A Look at Ada from Both Sides Now
(a government, and a defense contractor perspective)
The Ada programming language has had a remarkable history, and promises an even more remarkable future. In this keynote address, Dr. J. Smart from Raytheon will provide his perspective on both as seen from within government, and from within private industry. With the pervasive nature of computing, the trade-craft of contemporary software development has changed considerably in recent years. Arguably, not all the change has been for the better. What may have once been regarded as minor flaws or operational nuisances in software system implementations can now manifest in far more devastating ways, and with potentially severe consequences. The boundaries of Ada's "embedded system" niche are becoming increasingly difficult to discern from commodity software, particularly as the challenges of computer security compound. A critical need now exists for a much broader application of the unique culture and programming discipline that has naturally accompanied Ada for these many years.
Of particular personal research interest to the presenter is the new generation of reconfigurable computing systems and devices (e.g., FPGAs). The ability to specify a system from the highest level of abstraction all the way down to an individual gate level is now possible from within a single unified description framework. Ada is potentially the ideal choice for such a framework. The presenter will describes his experiences using Ada in this manner to design and implement a most unusual dynamic computing machine. In this application where reliability and formal verification is of upmost importance, the Ada language has been the major contributor to the effort's success.