AdaCore Blog

49 entries tagged with #Community

by Claire Dross

Relaxing the Data Initialization Policy of SPARK

SPARK always being under development, new language features make it in every release of the tool, be they previously unsupported Ada features (like access types) or SPARK specific developments. However, new features generally take a while to make it into actual user code. The feature I am going to present here is in my experience an exception, as it was used both internally and by external users before it made it into any actual release. It was designed to enhance the verification of data initialization, whose limitations have been a long standing issue in SPARK.

#Formal Verification    #SPARK   

by Emma Adby

Make with Ada 2020: Disaster Management with Smart Circuit Breaker

Shahariar's project ensures safety against electrical fire or shock during an earthquake, flood, gas leakage or fire breakout by disconnecting the mains with a smart circuit breaker. Additionally, this project won a finalist prize in the 2019/20 Make with Ada competition.

by Emma Adby

Make with Ada 2020: CryptAda - (Nuclear) Crypto on Embedded Device

Team CryptAda's project collects entropy, manages an entropy pool, implements a homemade PRNG, and generates RSA keys directly on the board with an accent on security. Additionally, this project won a finalist prize in the 2019/20 Make with Ada competition.

by Emma Adby

Make with Ada 2020: The SmartBase - IoT Adjustable Bed

John Singleton's The SmartBase makes your existing adjustable bed safer and easier to use by adding voice control and safe (and fun!) LED underbed lighting! Additionally, this project won first place prize in the 2019/20 Make with Ada competition.

#MakewithAda    #Ada    #SPARK   

by Jon Andrew

CuBit: A General-Purpose Operating System in SPARK/Ada

Last year, I started evaluating programming languages for a formally-verified operating system. I've been developing software for a while, but only recently began work in high integrity software development and formal methods. There are several operating system projects, like the SeL4 microkernel and the Muen separation kernel, that make use of formal verification. But I was interested in using a formally-verified language to write a general-purpose OS - an environment for abstracting the underlying hardware while acting as an arbiter for running the normal applications we're used to.

by Nicolas Setton

GNAT Community 2020 is here!

We are happy to announce that the GNAT Community 2020 release is now available! Read the post for access to download and to find out about this year's release highlights.

by Martyn Pike

A Trivial File Transfer Protocol Server written in Ada

For an upcoming project, I needed a simple way of transferring binary files over an Ethernet connection with minimal (if any at all) user interaction. A protocol that's particularly appropriate for this kind of usage is the Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP).

by Roderick Chapman

Proving properties of constant-time crypto code in SPARKNaCl

Over the last few months, I developed a SPARK version of the TweetNaCl cryptographic library. This was made public on GitHub in February 2020, under the 2-clause BSD licence. This blog entry goes into a bit more technical detail on one particular aspect of the project: the challenge of re-writing and verifying "constant time" algorithms using SPARK.

#SPARK    #Cryptography    #Formal Verification   

by Pat Rogers

Making an RC Car with Ada and SPARK

As a demonstration for the use of Ada and SPARK in very small embedded targets, I created a remote-controlled (RC) car using Lego NXT Mindstorms motors and sensors but without using the Lego computer or Lego software. I used an ARM Cortex System-on-Chip board for the computer, and all the code -- the control program, the device drivers, everything -- is written in Ada. Over time, I’ve upgraded some of the code to be in SPARK. This blog post describes the hardware, the software, the SPARK upgrades, and the repositories that are used and created for this purpose.

#Ada    #SPARK    #Robotics   

by Fabien Chouteau

AdaCore at FOSDEM 2020

Like last year and the year before, AdaCore will participate to the celebration of Open Source software at FOSDEM. It is always a key event for the Ada/SPARK community and we are looking forward to meet Ada enthusiasts. You can check the program of the Ada/SPARK devroom here.


by Fabien Chouteau

Ada on a Feather

I was quite happy to see AdaFruit release their first Feather format board including a micro-controller with plenty of Ada support, the STM32F4. I bought a board right away and implemented some support code for it.

#embedded    #STM32   

by Quentin Ochem

Witnessing the Emergence of a New Ada Era

For nearly four decades the Ada language (in all versions of the standard) has been helping developers meet the most stringent reliability, safety and security requirements in the embedded market. As such, Ada has become an entrenched player in its historic A&D niche, where its technical advantages are recognized and well understood. Ada has also seen usage in other domains (such as medical and transportation) but its penetration has progressed at a somewhat slower pace. In these other markets Ada stands in particular contrast with the C language, which, although suffering from extremely well known and documented flaws, remains a strong and seldom questioned default choice. Or at least, when it’s not the choice, C is still the starting point (a gateway drug?) for alternatives such as C++ or Java, which in the end still lack the software engineering benefits that Ada embodies..

by Paul Butcher

AdaCore for HICLASS - Enabling the Development of Complex and Secure Aerospace Systems

What's changed? In 2019 AdaCore created a UK business unit and embarked on a new and collaborative venture researching and developing advanced UK aerospace systems. This blog introduces the reader to ‘HICLASS’, describes our involvement and explains how participation in this project is aligned with AdaCore’s core values.

