Ada as a Foundation Programming Language: Starting Off on the Right Foot

Michael B. Feldman

Michael B. Feldman

Michael B. Feldman was born in Philadelphia in 1944 and graduated in 1962 from Central High School in that city. He received the B.S.E. degree in Electrical Engineering in 1966 from Princeton University, then returned to Philadelphia for graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania, receiving the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer and Information Sciences in 1970 and 1973 respectively.

Prof. Feldman's interest in computer software was kindled by a junior-level course in which Fortran was used for solving numerical engineering problems. Furthermore, his undergraduate lab work in electronics revealed a slight case of color-blindness, which caused him great difficulty in distinguishing the color-coded stripes on the resistors.

Dr. Feldman was back in Princeton from 1970 to 1974, employed as a computer scientist by Educational Testing Service. He then spent a year in Europe, as Staff Consultant to the Managing Director of Samsom Automatisering, a data-processing company in The Netherlands. He still speaks pretty good Dutch whenever he has a chance.

In 1975, Dr. Feldman joined the faculty at The George Washington University, where he now holds the rank of Full Professor in the Department of Computer Science. He is responsible for the CS majors-oriented introductory programming course, and the undergraduate data structures and real-time systems courses. He received the Eta Kappa Nu Teacher of the Year Award in 1985.

Dr. Feldman is an experienced teacher of Ada and other languages: his University courses are well received and his week-long seminars have had a number of government and industry clients. He is the author of "Ada 95: Problem Solving and Program Design," a freshman-level book which is now in its third edition. Since the publication of the first Ada 83 edition in 1991 by Addison Wesley, has become one of the best-selling texts in university first-year Ada courses in the United States and abroad. His intermediate text, "Software Construction and Data Structures with Ada 95," was published in June 1996 by Addison Wesley. This book's first edition, published in 1985, was the first Ada-related text specifically targeted to undergraduate courses. Dr. Feldman also wrote "Ada 95 in Context", the Ada chapter in Macmaillan's 1998 "Handbook of Programming Languages."

Dr. Feldman's research interests lie in concurrent programming and undergraduate Computer Science education. He is the author of the Software Engineering Institute Curriculum Module CM-25, "Language and System Support for Concurrent Programming," published by SEI in April, 1990, and of an invited ACM SIGCSE editorial, "Inspiring Our Undergraduate Students' Aspirations," in ACM SIGCSE Inroads, June 1999.

Dr. Feldman is Chair of the Education Working Group of ACM SIGAda, the Special Interest Group on Ada. In this role, Dr. Feldman maintains the Ada-related reference documents "Ada 95 Textbooks -- Brief Reviews" and "Ada as a Foundation Programming Language", a list of colleges and universities in which Ada is introduced in first-year computing courses. Several of Dr. Feldman's students receive SIGAda support for operating the popular website, "Ada Programming Language Resources for Educators and Students."

He is also the editor of Who's Using Ada?, a collection of application notes about interesting non-defense projects that have used Ada as their programming language.

Dr. Feldman was the keynote speaker at the 1991 Symposium on Ada and Software Engineering Education and Training (ASEET) and the program chairman of the 1998 ACM SIGAda International Conference.

From 1986 to 1988 Dr. Feldman served as Assistant to the GW Vice President for Academic Affairs, where his role was to advise the university administration on issues related to academic computing. A committee he headed at the time produced an influential strategic plan for academic computing at GW. Dr. Feldman has been actively involved in accreditation activities at the Department and University levels. He also serves as a program evaluator for the Computing Sciences Accreditation Board (CSAB).

Prof. Michael B. Feldman
Department of Computer Science
The George Washington University
Washington, DC 20052