Welcome to ACM SIGAda's 2002 Annual International Conference, in Houston, Texas - home to the United States' NASA Johnson Space Center and much early pioneering work in Ada. Houston is also a marvelous place to hold a conference as it has pleasant weather in December facilitating technical discussions in a congenial environment.
We offer you a conference featuring a top-quality technical program focused on important strengths of Ada: distributed, real-time, and embedded systems. The visions of these systems reflected in Ada's original requirements in the 1970s have expanded in almost unimaginable ways with Ada 95 implementations, and continue to be objects of envy by those in the programming language community who understand what the strengths of a language brings to implementers in terms of efficiency, reliability, and effectiveness. Software challenges remain dominant in these domains with rapid hardware advances. Most other languages fail to meet the needs identified as far back as the 1976 Steelman, being able at best to do only 3/4 of the needed function while Ada performs over 95%. Ada's track record of reliability, efficiency, robustness and all-around success is unparalleled at solving real-time and/or distributed system challenges. Ada is used in space/satellite systems, most modern jetliner avionics, high-speed ground transportation systems, and battle automation systems. As such, it is an important part of the world's economies and defenses.
Three days of technical papers, keynotes, and invited presentations will report how these successes are achieved and where remaining issues are leading. We are fortunate to have 3 leaders in the software engineering community; Robert Dewar, Charles McKay, and Michael McEvilley will provide keynote addresses to set the tone for our conference. We are also fortunate to have Tucker Taft provide a special introduction to the work of ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22 WG9 as a prelude to the WG9 forum on Thursday. A special invited paper will discuss how Ada and CORBA are used to synchronize the firing of 192 extremely high-powered lasers at the National Ignition Facility to advance fusion technology. Each firing will consume as much energy as the rest of the United States during that same nanosecond. The conference will culminate on a third day with an ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22 WG9 Forum and a SIGAda Mission and Future Forum. The WG9 Forum will give you an opportunity to find out how Ada will evolve to meet our future requirements and at the same time give you an opportunity to provide input to its future. The SIGAda Forum is designed to elicit your needs so that SIGAda can be a better resource to the entire Ada Community.
Beyond the formal conference of selected papers and presentations, SIGAda 2002 offers workshops and tutorials with the same duality of on-theme and complementary topics. SIGAda's tutorials and workshops provide full- or half-days for those working the same issues to share with each other and leverage everyone's accomplishments; workshop products are "delivered" to the community. The broad offerings of career-enhancing tutorials include basic Ada 95 introductions for software engineers new to Ada, intermediate and advanced Ada topics for practitioners striving to expand their Ada expertise, and several language-independent technology topics such as proving CORBA for Embedded Systems and Introduction to the Common Criteria for Information Technology security analysis. These topics are often coupled with Ada technology because only Ada's full and complete definition allows one to indicate what is expected, and to show that it can be achieved. Join us in understanding how these topics mutually support the disciplined development and evolution of serious, high quality software systems.
Finally, we hope SIGAda 2002 provides you an outstanding opportunity for rewarding affiliation with colleagues in industry, academia, and government - discussions "in the hall," informal meal-time meetings, and even during the more relaxed moments we make for socializing in this wonderful southern city. If you don't realize it already, you will learn that these associations can be as valuable as the technical program at professional conferences, and often extend the experience after you return home.
We take this opportunity to thank our early Corporate Sponsors, Rational, Aonix, PolySpace Technologies, and TNI-VALIOSYS for their generous support for SIGAda 2002.
ACM SIGAda Chair
The MITRE Corporation
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Texas A&M University
University of Northern Iowa.