"C" vrs ADA 
Author Message
 "C" vrs ADA

Hello, sorry to interrupt your regularly scheduled news articles, but I
didn't know where else to turn...

I am a senior EE student whose current career goal is to work in an aerospace
and/or military research field.  To better my chances, I would like to
supplement my fortran skills with another language.  "C" has been recommended
to me many times, and I was just about to buy a manual when I started hearing
about ADA.

I have heard that is is the DoD language, but what does that mean?  Are all
aerospace and military contractors required to use it?  Is it suggested learningfor the major corporate engineers?  Is it filtering down into the public
engineering sectors?  Is it too specialized to be applied elsewhere if I didn't
get the desired job?

Being that I am relatively unfamiliar with what is being used in these fields,
I am turning to those of you in the know.  If you have any thoughts on the pros
and cons of either language, and/or would care to make a suggestion, I would
greatly appreciate it. If you could, please recommend a book on the subject.

Please send replies to:  \!{cbmvax, pyrnj, bpa }\!vu-vlsi\!harman

Thank you for you help!

Glenvar Harman



Sun, 17 Jan 1993 17:36:00 GMT  
 "C" vrs ADA

Quote:

>supplement my Fortran skills with another language.  "C" has been recommended
>to me many times, and I was just about to buy a manual when I started hearing
>about ADA.

Learn them both.  C is the assembly language, and Ada the High Order
Language (HOL), of the next ten years in the DoD community.  The DoD
doesn't much like C from a lifecycle point of view, but has trouble
denying its availability and current performance advantage over Ada
(just like assembly with respect to FORTRAN 20+ years ago).

Steve Frysinger

---
Why would I waste my time expressing someone else's opinion?



Sun, 17 Jan 1993 10:49:00 GMT  
 "C" vrs ADA

Quote:

>Hello, sorry to interrupt your regularly scheduled news articles, but I
>didn't know where else to turn...

>I am a senior EE student whose current career goal is to work in an aerospace
>and/or military research field.  To better my chances, I would like to
>supplement my Fortran skills with another language.  "C" has been recommended
>to me many times, and I was just about to buy a manual when I started hearing
>about ADA.

This message does not really belong in the "space" groups, please limit
the number of newsgroups you post to.

This is a dumb question, if you are really interested in learning about
EE and computers, etc., you should be interested in learning many
languages.  C is a good place to start, but any of the block structured
languages will do, and C is probably one of the most widespread.  I'm
sure you will eventually need to learn ADA to do the work you are planning.
I have not yet needed to use it, but I as I understand, it is pretty
complex, and probably not a good choice if you don't already know other
languages.  I better idea is to choose a language that is available to you
so you can learn by doing.

Gerry Gleason



Sun, 17 Jan 1993 11:17:00 GMT  
 "C" vrs ADA

Quote:

>Hello, sorry to interrupt your regularly scheduled news articles, but I
>didn't know where else to turn...

>I am a senior EE student whose current career goal is to work in an aerospace
>and/or military research field.  To better my chances, I would like to
>supplement my Fortran skills with another language.  "C" has been recommended
>to me many times, and I was just about to buy a manual when I started hearing
>about ADA.

>I have heard that is is the DoD language, but what does that mean?  Are all
>aerospace and military contractors required to use it?  Is it suggested learningfor the major corporate engineers?  Is it filtering down into the public
>engineering sectors?  Is it too specialized to be applied elsewhere if I didn't
>get the desired job?

          The ada language is far more than just a language. Ada includes
          standards for editors,compilers, and run-time symbolic de{*filter*}s.

          The C language evolved at AT&T in the process of developing the
          UNIX operating system. There were, beleive it or not, an A language
          and a B language that preceded it. Finally with the C language the
          original developer of the UNIX operating system (which was done on
          a PDP-7 microcomputer) felt that he had what he wanted. It was a
          moderately structured language , with a syntax that was similar
          to the UNIX c shell (or vice versa). As UNIX gained wide acceptance
          the C language became more popular. It has the advantage over
          FORTRAN of having structured variable types, but without the
          overly elaborate type checking done by a language like Pascal.
          It does share with Pascal the fact that each was developed by a
          single individual and thus represents that individuals prejudices
          in computer languages. C is now widely available outside the
          UNIX community and is a defacto standard with many companies.
          It is often the case in military/aerospace procurements that in
          order to generalize the request for computer hardware so as not
          to sole source a single vendor the government will ask for UNIX
          because it is the only operating system that can be had on a
          non-proprietary basis on a variety of computer hardware. UNIX of
          course brings C right along with it.

