ASSERT Improves Embedded Real-Time Development with Ada 2005

ASSERT, the EU-sponsored project to improve the development of critical embedded real-time systems, announced that it will adopt the Ada 2005 language and AdaCore’s open-source GNAT development environment.

ASSERT (Automated proof-based System and Software Engineering for Real-Time) will use Ada 2005 to develop a run-time framework and re-usable components that can be adopted into Aerospace and other high-integrity sectors to aid the development of real-time, safety critical systems. Begun in 2004, the EUR15 million project will begin its 18 month final development phase in June 2006.

A joint industrial and academic consortium, ASSERT brings together leading players from the European space industry, SMEs and research organisations to improve the system and software development process for critical embedded real-time systems.

Part of this process is to create building blocks of open source code covering common areas along with a run-time framework for them to operate within. The UPM Madrid and ENST Paris are developing the run-time framework while Alcatel, EADS, Astrium France and other leading industrial partners will create the first building block application level components for it. These will then be made available via open repositories, allowing them to be used by developers to speed up safety-critical development.

“Developing critical real-time embedded systems is central to the continued development of the European aerospace industries,” commented Juan Antonio de la Puente, professor, UPM. “Ada 2005 was the only language that provided us with a reliable, open-source environment that will enable us to create the framework for a new generation of safety critical systems. Working with AdaCore was the natural choice due to its knowledge and advanced implementation of Ada 2005 in its products.”

The Ada programming language is designed specifically for large, long-lived applications where reliability, efficiency and safety are vital. Created under the auspices of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Ada 2005, the latest version of the language, was ratified last year. It introduces significant enhancements in many areas including Object-Oriented Programming, interfacing with other languages (most notably Java), software architectural design, real-time systems, and predefined libraries. It offers improved support for high-integrity applications, including the standardization of the Ravenscar profile for certifiable concurrent programs. Ada 2005 represents the first major upgrade of the Ada language in ten years.

Ada 2005 was chosen by ASSERT due to its seamless integration of budget monitoring, timing events, priority-specific dispatching, execution time monitoring, ‘limited with clauses’, new interfaces and compile and run-time support for the Ravenscar Profile.

“ASSERT’s choice of Ada 2005 and GNAT demonstrates that it provides the perfect solution for real-time embedded system development, combining safety-critical features with the benefits of an open source development environment,” said Cyrille Comar, managing director, AdaCore. “The combination of Ada 2005, ASSERT and AdaCore aims to make significant progress in driving forward European embedded system development.”

ASSERT developers working on the both the run-time framework and pilot applications will be using Ada 2005, with an estimated 33,000 lines of code predicted to be written, making it the largest current use of the latest version of the language.

AdaCore has been closely involved with the Ada language since its inception and its GNAT development environment combines market leading technology, including Ada 2005, with an expert support system to provide a natural solution where efficient and reliable code is critical.

ASSERT (Automated proof based System and Software Engineering for Real-Time) is an integrated project (IP) partially funded by the European Commission under the Information Society Technology (IST) priority within the 6th Framework Programme (IST-FP6-2004 004033). The project addresses the strategic objective of the Embedded Systems sector. ASSERT brings together an important consortium, coordinated by the European Space Agency, which includes leading actors in the European Space industry, SMEs and research organisations with the determination, skills and critical mass to create cross-industry consensus and to take the project outputs through to standardisation.

ASSERT is a 2-phased project spanning from Q3 2004 until Q4 2007. Phase 1 has laid out the conceptual and methodological foundations on which the development work in Phase 2 will base. Phase 2 will demonstrate the operation of a tool-assisted model-driven reuse-oriented property-preserving development process in the production of 3 pilot applications consisting of property-endowed building blocks controlledly instantiated and integrated by property-preserving interfaces and bindings, and executed on a property-preserving run-time environment.

About AdaCore
Founded in 1994, AdaCore is the leading provider of commercial software solutions for Ada, a modern programming language designed for large, long-lived applications where reliability, efficiency and safety are critical. AdaCore’s flagship product is GNAT Pro, which comes with expert online support and is available on more platforms than any other Ada technology. AdaCore has customers worldwide.

Use of Ada and GNAT Pro continues to grow, especially in high-integrity and safety-critical applications, including commercial and defense aircraft avionics, air traffic control, railroad systems, financial services and medical devices. AdaCore has North American headquarters in New York and European headquarters in Paris.