AdaIC News Fall 1996

     Ada & Education
The ASEET Team -- Ada's Foot Soldiers
A Decade of Service to the Ada Community, and still counting!

| The track record | The viewpoint |
| Looking to the future | Interested in learning more? |

Anyone involved in Ada and software engineering since 1986 has probably come in contact with products from the Ada Software Engineering Education and Training (ASEET) Team. Even if you haven't, the chances are that some of the training and educational products you have been exposed to had some of their roots in the ASEET Team. Over the past decade, the ASEET Team has produced literally thousands of slides of course material, been involved in numerous DoD reports, and conducted several hundred courses, lectures, workshops, tutorials, and symposiums.

Founded in 1986, the ASEET Team grew out of the Software Engineering Working Group (SEWG). Funded by the Ada Joint Program Office (AJPO), the ASEET Team was initially chartered to promote the growth of Ada and software engineering within the DoD, other Federal agencies, and academia. The "foot soldiers" of Ada, the ASEET team is composed of DoD volunteers (both civil service and active duty) -- members who willingly give their time to promote Ada and software engineering wherever and whenever an audience willing to listen can be found.

Currently, ASEET Team members have a combined total of over 100 years of Ada/software engineering experience, and over 50 years of academic and training experience. All Team members have technical degrees, and approximately 40% have Ph.D.s. Their expertise encompasses real-time flight systems, nuclear reactors, command and control, simulation, information systems, and supercomputing. Ø

The track record

The ASEET Team's goal was not to compete with commercial organizations; there were sufficient companies available for in-depth education and training. Instead, they have provided a nucleus to organizations that wanted experts to come in and start the Ada and software engineering effort rolling. Their role has been to help Ada proponents bootstrap their organizations.

Over the last 10 years, the Team has produced over 25 different courses, ranging from "Introduction to Ada" (and now Ada 95!) to more advanced technical courses covering real-time programming, reuse, management techniques and transition, and object-oriented programming. In addition to assisting Ada-insertion efforts at such schools as the Univ. of West Virginia, the Univ. of California-Northridge and others, they have also provided assistance at all Service academies and military training centers.

One of their most visible efforts has been the annual ASEET Symposium. (This year's was the tenth.) These symposiums have brought in distinguished educators from as far away as Russia and Australia. The symposiums are targeted to smaller colleges and universities interested in Ada. The symposium provides educators a low-cost alternative to other Ada conferences and workshops. This effort also gives these schools access to experts willing to help them introduce and use an Ada curriculum.

In addition to the symposiums, they also hold annual hands-on workshops, where they can work with faculty and commercial developers to explore the Ada language in depth. Ø

The viewpoint

The ASEET Team never views Ada as an end in itself: rather, Ada is viewed as the best tool for implementing software engineering concepts and principles. This viewpoint ties in perfectly with the current AJPO-assisted megaprogramming effort. This project is designed to introduce modern software development practices, including software engineering with Ada, at the high-school level. This allows students, who might otherwise initially learn ad hoc software development, to learn proper software engineering and design concepts. This summer, the ASEET Team worked with Sacred Heart University (Fairfield, Conn.) on a workshop for high-school teachers. Funded jointly by the National Science Foundation and the Connecticut Department of Education, this workshop gave Connecticut teachers a chance to attend an intensive two-day hands-on workshop to help them insert Ada and software engineering at their schools. Another workshop, given in conjunction with the State of Utah, will also help to educate high-school teachers. Ø

Looking to the future

The ASEET Team recently joined the Federation of Government Information Processing Councils (FGIPC). As a council within the FGIPC, the ASEET Team will be spreading its vision of Ada and software engineering to a broader spectrum of government agencies that could benefit from their pool of experts and educators.

Among other things, the ASEET Team is going to offer general software-engineering courses for a fee in cooperation with FGIPC Training Seminars. Earnings will help support ASEET as part of their transition to a self-sustaining approach. Seminars will address software design and analysis, object-oriented design and program development.

