This, the second running of the competition for embedded project programming, aimed to show how the Ada and SPARK language technologies can significantly improve code quality for modern embedded systems without requiring a steep learning curve for developers unfamiliar with these languages. Prizes are awarded to the projects that best meet the overall criteria of software dependability, openness, collaborativeness and inventiveness.
This year the 1st place prize of €5000/$5500 was awarded to Jonas Attertun from Sweden for his Ada Motorcontrol. The project involved the design of a software platform for developing a brushless DC motor controller (BLDC/PMSM). He used a custom, open-source board with an STM32F446 microprocessor, a sensored field-oriented control algorithm, and a logging feature to simplify development and allow users to visualise what is happening.
The 2nd place prize of €2000/ $2200 went to German Rivera from California, USA, who also won last year’s 2nd place prize. This year, his project was a Smartwatch. He developed the embedded software of a “Swiss Army Knife” watch in Ada 2012 using a Hexiwear IoT wearable development board with two NXP Kinetis microcontrollers.
The 3rd place prize of €1000/$1100 was awarded to Manuel Iglesias Abbatemarco from Ecuador for his Ada IoT Stack project. This project added several components to the Ada Drivers Library to support an IoT Framework based on an existing lwIP (lightweight IP) implementation ported to the embedded STM32 Ethernet family of devices.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of this competition, and was able to prove that Ada can be successfully used for bare-metal projects that require fast execution,” said first place winner Jonas Attertun. “The design of my project was, thanks to Ada’s many nice features, much easier to understand compared to a lot of the other C implementations out there. And the combination of increased design readability and the strictness of Ada made the resulting software safer and will simply further collaborative development and reuse.”
Fabien Chouteau, AdaCore software engineer, comments, “Despite the short time frame, the submissions included a number of innovative and well-engineered projects with documentation that was both comprehensive and comprehensible. And importantly, the competition attracted contestants with little or no previous experience with Ada or SPARK.”
The Make with Ada competition ran from May 15, 2017, through September 15, 2017, and attracted 35 entries. Each entrant needed to design and implement an embedded software project, using Ada and/or SPARK as the principal language technologies. Entrants needed to demonstrate that their system met its requirements and was developed using sound software engineering practices.
The Make with Ada competition is part of an overall AdaCore initiative to foster the growth of Ada and SPARK for developing embedded systems and more generally for developing “software that matters”. Other elements of this initiative include free on-line training available at AdaCore U (u.adacore.com), and various resources for free software developers and students/hobbyists at the GitHub repository (github.com/adacore) and the libre site (https://libre.adacore.com/).
Information about the next year Make with Ada competition will be available during Q2 2018 at https://www.makewithada.org/.
Images and videos of the top two projects are available at:
next page; Ada, SPARK & AdaCore
About Ada and SPARK
Ada is a modern, internationally standardised programming language with a long and successful track record in the development of high-reliability embedded systems. Its strong typing and compile-time checking help catch errors early, when they are easiest and least expensive to correct. The most recent version of the Ada standard, Ada 2012, supports contract-based programming (pre- and postconditions for subprograms), which in effect embeds the software’s low-level requirements as checkable assertions in the source code. In critical systems where testing alone might not provide sufficient confidence, the SPARK subset of Ada supports mathematics-based assurance that relevant program properties are met (for example, the absence of run-time errors such as buffer overflow). SPARK can be introduced incrementally into a project, and contracts can be verified either statically (by the SPARK proof engine) or dynamically (with run-time checks).
AdaCore supplies software development and verification tools, notably;
The GNAT Pro development environment for Ada, a complete toolset for designing, implementing, and managing applications that demand high reliability and maintainability,
The CodePeer advanced static analysis tool, an automatic Ada code reviewer and validator that can detect and eliminate errors both during development and retrospectively on existing software,
The SPARK Pro verification environment, a toolset based on formal methods and oriented towards high-assurance systems, and
The QGen model-based development tool, a qualifiable and customisable code generator and verifier for Simulink and Stateflow models, intended for safety-critical control systems.