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Ada: A Promising Beginning Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131464D
Original Publication Date: 1981-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-11
Document File: 5 page(s) / 24K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

William E. Carlson: AUTHOR [+3]


DoD's standardization on Ada will encourage development of Ada-based products benefitting nonmilitary as well as military users.

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This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1981 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

Ada: A Promising Beginning

William E. Carlson

Western Digital Corporation

DoD's standardization on Ada will encourage development of Ada-based products benefitting nonmilitary as well as military users.

Ada seems destined to become the dominant programming language of the 1980's. A modern generalpurpose language with unique features to aid the implementation of large real-time systems, Ada fully satisfies the requirements of the US Department of Defense, which funded its development, and does so without compromising its utility in nonmilitary applications. The enthusiastic, rapidly growing community of Ada implementors and prospective users includes many people who have no DoD ties whatsoever.

Much of the success of the Ada program can be attributed to the fact that computer scientists and users from around the world participated in developing the language. It has taken six years to converge on an Ada specification suitable for review under US and international standards procedures. Several thousand contributors analyzed the requirements and design documentation, and more than 50 people were intimately involved in some facet of the design.

Ada, however, was not designed by a committee. Because Jean Ichbiah, then with Cii Honeywell-Bull, assumed complete responsibility for all design decisions, the language is a coherent, integrated whole rather than a collection of interesting but disconnected features.

Initial implementations of Ada are now underway. DoD has committed to two well-funded efforts to develop compilers and associated programming tools. The department wants to stimulate commercial development of related software and plans to rely heavily on the products of private industry. DoD's approach to the standards process has provided the stability that commercial organizations and foreign governments need to develop Ada software and make it widely available. Currently, non-DoD implementations are being funded by private companies, as well as by the Commission of the European Communities and the British and German governments.

This article reviews DoD's reasons for developing a new standard computer programming language and assesses DoD's progress toward achieving its goals.

The problem addressed by Ada

Several intensive studies completed in the early 1970's identified language proliferation as one of DoD's most significant software problems. On many system development projects, custom languages and compilers were being developed to-in theory-optimize them for specific applications. The resulting languages we...