Ada Program Cuts Processing Time by 99.5% in Regional Electric Utility Company Electric Utility Company

Form U126-0394 CUT-TIME.TXT

Ada Information Clearinghouse, 1-800-AdaIC-11 (232-4211), 703/685-1477

Ada Program Cuts Processing Time by 99.5% in Regional Electric Power Utility

by Alan Paterson, Paranor AG.

The Bernische Kraftwerke - Leitsystem Energieverkehr is the electricity supplier for the region surrounding the town of Berne, Switzerland. The production and consumption of electricity is monitored at a large number of switching stations. This monitoring information is transferred every 15 minutes to the central database. The information is then available over a Wide Area Network (WAN) for detailed on-line and batch analysis.


The LSE project, although by no means a large software system, contains many features familiar to professional software developers:

The hardware configuration consists of a central cluster of VAX 4000 computers which access the database directly, and a collection of (VAX) workstations that communicate over the WAN with the "server" processes in order to manipulate the data as required. The operating system on all machines is VMS, and all programs are written in Ada (DEC Ada). The source files total about 80,000 lines of code.

Why Ada?

The reasons for choosing Ada as the programming language for this particular project can be simply stated. Ada has been in use in Paranor since 1985, and we are happy and comfortable using it. There has been no discussion at all as to what programming language will be used at Panor: It is automatically Ada. In this particular project there was also no resistance from the customer (as is occasionally the case).

The development team consisted of four designer/programmers working reasonably independently. The main interfacing being done physically via the database and technically via common type definitions (Ada packages).

This project saw the introduction of a development environment (directory structure, command scripts) that has since been used and extended in later projects. The DEC-Ada system of chains of program libraries is used in order to allow parts of the application (subsystems) to be developed 'privately' without disturbing the other developers excessively.

We also developed a system of developing VMS sharable images written in Ada, which, although it cuts out some of the checking done by the Ada-System, is still verifiable using 'home-built' support procedures and offers the two large advantages of cutting down link time in development and easing maintenance of the production system.

Ada Advantages

For those not so familiar with Ada, here are the main plus points:

The original system, replaced by this project, which ran on PDP 11/44, RSX 11-M, FORTRAN, required 9 minutes to process the data each 15 minutes. The new system takes 2.5 seconds!


Produced in cooperation with Ada Information Clearinghouse, Ada Software Alliance, and ACM SIGAda. Hard copy available from the Ada Information Clearinghouse, at the address below.


The views, opinions, and findings contained in this report are those of the author(s) and should not be construed as an official Agency position, policy, or decision, unless so designated by other official documentation.

Copyright 1994. IIT Research Institute. All rights assigned to the U.S. Government (Ada Joint Program Office). Permission to reprint this flyer, in whole or in part, is granted, provided the AdaIC is acknowledged as the source. If this flyer is reprinted as a part of a published document, please send the AdaIC a courtesy copy of the publication.

Ada Information Clearinghouse (AdaIC)
P.O. Box 46593
Washington, DC  20050-6593
1-800-AdaIC-11 (232-4211), 703/685-1477, FAX 703/685-7019; CompuServe 70312,3303

The AdaIC is sponsored by the Ada Joint Program Office and operated by IIT Research Institute.