BRITISH COMPUTER SOCIETY FORTRAN SPECIALIST GROUP
MINUTES of a meeting
held on Thursday 6th July
1972 at B.C.S. Headquarters,
29 Portland Place, London
W1 at l0.30 am.
Present: Mr. J.S. Gatehouse (Chairman) G.E.C.
Mr. P.D. Bond Philips Industries
Mr. H.W. Bradley C.A.D. Centre, Cambridge
Mr. R.L. Butchart D.T.I.
Mr. J.C. Cullen B.P.
Dr. A.C. Day University College, London
Mr. P.J. Hammond B.P.
Mr. I.D. Hill M.R.C.
Mr. I.D.K.Kelly A.I.A.Computing, Ltd.
Mr. D.J. Maisey I.C.L.
Mr. R. Mankin Olympic Computer Services
Mr. D.H. Marwick Heriot-Watt University
Mr. K. St Pier G.E.C.
Mr. B.H.Shearing Alcock Shearing & Partners
Mr. D. Winstanley Birmingham University
Mr. D T Muxworthy (Secretary) Edinburgh R.C.C.
for Mr. E. Bodger IBM Information Services Ltd.
Absence: Mr. R.E. Day Edinburgh R.C.C.
l. APPROVAL OF MINUTES The minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday l9th ACTION
April 1972 were approved.
2. MATTERS ARISING The Chairman reported that volunteers had filled all
FROM THE MINUTES the vacancies for file-project examiners and that
the City and Guilds Institute had expressed its
3. REPORTS FROM THE a. Diagnostics Working Party. No-one had offered
WORKING PARTIES to chair this working party; the invitation
to do so remains open. All
b. Extensions Working Party. Mr. Shearing reported
that the pattern of meetings described at the
previous Group meeting had continued and that the
working party continued to comment on the latest
ANSI Fortran sub-committee proposals. The problem
of type CHARACTER was occupying much of the sub-
Asked if there was anything with which the working
party did not agree, Mr. Shearing said that the
overall impression was one of ad-hoc solutions
(to genuine problems) which resulted in an
irregular language; there was a danger that the
new standard would not be implemented.
The Group secretary was to attend the July
meeting of XJ3 as an observer.
c. Free Format Working Party. Mr. Marwick
introduced the draft reports "Free Layout of
Source Code" and "Free Format of Data" which
had been distributed to members of the Group
during June and which had been sent to certain
members of the ANSI X3J3 sub-committee as a
personal contribution. The principal differences
from earlier documents from this working party
were concerned with data. The Chairman expressed
the thanks of the Group for Mr. Marwick's work
and complimented him on the high standard of the
There followed a detailed discussion on the
content of the reports which is summarised in
Appendix A to these minutes; as a consequence
of the discussion Mr. Marwick is to make
d. Small machine Fortran Working Party. This
working party was not discussed in detail because
of lack of time: it was thought that there
was a possibility of reviving the working party
with different terms of reference, e.g. to
include compiling techniques, and those interested
were asked to formulate their ideas on this matter
with a view to discussing it at the next Group
4. OTHER BUSINESS a. Mr. R.E. Day had advised that a cheaper, non-
residential fee was available, although not
advertised, for the conference "High Level
Programming Languages - The Way Ahead" and
further that the timetable had been rearranged
from that shown in the publicity leaflet.
b. The Secretary advised that Mr. F.A. Martin
(ref. minutes of 16.12.71 section 6a) had, as
part of a technical teacher training course,
written a report, "An Assessment of the Facilities
for learning Fortran IV by Self-Tuition". This
lists over fifty Fortran textbooks and makes
detailed assessments and comparisons of forty-one
of them. It was hoped that the report would be
submitted for publication in the Computer
Bulletin or Computer Education.
c. The Chairman had been informed by Dr. Murchland
of P.T.R.C. that he was compiling a catalogue
of Fortran programming aids.
d. The Chairman drew the attention of the Group to
draft ISO standard 1672 - "The Hardware
Representation of Algol Basic Symbols". This
indicated problems associated with multi
e. Dr. A.C. Day advised that his book, "Fortran
Techniques" would be published this summer and
that the University College London Fortran
video-tape course was available and was
marketed by Lux; the prices varied from £325
for certain educational establishments to
£1200 for commercial organizations.
5. DATE OF NEXT The next meeting will be held on Thursday September
MEETING 21st 1972 at 10.30 am in the Council Room, BCS
SUMMARY OF CHANGES RECOMMENDED TO FREE-FORMAT REPORTS
I. FREE LAYOUT OF SOURCE CODE
Section l A compiler should not be obliged to accept free format source
in order to be deemed standard-conforming.
"Column" margins, with a default, should be defined.
Multi-statement lines should not be allowed.
Sections 2, The statement terminator and continuation convention should
3,4 be redefined; if possible no new symbols should be
introduced and the definition should be medium-independent.
Section 5 This section may logically be divided into matters of Fortran
code and of keyboard-to-compiler communication and the latter
should appear in an appendix to the report.
II. FREE FORMAT OF DATA
Sections 2,3 The READ and WRITE statements with an undefined format label
were not approved.
The READ, PRINT, PUNCH statements were present only because
the corresponding formatted input-output statements had been
approved for the new standard.
The WRITE *,list was queried as there is no corresponding
Section 4 Complex and logical data forms should be explicitly defined.
The description of data-items should be made medium-independent
Some simplification would follow if contiguous commas were
Sub-paragraphs (v) and (vi) should be removed and comment made
in an appendix that use of such symbols would inhibit any
future use of arithmetic expressions as data.
Section 5 There should be a means of writing character strings with
enclosing apostrophes (for re-input).