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Dr. Peter Chapin (Vermont Technical College) receives ACM SIGAda 2017 Robert Dewar Award

By: brukardt
15 December 2017 at 21:52

The ARA congratulates Dr. Peter Chapin on his receipt of ACM SIGAda’s Robert Dewar Award, which acknowledges outstanding contributions to the Ada community. Dr. Chapin was a major contributor to the Vermont Tech Lunar CubeSat project ( whose software was written in SPARK/Ada. The Vermont Tech CubeSat was launched in November 2013 and successfully completed its full two-year mission, the only one out of twelve academic CubeSats to do so. Dr. Chapin attributes the software’s reliability in large part to the SPARK/Ada technology, which was used to prove the absence of run-time errors.

Dr. Chapin is now coordinating the work on CubedOS, a SPARK/Ada implementation of a software framework for small spacecraft, with plans to release the result as an open-source project. Other groups will thus have access to a high-integrity software base for their CubeSats, which currently have a very high failure rate.

Dr. Chapin is the co-author, along with Prof. John McCormick, of “Building High Intergrity Applications with SPARK”, a student-oriented textbook on SPARK 2014.

Community Input for the Maintenance and Revision of the Ada Programming Language

By: brukardt
3 August 2017 at 05:08

ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 22/WG 9 (WG 9) is responsible for the maintenance and revision of the Ada Programming Language and associated standards and technical reports. As part of the language maintenance activity, WG 9 has established a group of Ada experts as the Ada Rapporteur Group (ARG). The ARG receives input from the Ada community at large to consider for inclusion in revision to the Ada programming language standard. The WG 9 has produced a number of revisions to the language in accordance with ISO policy and to address the evolution of technology (Ada 83, Ada 95, Ada 2005, Ada 2012).

Presently, the ARG is beginning work on a revision to Ada 2012 so that ISO standardization of the new version can be completed by 2020. This is a relatively short horizon, but it ensures that the language continues to evolve, and at the same time requires that the changes to the language are evolutionary and do not present an undue implementation burden on existing compilers and users.

WG 9 requests the Ada community to submit enhancements to be considered for inclusion in the next revision of Ada. These should be sent to [email protected] as described in the Ada Reference Manual Introduction ( For enhancement requests, it is very important to describe the programming problem and why the Ada 2012 solution is complex, expensive, or impossible. A detailed description of a specific enhancement is welcome but not necessarily required. The goal of the ARG is to solve as many programming problems as possible with new/enhanced Ada features that fit into the existing Ada framework. Thus the ARG will be looking at the language as a whole, which may suggest alternative solutions to the problem posed by an enhancement request. For a more detailed discussion, the guidelines presented for the Ada 2005 revision (see can be used as the ARG requirements are little changed.

WG9 accepts enhancement requests at any time. To be considered for inclusion in the next revision of Ada, enhancement requests must be received by 15 January 2018. Suggestions received after that date may be considered if they relate to topics already under development; others will be considered only for future versions of Ada.

WG 9 has directed the ARG to focus its work on three areas of particular interest to the Ada community: additional facilities for multi-core and multithreaded programming, improved facilities for program correctness, and enhanced container libraries. There are numerous proposed enhancements in these and other areas. Some of these proposals originated with members of the ARG, and others from members of the community at large. The interested reader can find the current state of these at

WG 9 encourages members of the Ada community at large to use the guidelines outlined above to provide input to WG 9 and the ARG for needed revisions and upgrades to the Ada programming language.

Ada Prehistory Unearthed

By: brukardt
28 April 2017 at 01:03

The president of the ARA, Ben Brosgol, has unearthed a part of Ada Prehistory, a document from June 1976 titled “A Common Programming Language for the Department of Defense – Background and Technical Requirements”. We’ve posted it in the AdaIC archives in the Policy and History section. You can access it directly at (Warning: this is a 7.5 megabyte file.)

This report is a very early description of the process that led to Ada: it predates the language design competition. (Ben, for those of you who don’t know, was a principal designer for the runner-up language – Red – in that language design competition. Red was an interesting language in its own right.)