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The Ada Compiler Validation Capability

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131469D
Original Publication Date: 1981-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-11
Document File: 14 page(s) / 49K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

John B. Goodenough: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

The Implementers' Guide, tests, procedures, and tools together comprise the Ada Compiler Validation Capability, or ACVC. The ACVC effort began in September of 1979, well before finalization of the Ada standard; it is scheduled for completion in October 1981. The government has an option to extend this effort until April 1983. Research in this extension period would focus on improving compiler validation techniques.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

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 http://www.computer.org/ (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.

The Ada Compiler Validation Capability

John B. Goodenough

SofFech,Inc.

ACVC tests, tools, procedures, and documentation represent a forward looking, detailed strategy for enforcing conformance to the Ada standard when it really counts-before widespread implementation.

Compiler validation tests are intended to show whether a compiler correctly implements a particular programming language. Tests exist for several popular languages-Cobol,' Fortran,2 Pascal,3 and Algol.4 The tests we are developing will be used by DoD to enforce (and encourage) correct implementations of Ada. 5

We are not, however, merely producing a set of test programs for validating Ada compilers; we are defining the procedures for testing compilers and providing tools to make testing easier.

A unique part of our effort is the Ada Compiler Validation Implementers' Guide, or IG. This document discusses the implications of the Ada standard, especially those that are not obvious and those that may pose implementation difficulties. The analysis presented in the IG is needed to design a comprehensive set of validation tests; this analysis will be available to implementers. By helping implementers see potential problems, misinterpretations, and ramifications of the Ada standard, we hope to encourage the development of conforming compilers, or at least reduce the unintentional creation of nonconforming implementations.

Overview of the ACVC

The Implementers' Guide, tests, procedures, and tools together comprise the Ada Compiler Validation Capability, or ACVC. The ACVC effort began in September of 1979, well before finalization of the Ada standard; it is scheduled for completion in October 1981. The government has an option to extend this effort until April 1983. Research in this extension period would focus on improving compiler validation techniques.

Limitations of the ACVC.

Strictly speaking, any compiler containing an error is a nonconforming implemen- tation. It is well known that "black box" tests-tests constructed without internal knowledge of the program being tested-cannot detect all programming errors; therefore, it is highly unlikely that a validated compiler (one that has passed all the tests) is free of errors. In addition, tests checking adherence to a language standard do not address all aspects of a compiler that are of interest to its purchasers and users. A purchaser may be interested, for example, in maintainability as reflected by the compiler's modular structure, the quality of the documentation describing its design and implementatio...