Intellectual Ammunition Department

Academia and Ada

Ada has more than its share of negative myths, especially when it comes to teachers who argue against using Ada. The best antidote to such myths is to open our eyes to the facts. To this end, this page will lead to know the facts about Ada's usefullness and successes in academic ventures.

Educational Discounts and Donations

The price of Ada compilers is no longer an issue for academic institutions, since many Ada compiler vendors offer educational discounts or even donate their development systems to accredited educational institutions.

Also, there are several low-cost or even "free" Ada compilers, which may be used by students on their own machines.

Who teaches Ada?

Ada is becoming the language of choice for introductory courses, as shown by the growing List of colleges using Ada in CS1 (the first course in computer science) or CS2.

Ada is very popular as the First-course language for Computer Science majors (Reid report); in fact, Ada is second only to Pascal in number of schools.

The September 1995 issue of the SIGCSE Bulletin contained an article by Suzanne Pawlan Levy on satisfaction with languages used in CS1 (online version). She sent surveys to all 139 schools listed in the Reid report as not using Pascal in CS1. 33% of the schools responded. She asked instructors to compare their language to Pascal for a variety of constructs (parameter passing, strings, support of software engineering, etc.). Her final survey question asked whether an instructor considers the language he/she is currently using to be the best language for the CS1 course. The results are:

     Ada       81%
     Scheme    66%
     C         29%
     C++       28%

Interest in the Ada programming language is growing; as a consequence many companies using Ada look for recent graduates who already know the language, or students seek institutions that will provide them with good education or training. The Catalog of Resources for Education in Ada and Software Engineering (CREASE)--compiled by the AdaIC--lists Ada course offerings throughout the world (big text file, 469K). There is also a search interface to the database. To be added to this database, fill online the AdaIC's CREASE Survey Form.

How to teach Ada?

For a good course on or with Ada, you need to:

Also, don't forget to tell your students about the online hypertext reference manuals and rationales.

Ada Myths

"Ada compilers are too expensive."

Have you checked the educational discounts and donations of Ada compilers?

Have you looked at the incredibly cheap Ada development environments, packed with useful tools?

Have you tried any of the free Ada compilation systems?

Since one can argue for hours about which language to teach, this page will always be "incomplete"; however, if you have some experience, data, article, reference, or fool-proof :-) argument to contribute, do not hesitate one hundredth of a second! E-mail it to the Ada Home editor! Thanks.

Page last modified: 1998-12-20