#SPARK    #UK   

by Martyn Pike

An Expedition into Libadalang

I’ve been telling Ada developers for a while now that Libadalang will open up the possibility of more-easily writing Ada source code analysis tools.  (You can read more about Libadalang here and here and can also access the project on Github.)

by Alexander Senier

RecordFlux: From Message Specifications to SPARK Code

Handling binary data is hard. Errors in parsers routinely lead to critical security vulnerabilities. In this post we show how the RecordFlux toolset eases the creation of formally verified binary parsers in SPARK.

#Formal Verification    #Formal Methods    #SPARK   

by Emma Adby

The Make with Ada competition is back!

AdaCore’s fourth annual Make with Ada competition launched this week with over $8K in cash and prizes to be awarded for the most innovative embedded systems projects developed using Ada and/or SPARK. 

by Maxim Reznik, Yannick Moy

First Ada Virtual Conference organized by and for the Ada community

The Ada Community has gathered recently around a new exciting initiative - an Ada Virtual Conference, to present Ada-related topics in a 100% remote event. The first such conference took place on August, 10th 2019, around the topic of the new features in Ada 202x. Here is what was presented.

#virtual    #conference    #Ada   

by Joffrey Huguet, Johannes Kanig

Proving a simple program doing I/O ... with SPARK

The functionality of many security-critical programs is directly related to Input/Output (I/O). This includes command-line utilities such as gzip, which might process untrusted data downloaded from the internet, but also any servers that are directly connected to the internet, such as webservers, DNS servers and so on. In this blog post we show an approach that deals with error handling and reasoning about content, and demonstrate the approach using the cat command line utility.

#Formal Verification    #SPARK   

by Yannick Moy, Raphaël Amiard, Tucker Taft

RFCs for Ada and SPARK evolution now on GitHub

Interested in participating in the evolution of the Ada or SPARK languages? We have something for you.

#Ada    #SPARK   

by Claire Dross

Using Pointers in SPARK

In this blog post, I will present one of the most interesting additions to the community 2019 version of SPARK: pointer support. One of the core assumption in SPARK has always been the absence of aliasing, so adding pointers without breaking this assumption was quite a challenge. I will explain how this was achieved using an ownership model for pointers (like is done in Rust) through small examples.


by Nicolas Setton

GNAT Community 2019 is here!

We are pleased to announce that GNAT Community 2019 has been released! See

by Boran Car

Bringing Ada To MultiZone

C is the dominant language of the embedded world, almost to the point of exclusivity. Due to its age, and its goal of being a “portable assembler”, it deliberately lacks type-safety, opening up exploit vectors. Proposed solutions are partitioning the application into smaller intercommunicating blocks, designed with the principle of least privilege in mind; and rewriting the application in a type-safe language. We believe that both approaches are complementary and want to show you how to combine separation and isolation provided by MultiZone together with iteratively rewriting parts in Ada. We will take the MultiZone SDK demo and rewrite one of the zones in Ada.

#Ada    #embedded    #Embedded Development    #Security    #multizone    #Hex-Five   

by Allan Ascanius, Per Dalgas Jakobsen

Winning DTU RoboCup with Ada and SPARK

The Danish Technical University has a yearly RoboCup where autonomous vehicles solve a number of challenges. We participated with RoadRunner, a 3D printed robot with wheel suspension, based on the BeagleBone Blue ARM-based board and the Pixy 1 camera with custom firmware enabling real-time line detection. Code is written in Ada and formally proved correct with SPARK at Silver level.

#Robotics    #Ada    #SPARK   

by Yannick Moy, Nicolas Roche, Pierre-Marie de Rodat, Fabien Chouteau

AdaCore at FOSDEM 2019

Like last year, we've sent a squad of AdaCore engineers to participate in the celebration of Open Source software at FOSDEM. Like last year, we had great interactions with the rest of the Ada and SPARK Community in the Ada devroom on Saturday. That's what we have to say about it.

#Ada    #SPARK    #Open Source    #Community   

by Rob Tice

AdaFractal Part1: Ada with a Portable GUI

The is the first part of a multiple part post that covers the development of the AdaFractal project. The idea was to create fractals in Ada. Here we will cover how to use AWS to create a flexible and portable way to display the generated fractals without using bulky graphics libraries.

