D.8 Monotonic Time
[This subclause specifies a high-resolution, monotonic clock package.]
The following language-defined
library package exists:
Time is private
Time_First : constant
Time_Last : constant
Time_Unit : constant
Time_Span is private
Time_Span_First : constant
Time_Span_Last : constant
Time_Span_Zero : constant
Time_Span_Unit : constant
Tick : constant
function "+" (Left : Time; Right : Time_Span) return Time;
function "+" (Left : Time_Span; Right : Time) return Time;
function "-" (Left : Time; Right : Time_Span) return Time;
function "-" (Left : Time; Right : Time) return Time_Span;
function "<" (Left, Right : Time) return Boolean;
function "<="(Left, Right : Time) return Boolean;
function ">" (Left, Right : Time) return Boolean;
function ">="(Left, Right : Time) return Boolean;
function "+" (Left, Right : Time_Span) return Time_Span;
function "-" (Left, Right : Time_Span) return Time_Span;
function "-" (Right : Time_Span) return Time_Span;
function "*" (Left : Time_Span; Right : Integer) return Time_Span;
function "*" (Left : Integer; Right : Time_Span) return Time_Span;
function "/" (Left, Right : Time_Span) return Integer;
function "/" (Left : Time_Span; Right : Integer) return Time_Span;
function "abs"(Right : Time_Span) return Time_Span;
function "<" (Left, Right : Time_Span) return Boolean;
function "<="(Left, Right : Time_Span) return Boolean;
function ">" (Left, Right : Time_Span) return Boolean;
function ">="(Left, Right : Time_Span) return Boolean;
To_Duration (TS : Time_Span) return
To_Time_Span (D : Duration) return
Nanoseconds (NS : Integer) return
Microseconds (US : Integer) return
Milliseconds (MS : Integer) return
Seconds (S : Integer) return
Minutes (M : Integer) return
Seconds_Count is range implementation-defined
Split(T : in
Time; SC : out
Seconds_Count; TS : out
Time_Of(SC : Seconds_Count; TS : Time_Span) return
... -- not specified by the language
In this Annex, real time
is defined to be the physical time as observed in the external environment.
The type Time is a time type
as defined by 9.6
[values of this type may be used in a delay_until_statement
Values of this type represent segments of an ideal time line. The set
of values of the type Time corresponds one-to-one with an implementation-defined
range of mathematical integers.
Discussion: Informally, real time is
defined to be the International Atomic Time (TAI) which is monotonic
and nondecreasing. We use it here for the purpose of discussing rate
of change and monotonic behavior only. It does not imply anything about
the absolute value of Real_Time.Clock, or about Real_Time.Time being
synchronized with TAI. It is also used for real time in the metrics,
for comparison purposes.
Implementation Note: The specification
of TAI as “real time” does not preclude the use of a simulated
TAI clock for simulated execution environments.
value I represents the half-open real time interval that starts with
E+I*Time_Unit and is limited by E+(I+1)*Time_Unit, where Time_Unit is
an implementation-defined real number and E is an unspecified origin
point, the epoch
, that is the same for all values of the type
Time. It is not specified by the language whether the time values are
synchronized with any standard time reference. [For example, E can correspond
to the time of system initialization or it can correspond to the epoch
of some time standard.]
Discussion: E itself does not have to
be a proper time value.
This half-open interval I consists of all real
numbers R such that E+I*Time_Unit <= R < E+(I+1)*Time_Unit.
Values of the type Time_Span represent length of
real time duration. The set of values of this type corresponds one-to-one
with an implementation-defined range of mathematical integers. The Time_Span
value corresponding to the integer I represents the real-time duration
Reason: The purpose of this type is similar
to Standard.Duration; the idea is to have a type with a higher resolution.
Discussion: We looked at many possible
names for this type: Real_Time.Duration, Fine_Duration, Interval, Time_Interval_Length,
Time_Measure, and more. Each of these names had some problems, and we've
finally settled for Time_Span.
