuff.
Excel 2013 has a new feature, Flash Fill, where you can reformat data by giving an example or two. If you have a column of names like
You can start a column to the right and type
and the rest of the table gets filled in automatically.
Flash Fill is based on a 2011 POPL paper by Sumit Gulwani (later a CACM highlight). It's been explained to me as applying machine learning to binary decision diagrams.
Flash Fill allows a user to manipulate data without having to write macros or Perl scripts. Someone with no technical background can use Flash Fill and enjoy the CS goodness inside without even knowing it is there.