Ada is the result of a collective effort to design a common language for programming large scale and real-time systems.

The common high order language program began in 1974. The requirements of the United States Department of Defense were formalized in a series of documents which were extensively reviewed by the Services, industrial organizations, universities, and foreign military departments. The Ada language was designed in accordance with the final (1978) form of these requirements, embodied in the Steelman specification.

The Ada design team was led by Jean D. Ichbiah and has included Bernd Krieg-Brueckner, Brian A. Wichmann, Henry F. Ledgard, Jean-Claude Heliard, Jean-Loup Gailly, Jean-Raymond Abrial, John G.P. Barnes, Mike Woodger, Olivier Roubine, Paul N. Hilfinger, and Robert Firth.

At various stages of the project, several people closely associated with the design team made major contributions. They include J.B. Goodenough, R.F. Brender, M.W. Davis, G. Ferran, K. Lester, L. MacLaren, E. Morel, I.R. Nassi, I.C. Pyle, S.A. Schuman, and S.C. Vestal.

Two parallel efforts that were started in the second phase of this design had a deep influence on the language. One was the development of a formal definition using denotational semantics, with the participation of V. Donzeau-Gouge, G. Kahn, and B. Lang. The other was the design of a test translator with the participation of K. Ripken, P. Boullier, P. Cadiou, J. Holden, J.F. Hueras, R.G. Lange, and D.T. Cornhill. The entire effort benefitted from the dedicated assistance of Lyn Churchill and Marion Myers, and the effective technical support of B. Gravem, W.L. Heimerdinger, and P. Cleve. H.G. Schmitz served as program manager.

Over the five years spent on this project, several intense week-long design reviews were conducted, with the participation of P. Belmont, B. Brosgol, P. Cohen, R. Dewar, A. Evans, G. Fisher, H. Harte, A.L. Hisgen, P. Knueven, M. Kronental, N. Lomuto, E. Ploedereder, G. Seegmueller, V. Stenning, D. Taffs, and also F. Belz, R. Converse, K. Correll, A.N. Habermann, J. Sammet, S. Squires, J. Teller, P. Wegner, and P.R. Wetherall.

Several persons had a constructive influence with their comments, criticisms and suggestions. They include P. Brinch Hansen, G. Goos, C.A.R. Hoare, Mark Rain, W.A. Wulf, and also E. Boebert, P. Bonnard, H. Clausen, M. Cox, G. Dismukes, R. Eachus, T. Froggatt, H. Ganzinger, C. Hewitt, S. Kamin, R. Kotler, O. Lecarme, J.A.N. Lee, J.L. Mansion, F. Minel, T. Phinney, J. Roehrich, V. Schneider, A. Singer, D. Slosberg, I.C. Wand, the reviewers of Ada-Europe, AdaTech, Afcet, those of the LMSC review team, and those of the Ada Tokyo Study Group.

These reviews and comments, the numerous evaluation reports received at the end of the first and second phase, the nine hundred language issue reports and test and evaluation reports received from fifteen different countries during the third phase of the project, the thousands of comments received during the ANSI Canvass, and the on-going work of the IFIP Working Group 2.4 on system implementation languages and that of the Purdue Europe LTPL-E committee, all had a substantial influence on the final definition of Ada.

The Military Departments and Agencies have provided a broad base of support including funding, extensive reviews, and countless individual contributions by the members of the High Order Language Working Group and other interested personnel. In particular, William A. Whitaker provided leadership for the program during the formative stages. David A. Fisher was responsible for the successful development and refinement of the language requirement documents that led to the Steelman specification.

This language definition was developed by Cii Honeywell Bull and later Alsys, and by Honeywell Systems and Research Center, under contract to the United States Department of Defense. William E. Carlson and later Larry E. Druffel served as the technical representatives of the United States Government and effectively coordinated the efforts of all participants in the Ada program.