MINUTES of a MEETING to "Discuss the

formation of a Specialist Group for the

FORTRAN language: standards, restrictions

and recommended extensions", held in BCS

Headquarters, 29 Portland Place, London W.1.,

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 A discussion on formalising the objectives of the group took place.

    OF     One of the immediate background factors was stated to be the

OBJECTIVES 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:

           (a) to form a focus in the United Kingdom for work concerned

               with establishing and maintaining FORTRAN standards.

           (b) to work in association with national and international

               standardisation bodies.


PROGRAMME   The following programme of activities was then devised against

OF         these objectives:


ACTIVITIES (1) Analyse existing ASI standards for Basic FORTRAN and FORTRAN.


           (2) Review implementation against (1) in regard to syntax and



           (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     ACTION

           that a BCS FORTRAN specialist group is being formed and to ask, in   Mr Gatehouse

           particular, for communication on documentation and information on

           standardisation practices.


            It was decided to start some immediate work against the programme     ACTION

           of activities, in particular, Dr Ian Pyle would collate information   Dr Pyle

           against item 1 and present an Interim Report at the next meeting.      ACTION

           Mr Shearing (Alcock Shearing & Partners) and Mr D. T. Muxworthy      Mr Shearing

           (Edinburgh Regional Computing Centre) would similarly proceed with   Mr Muxworthy

           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.


FUNDS FOR   In response to the Secretary's enquiries, Mr Gatehouse established

SPECIALIST the normal procedure for financial support, namely, that the

GROUP      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



DRAFT FOR   The Secretary agreed to draft for comment at the next meeting a       ACTION

BCS        contribution intended for the next British Computer Society          Mrs Barritt

BULLETIN   Bulletin.


DATE OF NEXT The date of the next meeting (to discuss the first documents)

MEETING    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  The following is a list of headings under which Dr Pyle proposes

PROGRAMME OF 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.