Doctor Fortran in “Eighteen is the New Fifteen”

When the international Fortran standards committee (WG5) met in 2012 to set a schedule for the next standard revision, the informal name of the standard was set to be “Fortran 2015”. The schedule changed over the subsequent years, but the name stayed the same. The current schedule has the standard being published in the second half of 2018, which caused a question to be asked: “Should we perhaps think of changing the year number to something more current?”

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Doctor Fortran in “Are We There Yet?”

The Fortran 2015 standard is almost here, for larger values of “almost”. The technical content is locked down and, at this point, only minor editorial changes are being allowed. A Committee Draft is currently out for ballot, with the results to be available in time for the next US committee (J3 or INCITS PL22.3) meeting in October 2017. International committee (WG5) members get to make comments and suggest editorial changes, but technical changes are not allowed.

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Doctor Fortran in “It Takes All KINDs”

So this is retirement? As I noted earlier, I may no longer be working for Intel, but I do intend to stay active in the Fortran and Intel development communities. While I am back in the forum answering questions, it is liberating knowing that I am not responsible for making sure every question (and bug report) gets answered. I recently learned a wonderfully appropriate Polish saying “Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy”, which translates literally to “Not my circus, not my monkey”, or more colloquially, “not my problem”. I plan to apply this a lot.

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Doctor Fortran in “Thirty-Eight”

(Originally published October 2, 2016)

October 2, 1978 was a typical New England fall day. I walked into the entrance of what had once been a Caldor department store in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. This converted shopping center was the just-opened software development outpost of Digital Equipment Corporation, or DEC, and it was my first day of my new job there to be a developer on the VAX-11/VMS Run-Time Library. I announced myself to the security guard in the lobby and waited for my hiring manager to come out and escort me in. And waited. And waited. It turned out that they were waiting for another new hire who knew people there and had just walked in! Eventually I was rescued and brought inside.

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Doctor Fortran in “A Blast from the Past”

David Muxworthy, ISO Fortran standards committee (WG5) Corrigenda editor and member of BCS (formerly British Computer Society) recently sent along a fascinating document. It comes from a project to digitize old papers from the archive of the BCS Fortran Specialist Group and is a 1977 summary of changes made to FORTRAN 77 as a result of the public comment review.

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Doctor Fortran in “One Door Closes”

In previous posts (herehere and here), I’ve written about the content of and process of creating the next revision of the Fortran standard, Fortran 2015. At the August 2015 joint WG5/J3 meeting in London, England, we finally shut the door on adding still more new features to F2015, though a few snuck in during the meeting. First I’ll bring you up to date on what’s planned for the new standard, including the latest additions, and then talk a bit about what comes next.

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Doctor Fortran in “We All Live in a Yellow Submodule”

Fortran 90 introduced the concept of modules, a separately compiled collection of declarations and procedures that could be referenced by other program units. This was borrowed from Ada, (and probably other languages), but omitted one very useful Ada feature: IS SEPARATE. Why is this important? With Fortran modules, a source file that USEs a module is dependent on the entire module; if any change is made to the module, every source that USEs it must be recompiled even if the changes have no effect on the interface. If you have nested modules, as many applications do, this can lead to a “recompilation cascade” that dramatically increases build time for even the most minor change.

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Doctor Fortran in “The Future of Fortran”

In November 2014, I led a session at SC14 (the event formerly known as “Supercomputing”) titled “The Future of Fortran”. I invited representatives from other vendors and members of the Fortran standards committee to participate, and had some accept, but when it came time for the session, I was up there alone. Oh well…

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