Time_First and Time_Last are the smallest and largest
values of the Time type, respectively. Similarly, Time_Span_First and
Time_Span_Last are the smallest and largest values of the Time_Span type,
A value of type Seconds_Count represents an elapsed
time, measured in seconds, since the epoch.
Time_Unit is the smallest amount of real time representable
by the Time type; it is expressed in seconds. Time_Span_Unit is the difference
between two successive values of the Time type. It is also the smallest
positive value of type Time_Span. Time_Unit and Time_Span_Unit represent
the same real time duration.
A clock tick
is a real time interval during which the clock value (as observed by
calling the Clock function) remains constant. Tick is the average length
of such intervals.
The function To_Duration converts the value TS to a value of type Duration.
Similarly, the function To_Time_Span converts the value D to a value
of type Time_Span. For To_Duration, the result is rounded to the nearest
value of type Duration (away from zero if exactly halfway between two
values). If the result is outside the range of Duration, Constraint_Error
is raised. For To_Time_Span, the value of D is first rounded to the nearest
integral multiple of Time_Unit, away from zero if exactly halfway between
two multiples. If the rounded value is outside the range of Time_Span,
Constraint_Error is raised. Otherwise, the value is converted to the
To_Duration(Time_Span_Zero) returns 0.0, and To_Time_Span(0.0)
The functions Nanoseconds, Microseconds, Milliseconds, Seconds, and Minutes
convert the input parameter to a value of the type Time_Span. NS, US,
MS, S, and M are interpreted as a number of nanoseconds, microseconds,
milliseconds, seconds, and minutes respectively. The input parameter
is first converted to seconds and rounded to the nearest integral multiple
of Time_Unit, away from zero if exactly halfway between two multiples.
If the rounded value is outside the range of Time_Span, Constraint_Error
is raised. Otherwise, the rounded value is converted to the type Time_Span.
The effects of the operators on Time and Time_Span
are as for the operators defined for integer types.
Implementation Note: Though time values
are modeled by integers, the types Time and Time_Span need not be implemented
The function Clock returns the amount of time since
The effects of the Split and Time_Of operations are
defined as follows, treating values of type Time, Time_Span, and Seconds_Count
as mathematical integers. The effect of Split(T,SC,TS) is to set SC and
TS to values such that T*Time_Unit = SC*1.0 + TS*Time_Unit, and 0.0 <=
TS*Time_Unit < 1.0. The value returned by Time_Of(SC,TS) is the value
T such that T*Time_Unit = SC*1.0 + TS*Time_Unit.
The range of Time values shall be sufficient to uniquely
represent the range of real times from program start-up to 50 years later.
Tick shall be no greater than 1 millisecond. Time_Unit shall be less
than or equal to 20 microseconds.
Implementation Note: The required range
and accuracy of Time are such that 32-bits worth of seconds and 32-bits
worth of ticks in a second could be used as the representation.
Time_Span_First shall be no greater than –3600
seconds, and Time_Span_Last shall be no less than 3600 seconds.
Reason: This is equivalent to ±
one hour and there is still room for a two-microsecond resolution.
A clock jump
is the difference
between two successive distinct values of the clock (as observed by calling
the Clock function). There shall be no backward clock jumps.
The implementation shall document the values of Time_First,
Time_Last, Time_Span_First, Time_Span_Last, Time_Span_Unit, and Tick.
Documentation Requirement: The values
of Time_First, Time_Last, Time_Span_First, Time_Span_Last, Time_Span_Unit,
and Tick for package Real_Time.
The implementation shall document the properties
of the underlying time base used for the clock and for type Time, such
as the range of values supported and any relevant aspects of the underlying
hardware or operating system facilities used.
Documentation Requirement: The properties
of the underlying time base used in package Real_Time.
Discussion: If there is an underlying
operating system, this might include information about which system call
is used to implement the clock. Otherwise, it might include information
about which hardware clock is used.
The implementation shall document whether or not
there is any synchronization with external time references, and if such
synchronization exists, the sources of synchronization information, the
frequency of synchronization, and the synchronization method applied.
