Challenge your programming mettle!

July 7, 2016 OpenSystems Media

You know the drill. As an embedded system developer, you need to write code that not only works, but is fast, compact, and reliable. This can be a challenge, unless you have the right language and development tools.

On June 20, AdaCore announced the launch of the Make with Ada programming competition, a contest that aims to help the embedded software community improve code quality by encouraging the use of the Ada and Spark programming languages. The competition also provides an exciting opportunity for developers to try a new technology and show off their imagination and programming talents.

Why Ada?

The competition is part of an overall AdaCore initiative to foster the growth of Ada and Spark for developing embedded systems, and, more generally, for developing “software that matters.” Ada embodies the best contemporary ideas in software technologies. Its strong typing and compile-time checking help catch errors early, when they’re easiest and least expensive to correct. The Spark subset of Ada supports mathematics-based assurance that relevant program properties are met, and contracts can be verified either statically or dynamically.

Ada is also an easy language to learn, as languages go; programmers with a basic knowledge in other languages can quickly get up to speed with Ada. Experience has shown that students exposed to Ada early in their careers can become more skilled and principled programmers.

“Building an application in Ada on a deeply-embedded microcontroller like the Cortex M or R will be a ton of fun, and is a great way to demonstrate how Ada leads to great code,” said Jack Ganssle, principal consultant at The Ganssle Group, and competition judge.

About the competition

The competition is open to individuals and teams with up to four members. The goal is to design and implement an embedded software project for an ARM Cortex M or R processor where Ada and/or Spark are the principal language technologies. Entrants will need to demonstrate that their system meets its requirements and has been developed using sound software engineering practices.

The competition will run from June 20 to September 30, 2016, and offers over €8000 in total prizes. Cash prizes will be awarded to the projects that best meet the overall criteria of software dependability, openness, collaborativeness, and inventiveness.

  • Top Prize – 5000 Euros
  • Second Prize – 2000 Euros
  • Third Prize – 1000 Euros

Two special awards (nano-drones) will also be offered: one for the project rated best for dependability, and the other for the project rated best for inventiveness.

Show off your programming talents; Register now.

Participants can register for the competition at Further information about Ada and Spark, along with links to free resource pages and instructions on how to get started by downloading the GNAT GPL edition for Bare Board ARM, are available at

Fabien Chouteau is a software engineer with AdaCore, and also the author of the Make with Ada blog post series.

Fabien Chouteau, software engineer, AdaCore
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