JOVIAL is a high-order computer programming language similar to ALGOL, but specialized for the development of embedded systems (specialized computer systems designed to perform one or a few dedicated functions, usually embedded as part of a complete device including mechanical parts).
JOVIAL is an acronym for “Jules Own Version of the International Algorithmic Language.” The “International Algorithmic Language” was a name originally proposed for ALGOL 58. It was developed to compose software for the electronics of military aircraft by Jules Schwartz in 1959.
During the 1960s JOVIAL was a part of the US Military L-project series, in particular 465L, the SACCS project due to a lack of real-time languages available. 95% of the SACCS project, managed by ITT with software primarily written by SDC, was written in JOVIAL. The software project took two years and fewer than 1400 programmer years, less than half of the equivalent time in the SAGE L-project.
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the U.S. Air Force adopted a standardized CPU, the 1750A, and nowadays JOVIAL normally produces programs for that processor. JOVIAL was standardized during 1973 with MIL-STD-1589 and was revised during 1984 with MIL-STD-1589C. It is still much used to update and maintain software on older military vehicles and aircraft. There are three dialects in common use: J3, J3B-2, and J73.
As of 2009[update], JOVIAL is still maintained actively and distributed by the USAF JOVIAL Integrated Tool Set (ITS) Program Office, and a commercially supported JOVIAL Compiler System is available from DDC-I and Software Engineering Associates, Inc. (SEA). The program office helps organizations reuse their old, reliable JOVIAL software by rehosting and retargeting the software to newer, more modern computer platforms and environments. The Jovial Program Office (JPO) is still active, until August of 2009. JOVIAL rehosting and retargeting for the JPO is currently done by Software Engineering Associates, Inc. (SEA).
The current standard package (the “integrated tool set” or ITS) contains a compiler, a MIL-STD-1750A assembler, linker, and simulator/debugger. It is available hosted from (runs on) either a DEC VAX, Sun SPARC, Apple Mac,or a PC running DOS or Windows. Versions are also available that target (produce executable code for) the Intel 80386 (and derivatives), MIPS R4000, PowerPC, AP-101, Zilog Z8002, Motorola 68000, and IBM System z processors.
Notable systems using JOVIAL include the Milstar Communications Satellite, Advanced Cruise Missile, B-52, B-1B, B-2 bombers, C-130, C-141, and C-17 transport aircraft, F-111, F-15, F-16 (prior to Block 50), and F-117 fighter aircraft, LANTIRN, U-2 aircraft, E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft, Navy Aegis cruisers, Army Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, F100, F117, and F119 jet engines, the NORAD air defense & control system (Hughes HME-5118ME system) and RL-10 rocket engines. Airborne radar systems with embedded JOVIAL software include the APG-70, APG-71 and APG-73.
The National Airspace System (NAS), the flight data processing program at the heart of the US and UK Air Traffic Control System, uses JOVIAL.