Minutes of a Meeting held on

Friday, 18th May 1973 at

Barnard's Inn, Holborn Bars,

London EC1 at 10.30 a.m.

Present:    Mr B.H. Shearing (Chairman)   Alcock Shearing & Partners

Mr E.O. Bodger                IBM Information Services

Mr P.D. Bond          Philip Industries

Dr D.L. Bowers                J. Harwell Data Processing Ltd.

Mr P.A. Clarke                Rothamsted Experimental Station

Mr J.C. Cullen                B.P.

Dr A. C. Day                  University College London

Mr R.E. Day                   Edinburgh Regional Computing Centre

Mr D. Ellison                 University of Manchester R.C.C

Mr I.D. Hill                  M.R.C.

Mr R. Mankin                  Olympic Computer Services Ltd.

Mr T.D. Palmer                National Coal Board

Mr K. St.Pier                 GEC

Ms M. Spooner                 Computing

Mr T.L. van Raalte            A.W.R.E. Aldermaston

Dr I.R. Williams              Lloyds Register of Shipping

Mr D. Winstanley              University of Birmingham

Mr R.T.J. Woollett            University of London Computer Centre

Mr D.T. Muxworthy (Secretary) Edinburgh Regional Computing Centre

Apologies      Mr P.J. Hammond            B.P.

for absence:   Mr D.H. Marwick            Heriot-Watt University


1.  APPROVAL OF       The minutes of the meeting of the 2nd March

    MINUTES           1973 were approved.

2.  MATTERS ARISING   a.   Mr Shearing read out a letter to the

    FROM THE               Editor of the Computer Journal from

    MINUTES                himself and the Secretary discussing

                           the problem of technically unsound

                           letters being published in the Journal.

                                                      There had as yet been no reply but a

                           letter to the Journal concerned with

                           Fortran had been sent to Mr Shearing

                           for comment.

                      b.   The Editor of the Journal and the

                           Chairman of X3J3 had been approached

                           with a view to publishing the draft

                           Fortran standard in the Journal.

                           Mr Engel was personally in favour,

                           so long as publication did not precede

                           publication in the U.S.A., and he was

                           to obtain the views of X3J3, CBEMA and

                           the American National Standards Institute.

                           Mr Hemmersley definitely wanted to publish

                           the Standard and this could be accomplished

                           with as little as three months between

                           receipt and publication.

                           Mr Engel had indicated that "publication

                           might take place after the first of the

                           year". He also mentioned that the

                           American National Standards Institute

                           had directed that the acronyms ANS and

                           ANSI be not used, except on internal

                           documents, because of a prior claim by the

                           American Nuclear Society.

                      c.   Dr Day's report on the ISO TC97/SC5 meeting

                           in Washington in November was now available,

                           price 30p post free, from the Librarian,

                           University College Computer Centre, 19 Gordon

                           Street, London WClH 0AH. The Group thanked

                           Dr Day for his work in connection with this


                      d.   This meeting of the Group had been announced

                           in Computer Weekly as well as in Computing.

                           Of people who had not previously attended,

                           three had seen a notice there and one in

                           Computing; the sets were not mutually

                           exclusive. It was decided that direct

                           mailing was the best means of announcing


                      e.   Mr Kelly had indicated since the last meeting

                           that he was still working on the "traps for

                           the unwary" project.

3.  OFFICERS            Mr B.H. Shearing was elected Chairman for l973-74

    FOR THE             and Mr D.T. Muxworthy Secretary. The position

    COMING YEAR         of vice-chairman was left vacant for the time being;

any volunteers are asked to communicate with the


4.  BUDGET FOR          The standard Specialist Group budget of £4O had

    THE COMENG          proved adequate because reprographic and mailing

    YEAR                costs had been carried by the secretary's employers.

However if this were not to be the case in the

future it was likely that more money would be forth-

coming from the BCS.

5.  ANNUAL REPORT       It was decided that the Chairman and                 BHS/DTM

Secretary should write the Group's

contribution (v. Appendix 1) to the BCS

Annual Report. This formerly was

published in the Computer Bulletin;

Mr Shearing was to raise the question                BHS

of publication at the next Specialist

Group Chairmen's meeting.

6.  DATAFAIR            The Group's presentation at Datafair had

been very successful. There was an

audience of 25 and a lively discussion

ensued. A letter of thanks was read

from Mr R.G. Fiddes on behalf of the

Datafair committee.

7.  USE OF SPECIALIST   Since the previous meeting no member

    GROUPS FOR          of the Group had indicated that he did

    ADVERTISING         not wish his name to appear in address

lists hired out by the BCS to advertisers.

Dr Day wanted to withdraw his name from

such a list following his resignation

from the Society partly as a protest at

the alleged inefficiencies at BCS

headquarters. Examples were given of

other fund-raising projects, such as a

request to initiate and chair a conference

to be organized by IBC, being circularized

to chairmen of specialist groups.

After some discussion it was decided not             BHS

to send an address list to BCS for the

time being and that Mr Shearing would seek

an assurance that an individual could

withdraw his name from any list which was

sent in the future.

8.  BSI ACTIVITIES      Dr Day had been invited to represent Fortran

on the BSI Programming Languages Committee

DPEl3. A sub-committee consisting of

Mr Hill, Mr Muxworthy and himself had been

formed to examine the ISO Fortran

Recommendation R/1539; essentially this

consists of the two 1966 American standards

and the 1965 ECMA standard. It was likely

that it would appear eventually also as a

British Standard.

