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GNAT Academic Program Celebrates Its 150th Member

New York and Newcastle, United Kingdom, September 22, 2008 – SAFECOMP 2008 - AdaCore, provider of the highest quality Ada tools and support, today welcomed the 150th member to the GNAT Academic Program (GAP), demonstrating the success of the company’s grass-roots initiative created to help bring Ada to the forefront of university study.

The reliability of Ada as a programming language has always ensured it a key role in safety-critical domains, such as defense and aerospace. Today, however, as software plays an increasingly central role in all areas of life, from managing global financial marketplaces to operating medical devices, the need for safe software and engineers capable of producing it is expected to rise. The GAP Package, which AdaCore provides to the GAP community at no cost, is designed to give educators the tools they need to teach Ada, and students the foundation they must have in order to excel in safety- and security-critical domains.

“We firmly believe that Ada is the right choice for courses in elementary programming, data structures, and software engineering, as well as in advanced courses such as compiler construction and real-time programming,” said Robert Dewar, President and CEO of AdaCore. “Ada embodies the best contemporary ideas in software technology, and students who learn Ada at an early stage of their career become more skilled and principled programmers.”

Worldwide Adoption of Ada

Through the GAP program, universities worldwide are using Ada with GNAT technology and support to introduce students to software engineering and programming in general.

At the University of Zaragoza in Spain, Professor Javier Campos introduces students to Ada as the first programming language:

Ada is a suitable language to teach in computer science curricula because it was designed and standardized to support widely recognized software engineering principles, including reliability, portability, modularity, reusability, efficiency, maintainability, information hiding, abstract data types, concurrent programming, and object-oriented programming.

Similarly, at the University of Stuttgart, Ada is the first programming language taught to incoming students in several disciplines including Computer Science, Software Engineering, Mathematics and Automation Technology, and is also the language of choice for advanced courses in Software Engineering, Compiler Construction and Real-time Programming. Professor Erhard Ploedereder explains why:

Ada was chosen as the primary language because it supports different development paradigms within a single language, it integrates a competent concurrency model, and it has good and freely available infrastructure. Students find that they can easily learn other languages if necessary, such as C++ or Java, having been educated with the well-designed constructs of Ada in their introductory courses.

Of course, a competent programmer must have in-depth knowledge of a range of languages according to the requirements of the project in hand. Students whose first language is Ada generally manage to subsequently switch between languages more easily. This was among the reasons why Ada was chosen as the language of instruction for CS1 and CS2 classes at Lenoir-Rhyne University, in North Carolina, USA. According to Professor Dick Hull:

Ada is a very complete language that allows us to present procedural and object-oriented concepts. It supports and encourages data abstraction and provides helpful diagnostic messages to beginning students when they make the usual kinds of beginner's mistakes. In addition, Ada programs are quite readable due to well-chosen syntax and recognizable symbols for standard operations, and once a student has learned Ada, he or she finds it easy to learn a second language, such as Java or Visual Basic.

Students agree that learning Ada as a first programming language fosters the sound software engineering techniques they need to help them succeed in both their academic and professional careers.

"I was introduced to high-integrity, real-time software through Ada and the GNAT toolset during my Masters degree,” said Marco Panunzio, University of Padua, Italy. “I decided to specialize in this area and continue to use both extensively in my Ph.D. project on Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA), in collaboration with the European Space Agency."

"Since its creation in 2004, GAP has continued to grow, both in terms of membership and geographical coverage,” said Kathy Fairlamb, GAP Coordinator, AdaCore. “In the coming months, we plan to increase the value of the GAP package for both academics and students still further by expanding the range of teaching materials available to member institutions. We also plan to build on the Ada Intern Program in order to provide a real bridge for Ada-knowledgeable students looking to launch their professional careers in safety- and security-critical domains."

About the GNAT Academic Program
GAP was created in 2004 to encourage and extend the use of Ada in Computer Science education, create a collaborative platform for the Ada academic community, and generate stronger links between academia and the professional Ada community. Educators who join GAP have access to a comprehensive toolset and support package designed to give them the tools they need to teach Ada, including an integrated binary distribution of the GNAT tool set, a variety of add-ons and libraries, and direct assistance in using the system and understanding the Ada language and its latest version, Ada 2005. Students can freely download the GNAT compiler, which is available on the common platforms found in colleges and universities. Students also have access to the Ada Intern Program, which provides them with a direct link to real-world companies seeking Ada knowledgeable interns.

Membership in the GAP program includes universities worldwide and continues to grow. For more information about joining the GNAT Academic Program, please contact us at: gap-contact@adacore.com

About AdaCore
Founded in 1994, AdaCore is the leading provider of commercial software solutions for Ada, a state-of-the-art programming language designed for large, long-lived applications where safety, security, and reliability are critical. AdaCore's flagship product is the GNAT Pro development environment, which comes with expert on-line support and is available on more platforms than any other Ada technology. AdaCore has an extensive world-wide customer base; see http://www.adacore.com/home/company/customers/ for further information.

Ada and GNAT Pro see a growing usage in high-integrity and safety-certified applications, including commercial aircraft avionics, military systems, air traffic management/control, railroad systems, and medical devices, and in security-sensitive domains such as financial services.

AdaCore has North American headquarters in New York and European headquarters in Paris. www.adacore.com

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