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"Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
Mike Brenner <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 10 Jan 1998 08:07:30 -0500
Mike Brenner <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (36 lines)
   > ... impression that virtually all embedded stuff is done either on
   > very specialized CPUs or on 8051s, and there are no Ada compilers
    > for any of the popular ones.

In my experience, most embedded systems are done on late model 80x86
computers such as 80386, pentium, etc. The faster systems are done with
Mips or other super chips. My experience notably does NOT include
the micro-chips put into watches and other small stuff. My experience
is with satellites, replacing government comm systems with PCs and Net
technology, aero, space, sea, land, intelligence gathering and analysis,
3D visualization, and pattern recognition of various types.

It is a great pleasure to call Radio Shack, Western DIgital, Black Box,
or somebody and say, I have this billion dollar satellite terminal that
I wish to replace with a PC, if only it could have 12 serial ports and
a memory mapped hardware for the I/o ports. Answer: we have a nifty
cheap pentium for you along with our special 12-port serial board.
Then you have to balance the hundred million dollar software and
hardward maintenance for the exising comm system against the cost
of deploying the PC into the field to replace it.

And dont forget to quadruple the cost of the PCs being deployed to
make up for nuclear hardening. Instead of each PC being nuclear hardened,
you put 3 of the 4 in nuclear hardened boxes for the people to take out
after the first one is melted down due to the radiation overdose of the
nuclear blast.

If the software was originally memory-mapped and written in Ada, it
can often be converted to a PC with zero effort. Sometimes it was written
in a really old dialect of Ada which can require changes, or sometimes
it used proprietary assembly code for the interrupts instead of memory
mapping. Then you have to do that part of the code over to replace it
with a PC.

Mike Brenner