#AWS    #QNX    #VxWorks    #GUI    #Fractal   

by Fabien Chouteau

Ada on FPGAs with PicoRV32

When I bought the TinyFPGA-BX board, I thought it would be an opportunity to play a little bit with FPGA, learn some Verilog or VHDL. But when I discovered that it was possible to have a RISC-V CPU on it, I knew I had to run Ada code on it.

#embedded    #RISC-V    #Ada   

by Fabien Chouteau, Emma Adby, Yannick Moy is here

We are very proud to announce the availability of our new Ada and SPARK learning platform, which will replace AdaCoreU(niversity) e-learning platform. Learn all about it in this blog post.

#Teaching    #Ada    #SPARK   

by Emma Adby, Fabien Chouteau

GNAT Community 2018 is here!

Calling all members of the Ada and SPARK community, we are pleased to announce that GNAT Community 2018 is here!

by Johannes Kanig

Taking on a Challenge in SPARK

Last week, the programmer Hillel posted a challenge (the link points to a partial postmortem of the provided solutions) on Twitter for someone to prove a correct implementation of three small programming problems: Leftpad, Unique, and Fulcrum.

#Formal Verification    #Formal Methods    #SPARK   

by Thomas Quinot

PolyORB now lives on Github

PolyORB, AdaCore's versatile distribution middleware, now lives on Github. Its new home is

by Rob Tice

SPARKZumo Part 2: Integrating the Arduino Build Environment Into GPS

This is part #2 of the SPARKZumo series of blog posts. This post covers the build system that was used to build the SPARKZumo project and how to automate the process in GPS.

#GPS    #Python    #Libadalang    #Arduino    #CCG   

by Rob Tice

SPARKZumo Part 1: Ada and SPARK on Any Platform

So you want to use SPARK for your next microcontroller project? Great choice! All you need is an Ada 2012 ready compiler and the SPARK tools. But what happens when an Ada 2012 compiler isn’t available for your architecture?

#CCG    #SPARK    #Arduino    #RISC V    #embedded   

by Fabien Chouteau

Ada on the micro:bit

Updated July 2018

#embedded    #Ada    #nRF51    #ARM   

by Rob Tice

The Adaroombot Project

The Adaroombot project consists of an iRobot CreateⓇ 2 and Ada running on a Raspberry Pi with a Linux OS. This is a great Intro-to-Ada project as it focuses on a control algorithm and a simple serial communications protocol. The iRobot CreateⓇ 2 platform was originally design for STEM education and has great documentation and support - making it very easy to create a control application using Ada. This blog looks at the creation of the project and some cool features of Ada that were learned along the way.

#Raspberry Pi    #ARM    #Linux    #Ada    #Roomba   

by Fabien Chouteau

Ada on the first RISC-V microcontroller

Updated July 2018

#Embedded Development    #Ada    #RISC-V   

by Fabien Chouteau

DIY Coffee Alarm Clock

A few weeks ago one of my colleagues shared this kickstarter project : The Barisieur. It’s an alarm clock coffee maker, promising to wake you up with a freshly brewed cup of coffee every morning. I jokingly said “just give me an espresso machine and I can do the same”. Soon after, the coffee machine is in my office. Now it is time to deliver :)

#Embedded Development    #STM32    #Makers    #Ada    #ARM   

by Yannick Moy

(Many) More Low Hanging Bugs

We reported in a previous post our initial experiments to create lightweight checkers for Ada source code, based on the new Libadalang technology. The two checkers we described discovered 12 issues in the codebase of the tools we develop at AdaCore. In this post, we are reporting on 6 more lightweight checkers, which have discovered 114 new issues in our codebase. This is definitely showing that these kind of checkers are worth integrating in static analysis tools, and we look forward to integrating these and more in our static analyzer CodePeer for Ada programs.

#Static Analysis    #Libadalang   

by Yannick Moy, Nicolas Roche

A Usable Copy-Paste Detector in A Few Lines of Python

After we created lightweight checkers based on the recent Libadalang technology developed at AdaCore, a colleague gave us the challenge of creating a copy-paste detector based on Libadalang. It turned out to be both easier than anticipated, and much more efficient and effective than we could have hoped for. In the end, we hope to use this new detector to refactor the codebase of some of our tools, and we expect to integrate it in our IDEs.

