30 Years after Steelman, Does DoD Still Have a Software Crisis?
SIGAda 2008
30 Years after Steelman, Does DoD Still Have a Software Crisis?

Joyce Tokar


In the late 1970s, the DoD was facing a software crisis due to the plethora of programming languages in use and the rapid evolution of the computing environment. In addition, the cost of maintenance of these systems was enormous due to the multiplicity of languages and dialects. The DoD initiated the effort to develop a single programming language that would meet the demands of the DoD for safety and mission critical software. “Steelman” defined the requirements for this new language and Ada 83 was the answer to these requirements. Fast forward 20 years, the software crisis continues as processor speeds continue to increase and computer memory is becoming less and less expensive leading to the ability to develop larger and more complex software. Programming language design continues to evolve to meet the needs of these complicated systems. The Ada programming language is revised to incorporate the features and functionality necessary to enable the use of enhanced programming language capabilities in the development of complex software systems. Ada 95 is the culmination of this effort.

Now in the early part of the 21st century, the next generation of the software crisis is represented by the challenges involved in developing systems of systems (SOS). With the continued increase in capacity and performance of computing environments along with the maturation of the software industry, there is an opportunity to develop complex software systems to meet larger demands. The crisis comes in the integration of the software into systems and then the systems into systems of systems. Ada 2005 has been enhanced to address the new challenges associated with the development of software to be incorporated into the SOS environment.

This presentation will investigate the dimensions of the new flavor of the software crisis exacerbated by SOS environments and how Ada fits into this domain.

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last updated 3 November 2008 - cgr