ECMA are reviving interests in Fortran               ACD

Standards and Dr Day was asked to bring

the existence of this Group to their


9.  AMERICAN            The minutes of the X3J3 meeting on March

    STANDARDS           12-15 1973 were considered. The principal

    ACTIVITIES          decisions taken then were:

a.   To rescind subarrays.

b.   To change the syntax of PARAMETER

          to the Univac form from the

          Honeywell form.

c.   To prohibit null character constants.

d.   To allow P as a field description.

There were also a number of changes made

which regularized and clarified previous


The following motions failed:

a.   To allow a CLOSE to specify 'KEEP'

     when OPEN specified 'SCRATCH'

b.   That, in effect, SAVE not apply

     to a redefined initialized entity.

c.   To rescind the extension to allow

          format labels to appear in ASSIGN


It was decided to send comments on current

proposals to X3J3; these are shown in

Appendix 2.

There was some discussion on the possibility

that the entire Fortran revision may be

voted down. It was clear that volunteers

would be available from this group to study

the revised standard as a whole and to

suggest changes to make it more regular.

10. SUBSETTING          The current thoughts of the subsetting group

of X3J3 were that the new Fortran Standard

should have three levels corresponding roughly

to the present ECMA standard, ANSI X3.9 and

the new full standard. Interest had been

expressed in forming a working party to make

recommendations from this Group and A

Mr Winstanley was to report on the feasibility       DW

of this to the next meeting.

ll. WORKING PARTY       a.   Free Format. Copies of the current

        REPORTS                  X3J3 proposal and Mr Marwick's

                                                         comments thereon were distributed at

                                                         the meeting; these, together with

                                                         a personal proposal for the free layout

                                                         of source code had been sent to members

                                                         of X3J3 and constituted the final report

                                                         of this subgroup.

                                                         The working party was formally wound up

                                                         and the Group expressed its thanks for the

                                                         considerable efforts Mr Marwick had made

                                                         for the working party.

b.   Small Machines. It was decided to regard

                                                         this working party as defunct.

c.   Extensions. This working party was

          suspended; the function of commenting

          on X3J3 activities had passed to the

          main Group.

12. OTHER BUSINESS      a.   No one was aware of the extent of the

                                                         changes made in the second edition of

                                                         the NCC Standard Fortran Manual. (It

                                                         has since come to light that the second

                                                         edition essentially consists of the

                                                         first edition with the errata list

                                                         applied, plus reproductions of ANSI

                                                         X3.9-l966 and the first set of ANSI


b.   No one was aware of a paper, said to have

          been published recently in CACM, setting

          out recommended Fortran coding practices.

          Anyone knowing the reference is asked to

          communicate with the Secretary.

13.  DATE OF            The next meeting will be held at 10.30 a.m on

     NEXT MEETING       Friday, July 27th 1973 in the Tearoom of

                                               Barnard's Inn.

D.T. Muxworthy

l5 June 1973.


                               APPENDIX 1


1.    The main activity of the Group has continued to be cooperation with

committee X3J3 of ANSI in their drafting of a new Standard for

Fortran. We had previously sent two major technical reports to

ANSI, one of them published in the Computer Bulletin. This year

we have had five meetings and at each we have studied the decisions

taken by X3J3 and sent them detailed comments. We have reason to

believe that our efforts are very much appreciated by X3J3.

2.    There are about 100 people on our list of members. Attendance at

meetings varies from 12 to 25.

3.    The group led a Discussion Session at Datafair about the new Standard

for Fortran. About 25 attended, and the discussion following the

presentation was detailed, lively and long.

4.    The group played a part in organizing the conference at York in High

Level Languages, which included a talk by B.H. Shearing about the

future of Fortran.

5.    Two of our members attended the ISO meeting on programming languages

held in Washington in November, and our secretary attended a meeting

of X3J3 in Boston in July.

6.    During the year our founder Chairman John Gatehouse resigned after

3 years in office, and B.H. Shearing took over. Our Secretary remains

D.T. Muxworthy.

                               APPENDIX 2

ERCC letter head

            Ref  DTM/1298      Date  18 June 1973    Telephone  031-667 1081 Ext 2642

To:         ANSC X3J3

From:       D.T. Muxworthy for BCS Fortran Specialist Group.

Subject:    Some comments on proposals under discussion.

I was asked to convey the following comments arising from the May 1973 meeting

of the group which considered the March minutes of X3J3.

1.    PARAMETER Statement(/42,4.3)

A majority favoured the retention of the DATA - type syntax, which is

implemented on Honeywell systems ( /42,Jl Rationale 3 is incorrect);

those of us used to the Univac form are quite happy.

2.    New Field Descriptors(/42,4.l0)

We approve P being a field descriptor and urge consideration of our

proposal for M(/42,G).

3.    Input-output clarifications(/42,4.11)

We are still unhappy about the ungainliness of the input-output proposals

and again advocate our proposals(/40,N).

4.    Hollerith constants(/42,4.l2)

We have some sympathy with the proposal not to allow apostrophes to delimit

Hollerith constants, thus distinguishing them syntactically from character

constants, but feel that apostrophes are so widely implemented that it is

now too late to go back.

5.    Environmental enquiry(/42,ZA2,4.3)

We draw attention to our proposal for environmental queries in /32 p47.