Home/Ada Projects

Ada Flyer Ada Used to Automate
Swiss Banking System

The Swiss post/telegraph/telephone company includes a department that runs a financial payments system. Customers hold interest bearing accounts, and transactions on these accounts are made in a similar fashion to 'normal' banks. In practice, these accounts form the major means of non cash payments (also to and from banking accounts) in Switzerland.

The Development

The project is being realized in two phases. First, all customer information is collected in a central database. This information comprises:
  • Details of the customer, e.g., address(es);
  • Details of all accounts held by each customer;
  • Details of all Postcards (check guarantee, cash dispenser & EFTPOS) held on each account; and
  • Details of checks issued for each account.
This system is the central store of knowledge about all customers using the financial services of the PTT, which involves:
  • 350 graphical workstations throughout Switzerland;
  • Between 1.2 and 1.4 million customer records and approximately the same number of account records;
  • Approximately 10,000 modifications per day (eight hours);
  • Approximately 20,000 enquiries per day; and
  • Approximately 7,000 orders for checks per day.
With the system in place (Version 2 is now in operation), the data records are brought on line. Work also proceeds on Versions 3 and 4 of the system, which add functionality.

The Implementation

To date, the system runs only on VAX computers, although future versions will use Alpha AXP machines. There is a central cluster of database servers, connected (by X25) to remote clusters of VAX workstations. The operating system is OpenVMS and the database system is DEC RdB. With the exception of the database interface modules, three macro assembler files and one C source file, all software is written in (DEC) Ada. So far in the development, there are approximately 2,200 Ada source files.

There is extensive use of an in house CASE tool supporting OOA/OOD and finite state automata. The GUI is implemented with OSF/Motif and is highly structured to use finite state automata with the previously mentioned tool. The GUI is multi lingual (German, French, Italian), and adjusts to the mother tongue of the user, producing output in the language of the customer. Communication between workstations and the central server cluster happens via an in house Remote Procedure Call mechanism that supports load distribution, exception passing over the network, and automatic recovery on errors.

Selecting Ada

Ada has been in use at Paranor, the system developer, since 1985 and there was never any consideration given to the use of any other language. All active programmers are agreed that a switch to another language would mean a marked reduction in programming comfort and ultimately result an inferior product. The principal features of Ada which make it superior include:
  • Data abstraction/Information hiding (there is extensive use of private and derived types);
  • Tasking (especially for communication between computers);
  • Generics (extensively used in the GUI); and
  • Highly readable source code.

Phase 2

Phase 2 includes the use of actual financial transactions and user accounts. This phase is planned to be completed by Jan. 1995 and to be fully operational in Jan 1996. Ada enthusiasts around the world await news of the project’s success and can expect to learn that the system, upon its completion, handles 2,000,000 financial transactions per day.

Based on a flyer by Alan Paterson, Paranor AG.

Copyright 1998. IIT Research Institute
All rights assigned to the US Government (Ada Joint Program Office). Permission to reprint this flyer, in whole or in part, is granted, provided the AdaIC is acknowledged as the source.
Form U126

Home Webmaster Last Updated: 08/11/98