A Biomedical Engineer's
View of Ada
Robert C. Leif,Ensuring Dependability
Most of the medical devices I have worked on have included a significant software component. No simple solution exists to ensure that the software is dependable; however, using Ada provides a beginning. The United States Department of Defense (DoD) certifies that any compiler it "validates" has passed numerous tests in the validation test suite and Ada compiler vendors, such as Alsys, provide meaningful warranties. The use of Ada for developing expensive, dangerous weapons and for projects requiring a high level of safety, such as air traffic control and aircraft, has established an infrastructure of standards and experience for Ada programmers in specifying, designing, creating, and testing the software.Building an Instrument
The work on the algorithmic projects demonstrated the necessity for a true 32 bit 386 compiler. Studies indicated that, at the time, the only 386 compiler that could handle very large data structures, compile other test code (primarily acquired from STARS), and had a meaningful warranty was produced by Alsys. We purchased the Alsys Ada Compiler for developing the planned new mid range hematology instrument mostly on two factors: the excellent training courses available from Westley Mackey in software engineering and Eugene Bingue in Ada and AdaSAGE, and the fact that Alsys Ada produced true 32 bit code under Microsoft DOS that did not require overlays.References
Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, 21 CFR Part 820, Medical Devices; Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) Regulations; Proposed Revisions; Request for Comments; Proposed Rule, Federal Register, 58, No.224, p 61952-61986 (November 23,1993).
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.
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