[erlang-questions] US DOD Certification of Erlang?

Ulf Wiger <>
Wed Jun 11 18:01:08 CEST 2008

It's always good if you can focus on the "what" rather than the "how".

BTW, I just caught this interesting proposal from SIGPLAN on how
to upgrade the importance of functional programming in the Harvard
Computer Science curriculum:


   Knowledge Unit             Current      Proposed
PF4 Recursion                     5         2
PF5 Event-driven programming      4         2
PL1 Overview of PL                2         0
PL2 Virtual Machines              1         0
PL3 Language Translation          2         0
PL6 Object-oriented programming  10        10
PL7 Functional Programming        0        10
   Total                        24        24

Here are some of the arguments why:

#  A functional programming language illustrates a way of programming
that departs dramatically from the procedural and OO languages typical
of CS1 and CS2 courses, and so illustrates alternate ways of
expressing computation, alternate models of computation, alternate
ways of thinking about problems, etc. leading to a better educated
graduate. Other languages – say, logic languages – could also serve
this purpose; FP seems to have the highest leverage.
# Studying a functional programming language introduces important
computer science concepts – recursion, higher order functions,
statelessness, sideeffects, lazy evaluation, etc. – that arise in many
contexts and situations. It's simply a good place acquire these ideas.
# The substantial differences between the typical CS1/2 languages and
FP illustrate a diversity among languages that shows students how
selecting a programming language can affect the ease/difficulty of
finding a solution to a programming problem, and implies that learning
and applying new languages can be very advantageous.

Ulf W

2008/6/11 Adam Wagner <>:
> Thanks for the feedback Valintin and Ulf.  I think you're correct that
> in my case it's more of an excuse than a legitimate concern.  I know
> that there are costs/risks in getting new (uncertified) and
> open-source technologies accepted for use on certain
> platforms/environments.  However, in this case I think it's reluctance
> by management to stray too far from something familiar to their pool
> of Java/C++ developers.  I was curious if someone had explicitly dealt
> with the certification issue for Erlang, but it's interesting to know
> the DoD has (unknowingly?) been using products implemented in Erlang.
> I'm planning to do a proof of concept with Erlang and see what I can
> get away with.
> Thanks again!
> - Adam
> On Wed, Jun 11, 2008 at 2:13 AM, Valentin Micic <> wrote:
>> Wow!
>> Two birds with one stone ("Made in U.S.A" tag and open-source! ((-:||).
>> It seems that "those higher up" are just using "certification" as an excuse.
>> V.
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Ulf Wiger" <>
>> To: "Valentin Micic" <>; "Adam Wagner"
>> <>; <>
>> Sent: Wednesday, June 11, 2008 10:54 AM
>> Subject: Re: [erlang-questions] US DOD Certification of Erlang?
>>> The DOD was AFAIK a major user of the Nortel SSL offload accelerator,
>>> which was written in Erlang.
>>> BR,
>>> Ulf W
>>> 2008/6/11, Valentin Micic <>:
>>>> IMHO, open source may introduce security risks that might be very
>>>> dificult
>>>> to quantify. Maybe a sound approach would be to see if they ever
>>>> certified
>>>> any open-source environment (how's Java doin', for example) and see if it
>>>> is
>>>> even possible. But I have a strong feeling that DoD would not certify
>>>> something that does not have a "Made in U.S.A." tag, woulld they? ;-) I
>>>> mean, just think about it -- if they can run it, so can Russia, Iran...
>>>> where's the competitive advantage?
>>>> V.
>>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>>> From: "Adam Wagner" <>
>>>> To: <>
>>>> Sent: Wednesday, June 11, 2008 3:07 AM
>>>> Subject: [erlang-questions] US DOD Certification of Erlang?
>>>>> I currently work for a US defense contractor, but am relatively new to
>>>>> government work.  From what I've learned so far about Erlang I can see
>>>>> programs on the horizon where it would be a great fit.  Whenever I've
>>>>> mentioned the idea to those higher up, I'm told that it would never
>>>>> happen because the DOD would never "certify" it.  Has anybody else
>>>>> gone down this road with Erlang that could offer advice?
>>>>> Thanks,
>>>>> Adam
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> erlang-questions mailing list
>>>>> http://www.erlang.org/mailman/listinfo/erlang-questions
>>>> _______________________________________________
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