          Because UNIX does not handle real-time applications (such as
          interrupt handling) very well, and because there was no non-
          proprietary standard for real-time operating systems, the
          government(DOD) wanted to develop such a standard. Also, the DOD
          had a problem with each branch of the service having its own
          non-compatible languages for software development(COBOL,JOVIAL,
          CMS-II,FORTRAN,C,etc.). It has been decided that the DOD will
          develop a standard computer language that will include standards
          for editors, compilers, run-time de{*filter*}s, and even operating
          system functions for real-time processing. This standard was
          named ADA, (the name of the {*filter*} of Charles Babbage, who
          invented a punched card driven loom, considered to be the first
          computer, she was rumored to be the first person to ever write
          a program on punched cards- why her name is appropriate for a
          real-time language is a mystery). If you are interested in the
          military/aerospace field then ADA is definitely the language to
          learn. Be aware that it is a very complex language (Carnegie
          Mellon University is rumored to have required it for all sophomores-
          which resulted in flunking out half their sophomore class) and
          that to learn it properly you must find a DOD certified
          implementation which includes the editors, compilers, and de{*filter*}s
          as well. The DOD plans eventually to require ALL software to be done
          in ADA, but they realize that there is enormous inertia against it.
          Thousands of programmers must be retrained, and millions of lines
          of code converted. Don't expect to see ADA used very widely outside
          of the DOD environment. It will fail for the same reason that
          Pascal, Modula2, C, PL1, and others have failed - IBM is the
          {*filter*} force in the commercial market(~75 percent of all
          commercial installations) and COBOL dominates the IBM installed
          base (~90 percent of IBM applications are in COBOL). As long as
          computers remain basically Von Neuman processors, no language is
          going to offer any advantages in the real world to a language
          like COBOL. No business is going to go through the 3 to 5 years
          effort of retraining and converting of existing code just to
          satisfy the dogmatic prejudices of computer-science weenies.

          The DOD is perfectly capable, however, of making contractors like
          Boeing, Lockheed, TRW, Eaton,etc. jump through the ADA hoop just
          by refusing to accept bids which do not include ADA. Therefore if
          you want a career in military/aerospace, go for ADA.

---------------------------------------------------------------
ihnp4!wlbr!etn-rad!jru   - The opinions above were mine when I
thought of them, by tomorrow they may belong to someone else.



Sun, 17 Jan 1993 14:09:00 GMT  
 "C" vrs ADA

Quote:
> I am a senior EE student whose current career goal is to work in an aerospace
> and/or military research field.  To better my chances, I would like to
> supplement my Fortran skills with another language.  "C" has been recommended
> to me many times, and I was just about to buy a manual when I started hearing
> about ADA.

> Is it suggested learning for the major corporate engineers?  Is it
> filtering down into the public engineering sectors?  Is it too specialized
> to be applied elsewhere if I didn't get the desired job?

The biggest problems with Ada is the massive size of its compiler and the
verbosity of it's language.  I guess if you really like Pascal or Modula2,
you might adjust, but if you're used to C, it might take some getting used
to.  Coming from a Fortran background, any modern language would be a step
up, certainly.  The compiler size is a concern when it comes to relying on
that compiler to produce accurate code.  It's certainly simpler to produce
an accurate compiler for a small language like C or Pascal than for a very
large on like Ada.  

As for where it's used, mainly DOD I'd guess.  It certainly isn't used much,
if any, in commercial or industrial sectors.  C's the language for most of
these, though your Fortran experience could come in handy in some heavy
duty scientific fields (most machines have Fortran compilers that code better
than existing C compilers, but since there's more work being done on C, I
wouldn't be surprised if this is changing).  Ada is certainly general purpose
enough to be used elsewhere if you have access to a compiler for it, and it
generally has alot of things built into it that you have to add to C language
(like tasks, exceptions, etc.).

Quote:
> Being that I am relatively unfamiliar with what is being used in these fields,
> I am turning to those of you in the know.  If you have any thoughts on the pros
> and cons of either language, and/or would care to make a suggestion, I would
> greatly appreciate it. If you could, please recommend a book on the subject.

Any language you learn will help you when the next one comes along.  If you're
not pressed for time, the best thing to start off with would probably be a
good book on general computer science; there's alot more to this than what
you've seen in Fortran.  A book I would recommend is "Fundamental Structures
of Computer Science", by Wulf, Shaw, Hilfinger, and Flon; Addison-Wesley, 1981.
I studied EE and CS in college; in school I had used mainly Pascal and LISP,
and some C, SNOBOL, and APL.  My first REAL summer job required that I learn
PL/M-80; my first job after graduation required that I learn ISPS, Bliss,
VAX Macro Assembler, and Fortran.  If you know the things to expect in any
language, you can pick up new, unexpected ones rather quickly.