#Libadalang    #Static Analysis    #refactoring   

by Pierre-Marie de Rodat

GNATcoverage moves to GitHub

Following the current trend, the GNATcoverage project moves to GitHub! Our new address is:

#GitHub    #GNATcoverage   

by Pat Rogers

Getting started with the Ada Drivers Library device drivers

The Ada Drivers Library (ADL) is a collection of Ada device drivers and examples for ARM-based embedded targets. The library is maintained by AdaCore, with development originally (and predominantly) by AdaCore personnel but also by the Ada community at large.  It is available on GitHub and is licensed for both proprietary and non-proprietary use.

#Ada    #Devices    #drivers    #STM32    #embedded   

by Raphaël Amiard, Yannick Moy, Pierre-Marie de Rodat

Going After the Low Hanging Bug

At AdaCore, we have a strong expertise in deep static analysis tools (CodePeer and SPARK), and we have been relying on the compiler GNAT and our coding standard checker GNATcheck to deal with more syntactic or weakly-semantic checks. The recent Libadalang technology, developed at AdaCore, provided us with an ideal basis to develop specialized light-weight static analyzers. As an experiment, we implemented two simple checkers using the Python binding of Libadalang. The results on our own codebase were eye-opening: we found a dozen bugs in the codebases of the tools we develop at AdaCore (including the compiler and static analyzers).

#Static Analysis   

by Yannick Moy

New Year's Resolution for 2017: Use SPARK, Say Goodbye to Bugs

​NIST has recently published a report called "Dramatically Reducing Software Vulnerabilities"​ in which they single out five approaches which have the potential for creating software with 100 times fewer vulnerabilities than we do today. One of these approaches is formal methods. Among formal methods, the report highlights strong suits of SPARK, and cites SPARK projects as example of mature uses of formal methods. NIST is not the only ones to support the use of SPARK. Editor Bill Wong from Electronic Design has included SPARK in his "2016 Gifts for the Techie". So if your new year's resolutions include software without bugs, have a look at SPARK in 2017.

#VerificationTools    #Formal Methods    #SPARK   

by AdaCore Admin

Introducing the Make With Ada competition!

If you’ve been looking for a way to start your next embedded project in Ada or SPARK. Then, look no further than the Make with Ada competition!

#MakewithAda    #embedded    #SPARK     #Ada   

by Yannick Moy

Research Corner - Proving Security of Binary Programs with SPARK

Researchers from Dependable Computing and Zephyr Software LLC have presented at the latest NASA Formal Methods conference last week their work on proving security of binary programs. In this work, they use SPARK as intermediate language and GNATprove as proof tool, which is an atypical and interesting use of the SPARK technology.

#Formal Verification    #SPARK    #Security   

by Emma Adby

Modernizing Adacore's Open-Source Involvement

Through the adoption of GitHub we have taken our first step on the way to having a more collaborative and dynamic interaction with, both our users and open source technologies.

#GitHub    #OSS    #Ada   

by AdaCore Admin

ARM TechCon and NBAA Conference 2015

We are continuing to develop tools for use within projects that require reliable and secure embedded software for ARM. Our engineering team have been busy creating demos running on ARM technology, such as Tetris in SPARK on ARM Cortex M4.

#ARM    #SPARK    #Drones    #NBAA2015    #ARMTechCon   

by Anthony Leonardo Gracio

How to prevent drone crashes using SPARK

The Crazyflie is a very small quadcopter sold as an open source development platform: both electronic schematics and source code are directly available on their GitHub and its architecture is very flexible. Even if the Crazyflie flies out of the box, it has not been developed with safety in mind: in case of crash, its size, its weight and its plastic propellers won’t hurt anyone! But what if the propellers were made of carbon fiber, and shaped like razor blades to increase the drone’s performance? In theses circumstances, a bug in the flight control system could lead to dramatic events. In this post, I present the work I did to rewrite the stabilization system of the Crazyflie in SPARK 2014, and to prove that it is free of runtime errors. SPARK also helped me to discover little bugs in the original firmware, one of which directly related with overflows. Besides the Crazyflie, this work could be an inspiration for others to do the same work on larger and more safety-critical drones.

#UAVs    #crazyflie    #SPARK    #Drones   

by Yannick Moy

A Building Code for Building Code

In a recent article in Communications of the ACM, Carl Landwehr, a renowned scientific expert on security, defends the view that the software engineering community is doing overall a poor job at securing our global information system and that this is mostly avoidable by putting what we know works to work, to the point that most vulnerabilities could be completely avoided by design if we cared enough. Shocking! Or so it should appear.

#Ada    #SPARK    #Static Analysis    #Security   

by Yannick Moy

Studies of Contracts in Practice

Two recent research papers focus on how program contracts are used in practice in open source projects, in three languages that support contracts (Eiffel obviously, Java with JML contracts and C# with Code Contracts). I'm reporting what I found interesting (and less so) in these two studies.

#Language    #Formal Verification    #Contracts