Although not specifically Ada, the courses fit well with the ASEET Teams' view of Ada as a key enabling tool for the principles of software engineering. If you have ideas for courses to reach a wide audience, the ASEET Team welcomes your input. Ø

Interested in learning more?

The ASEET Team is developing a World Wide Web home page, courtesy of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, Ariz.

Additional information can be obtained from:

Major David Cook
(current chairperson)
Eugene W. P. Bingue
Leslie Dupaix


AJPO Assists Service Academies Moving Up to Ada 95

| West Point: Ada 95 for First-Year Programming Courses |
| Naval Postgraduate School to use Ada 95 as introductory language |
| Air Force Academy converting courses, software to Ada 95 |

The various Service academies play a critical role in providing the foundations for a future officer's approach to Defense computing, and later in refining skills and understanding for the officer who seeks advanced study.

For this reason, the Ada Joint Program Office (AJPO) has been active in providing assistance to the academies as they move up to Ada 95. Assistance has been provided depending on the needs and resources of each institution. Some times, this has taken the form of mentoring; other times, it has been provided in the form of needed software or hardware. Following are some of the activities currently taking place. Ø

West Point: Ada 95 for First-Year Programming Courses

The U.S. Military Academy (USMA) Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department (EECS) at West Point is migrating from Pascal to Ada 95 in their ACM CS-1 equivalent freshman-level programming class, with a phase-in to Ada 95 in higher-level courses to be accomplished over time. The AJPO is funding faculty Ada 95 training, and mentoring to assist with courseware development and implementation.

Approximately eight faculty members are involved in developing Ada 95 course materials for distribution on the Academy's local-area network and World Wide Web site ( The students will be working on PCs equipped with Windows for Workgroups, as well as a Unix environment. Ø

Naval Postgraduate School to use Ada 95 as introductory language

On March 22, 1996, the Computer Science Department at the Naval Postgraduate School made the decision to use Ada 95 as the first computer language in its graduate education. It will be the main language used to teach principles of programming and information-systems management.

The significance of this change will go beyond the classroom because it will encourage Ada's use in research projects leading to theses. More importantly, it will encourage the use of Ada in solving open research questions challenging DoD research scientists. According to Dr. Luqi, Professor of Computer Science and Chair of the Software Engineering Track, the change to Ada 95 will affect all of the Naval Postgraduate students as well as "distance-learning" graduate students from DoD and Government labs. Their theses will directly impact DoD and Navy software research and development projects.

The AJPO will assist in creation of appropriate graduate-level courseware by providing training and the Academic Ada textbook/compiler and expert mentoring in curriculum development. The new courses will be taught at the Naval Postgraduate School using a hardware lab supported by the AJPO. The AJPO is also supporting upgrading the Computer-Aided Prototyping System (CAPS) to Ada 95. This system is a research tool that generates Ada prototypes of real-time systems. CAPS is used in teaching software engineering and real-time systems design at the Naval Postgraduate School and other universities. Ø

Air Force Academy converting courses, software to Ada 95

The U.S. Air Force Academy's Astronautics Department is in the process of converting their computer problem-solving curriculum to Ada 95. The Academy plans to use Ada in six different courses ranging from freshman to senior level. The Department's goals are to train faculty in Ada 95; to implement the AJPO-supported Academic Ada 95 compiler; and to develop courseware for six Ada-95-centered courses. Additionally, the astrodynamics software library will be converted to Ada 95.

The AJPO is providing training, hardware, and software support to the Academy with the goal of supporting implementation of a prototype Ada 95 curriculum in a military academy, involving majors other than Computer Science and Electronics Engineering. Starting this fall, Ada 95 will be the introductory programming language taught to freshmen by the Computer Science Department.

The Academic Ada 95 Compiler and Textbook was used for the first time in a summer-school Computer Science class taught at the Air Force Academy. At the conclusion of the course, the students favorably evaluated the compiler and textbook as easy to use and understand.


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