Quote:
> Please send replies to:  \!{cbmvax, pyrnj, bpa }\!vu-vlsi\!harman

> Thank you for you help!

> Glenvar Harman

--
Dave Haynie     Commodore-Amiga    Usenet: {ihnp4|caip|rutgers}!cbmvax!daveh
"The A2000 Guy"                    PLINK : D-DAVE H             BIX   : hazy
     "I'd rather die while I'm living, than live while I'm dead"
                                                -Jimmy Buffett


Sun, 17 Jan 1993 14:43:00 GMT  
 "C" vrs ADA
Quote:

>>        ... discussion about Ada and C for aeroSPACE ...


Quote:
>Learn them both.

I hate these cross-referenced posting, but I recognize this as a
vocational question not just a technical question.  I also recognize
that few people who are really using Ada have responded.  I sent Glen
mail, but I realize others will ignore it.

First, vocation, I agree with Steve: learn both, or the ideas of both.
What the Glens of the world have to realize is that companies don't hire
you just because you know C or Ada, they hire you because you are
supposed to be bright and flexible (gleem!).  The world is trending
toward multi-lingual programming environments: using many languages to
solve problems [I'm even learning Icon now].  That is the point.  No
single language will solve all your problems, they are not designed that
way.

Second, policy. This is the real reason why I wanted to post this.
In the case of the Space Station (note caps), the word very high is any
software developer writing for the Station MUST use Ada.  Recently, the
AI groups in NASA had this dropped on them: no LISP (for Station).  None
what so ever.  [I won't debate the intelligence of this decision.]
Control is tight.  This does not mean C won't fly on some self-contained
packages, but it does set the tone (from pre-flight reviews) of the
main Station software.  This in turn affects other projects (excepting
certain HAL/S based projects like Shuttle).

If you want to work in aerospace (military or not), you can't ignore Ada.
But learn other languages and be flexible.

From the Rock of Ages Home for Retired Hackers:

--eugene miya
  NASA Ames Research Center

  "You trust the `reply' command with all those different mailers out there?"
  "Send mail, avoid follow-ups.  If enough, I'll summarize."
  {hplabs,hao,ihnp4,decwrl,allegra,tektronix,menlo70}!ames!aurora!eugene



Sun, 17 Jan 1993 13:03:00 GMT  
 "C" vrs ADA

Quote:

> Learn them both.  C is the assembly language, and Ada the High Order
> Language (HOL), of the next ten years in the DoD community.

Ada is the Cobol of the 70's.


Sun, 17 Jan 1993 16:45:00 GMT  
 "C" vrs ADA

Quote:
>Second, policy. This is the real reason why I wanted to post this.
>In the case of the Space Station (note caps), the word very high is any
>software developer writing for the Station MUST use Ada.

This raises a question -- are there any C to Ada translation programs.
We (SDMS Inc.  CCA is just the machine that we use for Vax BSD work) have
a product that sells into people who sell into DoD.  My opinion of Ada
is not germane; at some point we are going to have to come to terms with
Ada and we may have to deal with the prospect of converting to Ada for
some markets.  I expect that other software vendors are in the same boat.

Does such a package exist?  Are there rumors that somebody is doing it?
Any information on the possibility would be of interest.  
--

In the fields of Hell where the grass grows high
Are the graves of dreams allowed to die.
        Richard Harter, SMDS  Inc.



Sun, 17 Jan 1993 21:52:00 GMT  
 "C" vrs ADA

Quote:
>Second, policy. This is the real reason why I wanted to post this.
>In the case of the Space Station (note caps), the word very high is any
>software developer writing for the Station MUST use Ada.

Epigram:
        Ada is the 400-pound gorilla of programming languages.

From the fortune cookie factory of
                David Palmer

                ...rutgers!cit-vax!tybalt.caltech.edu!palmer
        The opinions expressed are those of an 8000 year old Atlantuan
        priestess named Mrla, and not necessarily those of her channel.



Sun, 17 Jan 1993 13:29:00 GMT  
 "C" vrs ADA

Quote:

>Ada is the Cobol of the 70's.

Sounds about right.

--Steve



Sun, 17 Jan 1993 16:10:00 GMT  
 
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