Documentation Requirement: Any synchronization
of package Real_Time with external time references.
The implementation shall document any aspects of the external environment
that could interfere with the clock behavior as defined in this subclause.
Documentation Requirement: Any aspects
of the external environment that could interfere with package Real_Time.
Discussion: For example, the implementation
is allowed to rely on the time services of an underlying operating system,
and this operating system clock can implement time zones or allow the
clock to be reset by an operator. This dependence has to be documented.
For the purpose of the metrics defined in this subclause, real time is
defined to be the International Atomic Time (TAI).
shall document the following metrics:
An upper bound on the real-time duration of a clock
tick. This is a value D such that if t1 and t2 are any real times such
that t1 < t2 and Clockt1
then t2 – t1 <= D.
An upper bound on the size of a clock jump.
An upper bound on the drift
of Clock with respect to real time. This is a real number D
E*(1–D) <= (Clockt+E – Clockt) <= E*(1+D)
provided that: Clockt + E*(1+D) <= Time_Last.
is the value of Clock at time t, and E is a real time duration not less
than 24 hours. The value of E used for this metric shall be reported.
Reason: This metric is intended to provide
a measurement of the long term (cumulative) deviation; therefore, 24
hours is the lower bound on the measurement period. On some implementations,
this is also the maximum period, since the language does not require
that the range of the type Duration be more than 24 hours. On those implementations
that support longer-range Duration, longer measurements should be performed.
An upper bound on the execution time of a call
to the Clock function, in processor clock cycles.
Upper bounds on the execution times of the operators
of the types Time and Time_Span, in processor clock cycles.
Implementation Note: A fast implementation
of the Clock function involves repeated reading until you get the same
value twice. It is highly improbable that more than three reads will
be necessary. Arithmetic on time values should not be significantly slower
than 64-bit arithmetic in the underlying machine instruction set.
Documentation Requirement: The metrics
for package Real_Time.
Implementations targeted to machines with word size
smaller than 32 bits need not support the full range and granularity
of the Time and Time_Span types.
Discussion: These requirements are based
on machines with a word size of 32 bits.
Since the range and granularity are implementation
defined, the supported values need to be documented.
When appropriate, implementations should provide
configuration mechanisms to change the value of Tick.
Implementation Advice: When appropriate,
mechanisms to change the value of Tick should be provided.
Reason: This is often needed when the
compilation system was originally targeted to a particular processor
with a particular interval timer, but the customer uses the same processor
with a different interval timer.
Discussion: Tick is a deferred constant
and not a named number specifically for this purpose.
Implementation Note: This can be achieved
either by pre-run-time configuration tools, or by having Tick be initialized
(in the package private part) by a function call residing in a board
It is recommended that Calendar.Clock and Real_Time.Clock
be implemented as transformations of the same time base.
Implementation Advice: Calendar.Clock
and Real_Time.Clock should be transformations of the same time base.
It is recommended that the “best” time
base which exists in the underlying system be available to the application
through Clock. “Best” may mean highest accuracy or largest
Implementation Advice: The “best”
time base which exists in the underlying system should be available to
the application through Real_Time.Clock.
The rules in this subclause do not imply that the implementation can
protect the user from operator or installation errors which could result
in the clock being set incorrectly.
36 Time_Unit is the granularity of the
Time type. In contrast, Tick represents the granularity of Real_Time.Clock.
There is no requirement that these be the same.
Incompatibilities With Ada 95
Functions Seconds and Minutes are added to Real_Time.
If Real_Time is referenced in a use_clause
and an entity E
with a defining_identifier
of Seconds or Minutes is defined in a package that is also referenced
in a use_clause
the entity E
may no longer be use-visible, resulting in errors.
This should be rare and is easily fixed if it does occur.
Wording Changes from Ada 95
Added wording explaining how and when many of these functions can raise
Constraint_Error. While there always was an intent to raise Constraint_Error
if the values did not fit, there never was any wording to that effect,
and since Time_Span was a private type, the normal numeric type rules
do not apply to it.
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