AdaIC News Winter 1995

Spotlight on Education:

Megaprogramming and Ada in the High Schools

Megaprogramming: a way to build software systems by using components or building blocks rather than individual lines of code.

Ada and megaprogramming are a good team to teach students software engineering from the ground up - starting in the high schools.

The Department of Defense's (DoD's) Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) sponsors the megaprogramming initiative, and has tasked the Software Productivity Consortium to develop suitable curricula. SPC's Megaprogramming Curriculum Project is developing curricula to introduce software reuse in the high schools and in introductory college computer-science courses.

Under the sponsorship of the Ada Joint Program Office (AJPO), the project is also creating a short course on software engineering in Ada. It presents Ada as an attractive language for solving the types of software engineering problems that software developers encounter when they perform megaprogramming.

This new course continues themes developed in SPC's one-to-two-week "Overview of Megaprogramming" course targeted for high-school students. The overview course introduces students to problems facing software engineers and exposes them to modern software-development processes. It shows students how reuse simplifies software development, and introduces them to quantitative analysis. It teaches them the difference between software engineering and programming.

The project team is also building a curriculum and course materials that are based on a version of megaprogramming called Synthesis, a reuse-driven software development process developed by the SPC. The intent is to train students to think of building software from existing components whenever practical.

The Ada course will be piloted later this year at two high schools in the Washington, D.C. area. If successful, it will be distributed to high schools throughout the nation during the FY96-97 school year.

For further information, contact:

Greg Friedmann, Manager
Public Relations
Software Productivity Consortium
2214 Rock Hill Road
Herndon, VA 22070

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