Ada Behind A Historical Milestone

Many of you have probably heard the news that Lawrence Livermore’s National Ignition Facility (NIF) has achieved net-energy production fusion (ignition):

Well it turns out that, at a minimum, the control system of the giant laser that makes NIF possible was written in Ada.

So looks like Ada software has now had a key role in what could be a new era in human achievement!

Very cool stuff.


Oh here is a neat link for proof:

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That presentation is dated April 2000, surely things have changed a bit in the last 22 years.

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They don’t tend to re-write software like that, not sure what you are trying to suggest.

The 777 is still programmed in Ada and it’s older than that.

I agree with you, but I wonder if they’ve updated from Ada-95.

So someone on reddit found an article saying NIF actually did set-out to re-write it in Java. (Sad) But lots of those kind of projects ultimately failed, and to me it’s more than likely that some components are still in Ada, but who knows. At the end of the day, Ada was a big part of NIF, even if it wasn’t around for this ultimate achievement.

Even the F-35 project gave up on converting some Ada taken from the F-22, and so the F-35 software still contains small portions of Ada. I’ve heard through the grape-vine that the F-35 simulator, based on the F-22’s sim is mostly Ada. They tried to re-write in C++ it but apparently couldn’t get it to work.

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My employer is transitioning away from Java to Rust. I suspect they also used quite a bit of Ada 30 years ago, and like many people transitioned to Java. One reason is that an old-timer who recently retired had nothing good to say about Ada. He had some very bad experiences with Ada compilers in the 80s and 90s, and that soured him on it.

I mentioned this to a couple of other coworkers, who said that if the retiree hated it, that actually recommends Ada. He had a… difficult personality, shall we say. :grin:

Still, no Ada going on at my place.

I don’t know who your employer is but perhaps they should review Ada today at the technical level. I did and chose it over Rust. Ada has a far more powerful type system and is easier to use. I would trust the Gnat or Adacore compilers more than Rusts too.

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I kind of prefer Ada myself, but I don’t get to make the decision, and neither does my employer, in fact; I sort of misstated the situation. The people who contract with my employer make that decision.

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I first used Ada more than 30 years ago when in college. We had the Janus Ada compiler, and I had a PC that didn’t even have a hard drive. I had to put the floppy with my source code into the second drive, and then swap out four different floppies for the different phases of the compiler in the first drive.

Anyway, after college I didn’t use it until I started learning about SPARK in the past 2 years, and it has been a lot of fun trying to do the Advent of Code programs in SPARK. I am also very grateful for Alire, because if I want to make a quick project for experimentation it’s so easy. I was able to set up Neovim to use the Ada Language Server, so that’s what I have been using rather than GNATStudio.

I think my biggest gripe about Ada now is how often the search engines think I am looking for info on the Americans with Disabilities Act. I’ll eventually get used to typing “adalang” instead. I had a similar thing with the Idris language and searches telling me about Idris Elba.

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Quite often a good workaround for this is to include “programming” as a search term in order to reduce the number of false positives. And on social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., many “Adaists” use #AdaProgramming as a hashtag, so searching with that gives better results as well.

Another approach is to use Ada on the Web - Ada Resource Association to search only on Ada-related web sites.

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Adding “programming” in messages, articles, web pages, meta-info, etc. of content that is Ada programming language related might also help Ada’s position in various “popularity indices”, as some use (among others) the number of results found when doing searches for “X programming” to determine the popularity[sic] of programming language “X”…

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That is incredible to take life critical code and try to write it in C++ its insane. I came from C++ to Ada for many good reasions.