ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22/WG9 N 439r

Convener's Report, 2004, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22/WG9 (Ada)

Prepared by: James W. Moore,, 3 July 2004. Revised 21 July 2004.



July 2003-July 2004


Convener of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 22/WG 9
James W. Moore
The MITRE Corporation, H505
7515 Colshire Drive
McLean, Virginia 22102
703.883.7396 (Office)
703.883.1279 (Fax)


1.1 JTC 1/SC22 WG9 Statement of Scope

Coordination of ISO standards for Programming Language Ada

1.2 Project Report

1.2.1 Completed Projects
22.10.01 -- IS 8652:1995 Programming Languages: Ada and
ISO/IEC 8652:1995/Cor.1:2001 Technical Corrigendum

The Technical Corrigendum was published 2001-06-01. WG9 has determined that the best strategy for updating the standard is to develop an Amendment with completion anticipated in 2005. SC22 approved the project subdivision in N3310. The work is currently underway.

22.10.04 -- IS 13813:1998 Generic packages of real and complex type declarations and basic operations for Ada (including vector and matrix types)

WG9 recommended that this standard should be confirmed. SC22 endorsed the request in its 2001 plenary meeting. Subsequently JTC1 endorsed the request.

22.10.05 -- IS 13814:1998 Generic package of complex elementary functions for Ada

WG9 recommended the withdrawal of this standard. SC22 endorsed the request in its 2001 plenary meeting. JTC1 originally voted to confirm the standard. At the request of SC22, JTC1 reconsidered its action and has recently voted to withdraw the standard.

22.15291-- IS 15291:1999 Ada Semantic Interface Specification (ASIS)

WG9 voted in June 2003 to confirm this standard upon its reaching the five-year review point. SC22 endorsed the request in its 2003 plenary meeting.

22.15942 -- TR 15942:2000 Guidance for the use of the Ada Programming Language in High Integrity Systems

WG9 has requested that this Type 3 Technical Report be made freely available on an appropriate web site. The request was recently implemented.

22.18009 -- IS 18009:1999, Ada Conformity Assessment

WG9 voted in June 2003 to confirm this standard upon its reaching the five-year review point. SC22 endorsed the request in its 2003 plenary meeting.

1.2.2 Projects Underway

Work on the planned amendment to the Ada Language standard, ISO/IEC 8652:1995/Amd 1, has begun.

A Type 3 Technical Report, ISO/IEC TR 24718, Guide for the use of the Ada Ravenscar Profile in high integrity systems, is being developed. It was recently approved in PDTR ballot and will be submitted for DTR balloting prior to the 2005 SC22 plenary meeting. Although the normal process is being used, the document is an adoption of a report developed by the University of York, UK. Both the University of York and the UK National Body have agreed to cooperate with JTC1 if any revisions are made to the report.

1.2.3 Projects Withdrawn


1.2.4 Standards and Technical Reports Withdrawn

22.10.02 -- IS 11430:1994 Generic Package of Elementary Functions for Ada

22.10.03 -- IS 11729:1994 Generic Package of Primitive Functions for Ada

22.31 -- IS 12227:1995 SQL/Ada Module Description Language (SAMeDL)

22.35 -- (Type 2) TR 11735:1996 EXTensions for real-time Ada

1.3 Cooperation and Competition

There are two major professional societies in this area: Ada-Europe and the Special Interest Group on Ada (SIGAda) of the Association for Computing Machinery. The semi-annual meetings of WG9 are scheduled to coincide with the major conferences organized by these two groups. Officials of both organizations are active participants in the work of WG9. Both groups have the status of Category C liaison with WG9.

There is one major vendor consortium, the Ada Resource Association (ARA). Informal liaison with ARA is maintained via the US TAG.


2.1 Market Requirements

Although support for Ada has declined in the US defense sector, Ada remains the language of choice for major parts of the real-time, embedded systems community. Ada usage in other sectors of the marketplace seems to be stable. The locus of Ada usage is perceptibly shifting from North America to Europe. There is demand for minor improvements while retaining the stability of the existing language. This motivates WG9 to update the language standard by means of an Amendment rather than a Revision.

2.2 Achievements

2.3 Resources

National body participation in WG9 is growing. There has been long-time participation from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, and US. Recently, Switzerland has resumed participation and Belgium has begun participation.

Implementation of the Category C Liaisons with Ada-Europe and SIGAda has broadened the base of technical review and support for language standardization.

All new work item suggestions are screened by the requirement for active support from five national bodies. This has worked well, resulting in explicit commitments from national bodies supporting a possible project.

WG9 uses three Rapporteur Groups to perform the drafting of its technical documents. This allows WG9 itself to meet only twice per year--for approximately five hours at each meeting. When appropriate, WG9 delegates initial drafting to national bodies. The US contributed the draft of the recently approved Technical Corrigendum. We expect to repeat this strategy with the planned amendment to ISO/IEC 8652.


3.1 Deliverables

The following deliverables are anticipated during the next 12 months:

3.2 Strategies

Routine, but efficient, processing will suffice to achieve our goals. We delegate technical work to Rapporteur Groups. We collaborate with professional societies via liaison relationships. We achieve full consensus within the working group prior to initiating formal balloting.

3.2.1 Risks

Unexpected technical comment could delay any of the items described above. WG9 has mitigated this risk by providing mechanisms for full treatment of NB technical concerns at the RG and WG level. Although we observe all requirements of the directives, we view SC22 and JTC1 level balloting as approval of documents that have already been completed.

