Altran Praxis and AdaCore announced a new reference implementation of the Skein algorithm, written and verified using the GPL 2010 Edition of the SPARK language and toolset. Skein is a cryptographic hash function and an entrant in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) hash function competition to design what will become the new Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA-3) standard. Such hash functions are used to compute short “digests” of long messages, and are one of the key building blocks of digital communication and cryptographic systems. Altran Praxis and AdaCore have open sourced the SPARKSkein reference implementation and made it available to the developer community via the Skein website. This is in time for the second SHA-3 candidate conference taking place at the Crypto 2010 conference, Santa Barbara, California, USA, from 23-24 August 2010.