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Key Experts Assess Challenges of Safety-Critical Software at ACM SIGAda Conference

The Association for Computing Machinery
Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession

Contact: Virginia Gold

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BOSTON – October 23, 2012 – Leading experts in programming language technology and high-integrity systems will present their findings at a forum featuring innovative research, practical experience, and workable solutions. The High Integrity Language Technology (HILT) conference, to be held December 2-6, at the Hyatt Regency—Boston, is presented by ACM's Special Interest Group on Ada (SIGAda). Ada is the high-level programming language designed for applications where correctness, safety, reliability, and maintainability are primary requirements. The program includes ACM Turing Award recipient Barbara Liskov of MIT on "Programming the Turing Machine," among the keynote speakers.

"A significant factor affecting whether and how the requirements for high integrity software are met is the chosen language technology," said Ben Brosgol, who chairs HILT 2012. He added that this software's supporting tools are equally important. "It's not just the programming languages but the languages for expressing specifications, program properties, domain models, and other attributes of the software or overall system," he said.

In her keynote, Liskov examines the huge gap between a Turing machine and the kinds of applications in use today. "This gap is bridged by software, and designing and implementing large programs," which she says is a difficult task. Her talk focuses on how abstraction and modularity are used in the design of large programs, and how these concepts are supported in modern programming languages.

Kathleen Fisher of the DARPA Information Innovation Office presents her keynote address on "High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems." She offers ways to achieve software that has a high assurance of security or safety for networked embedded systems that are vulnerable to remote attack. These systems, she notes, are found in medical devices, computer peripherals, and communications devices as well as airplanes and satellites.

Other conference keynoters include Nancy Leveson, professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT on "Challenges to Safety-Critical Software"; Harvard University's Greg Morrisett on "Hardening Legacy C/C++ Code"; and Guy L. Steele, Jr. of Oracle Labs on "Programming Language Life Cycles."

The conference also features a multi-track technical program including papers, demonstrations, and panels by researchers, practitioners, developers, and users from academic institutions, industry and government. Sessions are devoted to Analyzing and Proving Programs; Security and Safety; and Designing and Implementing Languages, as well as a panel on compiler certification issues.

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About ACM
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world's largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession's collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.

About ACM SIGAda
The ACM Special Interest Group on Ada (SIGAda)  is a powerful resource for the software community's ongoing understanding of the scientific, technical and organizational aspects of the Ada language's use, standardization, environments and implementations.

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