We also observe that voting at the SC22 level and JTC1 level is not well-disciplined. We have experienced bureaucratic delays by unaccountable votes at both levels. For example: SC22 once denied a routine request for making a TR freely available; JTC1 once denied recommendations by WG9 and SC22 to withdraw a standard. In both cases, the actions were reversed, but at the cost of time and energy.

The inability of WG9's parent bodies to consistently execute their duties is an impediment to the productivity of WG9. We suggest that routine actions that are well-grounded in JTC1 policies should be the subject of "default ballots" by subcommittees and/or by JTC1. A default ballot would consist of an announcement by the respective Secretariat that the routine action will be taken on a specified date unless a majority of NBs respond with a negative vote.

3.2.2 Opportunities

National body participation in WG9 is growing.

3.2.3 Work Program Priorities

The Amendment described previously is the most important item in WG9's current work programme. WG9 anticipates its completion during 2005.


4.1 WG9 Liaisons

WG9 has two Category C liaison relationships.

4.2 Category C Liaison with ACM SIGAda

[Quoted from WG9 N407, 6 June 2002, Request for Establishment of Category C Liaison between ISO/IEC JTC1/SC 22/WG 9 and the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Ada (SIGAda)]

SIGAda is a Special Interest Group of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). Its 80,000 members make ACM one of the world's premier technical professional organizations related to computing.

With over 560 paid members and access to an additional 900 members of the Ada community, SIGAda is one of the world's largest organizations serving the needs of professionals interested in the Ada language. SIGAda is a powerful resource for the software community's ongoing technical and scientific activities concerning the usage, education, standardization, and implementations of the Ada language and related Ada technologies. Its annual international conference is a major event, not only for Ada specialists, but also for all enthusiasts in modern software topics such as software engineering, process improvement, CASE, object-oriented methods, and software education. It publishes a quarterly journal providing news and technical articles important to the Ada community.

In the past, SIGAda members have played an important, but individual, role in the standardization work of SC22/WG9. For example, ISO/IEC 15291 is largely based upon technical material originally developed by individuals acting under the auspices of SIGAda. SIGAda has also played an important role for Ada language improvements in the areas of performance, real-time, numerics, and distribution.

4.3 Category C Liaison with Ada-Europe

[Quoted from WG9 N402, 23 May 2002, Request for Establishment of Category C Liaison between ISO/IEC JTC1/SC 22/WG 9 and Ada-Europe]

Ada-Europe is an international organization, set up to promote the use of Ada. It aims to spread the use and the knowledge of Ada and to promote its introduction into academic and research establishments. Above all, Ada-Europe intends to represent European interests in Ada and Ada-related matters.

In its current form, Ada-Europe was established in 1988. As there is no European legal framework to govern such organizations, it was established according to Belgian Law. Currently, the member organizations are: Ada-Belgium, Ada-Denmark, Ada-Deutschland, Ada-France, Ada-Spain, Ada in Sweden, Ada in Switzerland and Ada UK. Individual members of these organizations can become indirect members of Ada-Europe. Direct membership is available to individuals in countries without national member organization. At the moment, Ada-Europe has about 350 indirect members.

The best-known of Ada-Europe's activities is its annual conference, now in its 22nd year, which provides the European forum for researchers and users of Ada and other technologies geared towards reliable systems. Ada-Europe publishes the Ada User Journal to keep its members and others abreast of the latest developments related to Ada.

In the past, Ada-Europe members have played an important, but individual, role in the standardization work of SC22/WG9. For example, ISO/IEC 18009 incorporates technical material provided by Ada-Europe members.


5.1 Replacement of Project Editor

SC22/WG9 has nominated Greg Gicca to serve as co-editor of ISO/IEC 15291, replacing Steve Blake. Clyde Roby continues to serve as a co-editor of the project.

Please take action to approve Mr. Gicca as a project editor. His contact information appears below:

Greg Gicca
5040 Shoreham Place
San Diego, CA 92112
Phone: +1-603-429-3415
FAX: +1.603.429.3404
Email:, or

5.2 Status of TR 15942

The following document is a Type 3 Technical Report:

TR 15942:2000 Guidance for the use of the Ada Programming Language in High Integrity Systems

My understanding of the Directives is that NO periodic review is required for Type 3 TRs. However, if periodic review is appropriate, then WG9 would ask SC22 to recommend that the document be CONFIRMED.

5.3 Coded Character Set Issues

In September 2002, SC 22 adopted Resolution 02-24: "JTC 1/SC 22 believes that programming languages should offer the appropriate support for ISO/IEC 10646, and the Unicode character set where appropriate."

Obviously, this resolution leaves much for interpretation. WG9 is currently preparing an amendment to the Ada Language Standard, ISO/IEC 8652:1995. The amendment will include changes in coded character support. Because the effect of changes in this area will pervade the entire standard and affect the treatment of other issues in the amendment, it is important to understand whether the proposed approach complies with the direction of SC22 before detailed drafting of the amendment commences. Therefore, WG9 requests that the member bodies of SC22 review the approach to be taken and provide comments to WG9. Furthermore, WG9 requests that the following resolution be approved at the forthcoming plenary meeting of SC22:

"JTC 1/SC 22 agrees that the proposed implementation of coded character set support described in document 22N3758 agrees with the principles for coded character set support previously adopted by JTC 1/SC 22, notably resolution 02-24."

Document 22N3758, mentioned in the text of the resolution, is a contribution of WG9 that was circulated to SC22 on 8 July 2004.