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"Discuss the formation of a Specialist Group for the FORTRAN language: standards, restrictions and recommended extensions",

held in BCS Headquarters, 29 Portland Place, London W1, on Tuesday, 6th January 1970 at 10.45 a.m.

PRESENT:  Mr J. Gatehouse  (Convenor)
 Mr B. H. Shearing
 Mr D. T. O'Leary
 Mr J. P. Holland
 Mr L. I. Brown
 Mr A. J. Payne
 Mr K. O. Hallinan
 Mr A. D. Johnson
 Mr R. Butchart
 Mr I. A. G. Snowball
 Dr A. Colin Day
 Mr P. Bradly
 Dr A. H. De Borde
 Mrs B. Swann
 Dr I. C. Pyle
 Mr K. Normington
 Mrs M. M. Barritt  (Secretary)

The meeting was arranged by Mr Gatehouse.

Mr Gatehouse explained how the impetus to convene the meeting had arisen. His own company (G.E.C./English Electric) were considerably expanding their use of FORTRAN and so had started to look at what standards might be laid down, in doing so they became aware that there was no forum for the exchange of information on standards news, proposals and requirements in the United Kingdom.

It was suggested to Mr Gatehouse that it would be appropriate to form a specialist group of the British Computer Society for the FORTRAN language. The purpose of this meeting was to explore what support might be expected for such a proposal.

It was agreed that a specialist group should be formed.

Mr Gatehouse was invited to be Chairman and Mrs Barritt to be Secretary. Mr Gatehouse accepted the nomination for a year and Mrs Barritt accepted, with the reservation that her location in Scotland would support having a second secretary nominated with residence in England. It was further suggested that the second secretary, Mr Bradley, could always conveniently act as Vice-Chairman for the first year. The main aim of these arrangements was to avoid any meetings being held up due to difficulties experienced in travelling in adverse weather conditions.

FORMALISING OF OBJECTIVES A discussion on formalising the objectives of the group took place. One of the immediate background factors was stated to be the imminence of the 1970 revision of the ASA standard. It was felt by some members present that the collation of information and views of relevance to the ASA revision should be given very early consideration by the group.  
OBJECTIVES The objectives of the group were formally agreed to be:
  1. to form a focus in the United Kingdom for work concerned with establishing and maintaining FORTRAN standards.
  2. to work in association with national and international standardisation bodies.
PROGRAMME OF ACTIVITIES The following programme of activities was then devised against these objectives.
  1. Analyse existing ASI standards for Basic FORTRAN and FORTRAN.
  2. Review, implementation against (1) in regard to syntax and semantics.
  3. Collating Users' requirements and proposed solutions.
  4. Recommendations to standard Bodies as a result of (1), (2) and (3).
  5. Dissemination of information on FORTRAN standards.
  It was agreed that Mr Gatehouse would write to ASI to advise them that a BCS FORTRAN specialist group is being formed and to ask, in particular, for communication on documentation and information on standardisation practices.    ACTION
Mr Gatehouse
  It was decided to start some immediate work against the programme of activities, in particular, Dr Ian Pyle would collate information against item 1 and present an Interim Report at the next meeting.    ACTION
Dr Pyle
  Mr Shearing (Alcock Shearing & Partners) and Mr D. T. Muxworthy (Edinburgh Regional Computing Centre) would similarly proceed with an Interim Report for presentation at the next meeting against item 2.

Members would write to Mr Gatehouse regarding item 3 and again, dependent on the response, a preliminary statement on 3 would be available for the next meeting.
Mr Shearing
Mr Muxworthy
FUNDS FOR SPECIALIST GROUP In response to the Secretary's enquiries, Mr Gatehouse established the normal procedure for financial support, namely, that the British Computer Society makes available to a specialist group, funds of £50 per year to cover incidental expenses. It therefore became clear that members would need to be able to fund their own travelling expenses to the meetings and those present agreed that provided the meetings were not too frequent this would be feasible. However, the point was made that if the work subsequently entailed special travel against a formal specified project, then Mr Gatehouse would make representation to Mr John Nicholson, the Secretary to the Technical Committee, regarding the position of the British Computer Society funding, before any such project commenced.  
DRAFT FOR BCS BULLETIN The Secretary agreed to draft for comment at the next meeting a contribution intended for the next British Computer Society Bulletin.    ACTION
Mrs Barritt
DATE OF NEXT MEETING The date of the next meeting (to discuss the first documents) was fixed for Tuesday, 17th February, 1970 at 10.45 a.m. at 29 Portland Place, London, W.1. A formal meeting will also be held on 7th April, to which interested parties will be invited through the Bulletin.  
ADDENDUM TO PROGRAMME OF ACTIVITIES The following is a list of headings under which Dr Pyle proposes to produce his Interim Report:

Data type and manipulation

Flow of control within routine

Connection between routines

Error detection and handling

Environment for compilers and object programs

Manner of defining Standard.


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