Release of ACES 2.0

To all who are interested in performance measurement of Ada code:

Version 2.0 of the Ada Compiler Evaluation System (ACES) has just been released for public review.

The ACES provides performance tests, test management software, and analysis software for assessing the performance characteristics of Ada compilation and execution systems. Functionality/usability assessor tools are also provided for examining the implementation's diagnostic system, library management system, and symbolic debugger, as well as for determining compile-time and run-time capacities of the implementation.

Version 2.0 enhancements include:

  1. Setup

    The Setup facility, introduced in Version 1.1, replaces the old PRETEST process. Setup prompts the user for information about the operating system and compiler/linker commands, and uses this information to generate command script files for compiling global support modules, creating test programs for the support modules, creating test management tools, and creating analysis tools. The following improvements are offered in this version:

    1. Default information may be used for several common operating systems and compilers, minimizing the amount of data supplied by the user.
    2. The user may interactively modify selected operating system or compiler information and automatically re-generate the command scripts.
    3. The user must designate the tested system as an implementation of Ada 83 or of Ada 95. This information is used to take advantage of Ada 95's required mathematics packages and to suppress or allow the selection of Ada 95 performance tests.

  2. Performance tests

    Version 2.0 includes a limited number of tests for the performance of Ada 95 features. Some new Ada 83 tests are provided for comparisons of Ada 95 and Ada 83 coding styles. There are 19 Ada 95 tests and 9 new Ada 83 tests.

  3. Compatibility

    An effort has been made to remove all incompatibilities with Ada 95. That is, all software should be compatible with Ada 95 requirements. Code that is not compatible with Ada 83 is isolated so that the Ada 83 user should never encounter it.

  4. Quick-Look

    A stand-alone Quick-Look facility has been provided that should enable a user to get an execution-speed profile of an implemenation in less than a day (from download to report generation). This facility provides 60 performance tests and all the necessary support software and data for compiling them, executing them, and generating reports from the results. All the new ACES performance tests are included, along with 28 previously existing ACES performance tests. The latter 28 tests were carefully chosen to provide the same degree of language coverage as the most useful of the PIWG benchmark suite.

    By default, Quick-Look reports elapsed (wall-clock) time, using the Ada Calendar.Clock function. CPU time measurements can be used, but the user must supply a CPU time function.

    A report generator extracts the execution time data (and other ancillary data) from the log file and produces three reports: a textual report showing the execution times; an ancillary report showing other useful data output by the tests; and an optional comma-delimited report of the execution times. The comma-delimited report can be imported into many popular spreadsheet programs for further analysis.

    All the files needed for Quick-Look are contained in a single compressed file. Instructions for its use are provided in the ACES Primer, which is included in "qlook.zip" as files "zd_primr.txt" (ASCII) and "zd_primr.ps" (PostScript).

  5. Single-System Analysis

    The Single-System Analysis subsystem has been enhanced to perform comparisons of the performance of Ada 95 and Ada 83 methods of achieving the same goals. For example, comparisons are done to determine the relative efficiency of monitor tasks and protected objects when used to provide coordinated access to protected data.

The ACES development team has established a group mail-alias (mailing list) for discussing ACES-related issues. Mail sent to
perform@sw-eng.falls-church.va.us

is automatically distributed to all addresses in the list.

If you wish to be added to the list, please express your wish in an e-mail message to Phil Brashear: "brashear@sw-eng.falls-church.va.us".