ISO Approves Ada 2012 Programming Language Standard

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2012-12-19 Print this article Print

Prominent Ada users include the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for many of its air-traffic-control systems. Many aviation systems suppliers and airplane makers use Ada for avionics systems. And several railway systems around the world, including the New York City subway, use Ada in their core apps. In addition, NASA utilizes Ada in many of its systems, and a host of military command and control systems employ the language.

"Every time I fly, I am comforted by the fact that most of the world's air-traffic-control systems have Ada in them," said Grady Booch, chief scientist for software engineering at IBM Research and author of the book "Software Engineering with Ada" published in 1983.

AdaCore, which has dedicated itself to Ada, has a long history and close connection with the Ada programming language and makes and sells the GNAT Pro and a host of other tools. GNAT was initially known as the GNU NYU Ada Translator. AdaCore employees worked on the original Ada 83 design and review, played key roles in the Ada 95 project and Ada 2005 effort, and are now deeply involved with the Ada 2012 revision.

"Ada 2012 is the logical next step along Ada's trailblazing path toward supporting high-integrity programming," said S. Tucker Taft, director of language research at AdaCore. "By integrating contract-based programming features directly in the language, Ada remains the model for combining industrial-strength safety and security with the flexibility and expressiveness needed for building today's most challenging applications."

Moreover, Ada offers an "excellent match to two major trends in technology: the increasing reliance on software for safety and security-critical systems, and the movement toward multicore architectures for performance," Schonberg said. "Ada was designed with reliability as a major goal; vulnerabilities that are commonplace in other languages—such as the notorious 'buffer overflow' problem—do not arise in Ada. And as just noted, the provision of contract-based programming puts Ada in the forefront of language technology for reliable systems.

"Ada's concurrency model, coupled with explicit features for multicore support, make it a practical solution for today's hardware platforms. Further, Ada 2012 is not simply an ISO standard; it's a language that is available now with a production implementation in AdaCore's GNAT Pro development environment," he continued.

In addition to Ada's continued use in its traditional domains, including aerospace, defense and transportation, there is new interest from other fields such as finance, automotive and medical devices, Schonberg said.

"In short, Ada is viable as a development language now more than ever, with features that respond to real requirements and with implementations that are available today," he said.


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