Minutes of a Meeting held on

Friday, 27th July, 1973 at

Barnard's Inn, Holborn Bars,

London EC1 at l0.30 a.m.

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

Mr P.D. Bond                    Philips Industries

Mr P.A. Clarke                  Rothamsted Experimental Station

Mr J.C. Cullen                  B.P.

Dr A.C. Day                     University College London

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

Mr P.J. Hammond                 B.P.

Mr I.D. Hill                    M.R.C.

Dr C.B.A.Price                  Honeywell

Mr K. St.Pier                   G.E.C.

Ms. S.M. Sinclair               Atlas Computer Laboratory

Ms. M. Spooner                  Computing

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

Mr D.Winstanley                 University of Birmingham

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

Apologies for  Mr A. Bruce               Government Communications H.Q.

Absence:       Mr T.D. Palmer            N.C.B.

               Professor J.S. Rohl       University of Manchester I.S.T.


1.    APPROVAL OF       The minutes of the meeting of the 18th May

      MINUTES           1973 were approved, subject to the

substitution of 'Hammersley' for

'Hemmereley' in paragraph 2b.

2.    MATTERS ARISING   a. The Chairman and Secretary were to           BHS/DTM

      FROM THE          inform the Editor of the Computer Journal

      MINUTES           of the latest estimate of the publication

date for the draft proposed American

National Standard (dpANS) for Fortran

(see section 5 below).

b. It appeared that there was now no medium

for publishing the Group's annual report

which formerly appeared in the Computer


3.    USE OF            The Chairman had been informed that the

      SPECIALIST        advertising plan was introduced to

      GROUPS FOR        forefend other, less controlled, schemes

      ADVERTISING       and, having been reassured that information

was not distributed outside the BCS, that

members could withdraw their names, that

only conferences, books and the like would

be advertised and these only after the Group

Chairman's approval in each case, he (Mr

Shearing) would now inform Mrs Roberts that     BHS

she may send relevant material to him for

consideration for distribution.

4.    ECMA FORTRAN      Dr Day had written to ECMA (minutes of 18.5.73

      STANDARDS         section 8) and M. Besse, the ECMA Deputy

ACTIVITIES        Secretary General, had responded by offering

to exchange relevant documents. The

Secretary was to arrange this.                  DTM

ECMA committee TC8, which produced the

ECMA Fortran standard of 1965, reopened

its activities in February 1973 with

representatives from six European based

computer manufacturers, plus Honeywell

and Univac; the chairman is Mr van

der Munnik of Philips-Electrologica. The

committee had established contact with

X3J3 and its program of work was to

review the X3J3 proposals for consistency,

relation to common practice, relation to

X3.9 and implications for users;

consideration of relation to ECMA-9 and

X3.l0 was deferred.

At the second meeting in April a number

of X3J3 proposals were selected for

further discussion; several items already

approved by X3J3 were opposed by TC8.

5.    AMERICAN          The minutes of the X3J3 meeting on May 15-18

      FORTRAN           1973 were considered. The principal

      STANDARDS         decisions then taken were:


a. To rescind apostrophes to delimit

Hollerith constants, thereby distinguishing

syntactically Hollerith and CHARACTER


b. To rescind the PUNCH statement.

c. To allow CHARACTER functions.

d. To include new intrinsic functions and

generic function names for the nearest

integer function.

e. To make several clarifications to the

direct access input-output proposals.

Subject to checking by the secretary, it was

decided to send comments on current proposals

to X3J3; further details are given in Appendix

1 to these minutes. Subsetting of the new

standard is described in section 6 below.

The estimated date for the publication of

the draft proposed standard was now the first

quarter of 1974. Mr Noll, the X3J3 member

with special responsibility for international

liaison, had recently indicated that comments

from this group were still most welcome,

especially when they pointed out irregularities

or inconsistencies, but it was now probably too

late to argue points which were mainly a matter

of taste. Contrary to information available

at the previous meeting, Mr Noll was optimistic

about the draft being approved at an early date.

6.    SUBSETTING        The current thoughts of X3J3 on subsetting

were that there should be three levels,

viz Fortran, General Fortran and Fundamental

Fortran the criteria for inclusion of

elements into which are shown in Appendix

2 to these minutes. Mr Winstanley presented

a criticism of the proposals; his main

points were that:

a. Fundamental Fortran was still a large

language, significantly bigger than ISO

intermediate level.

b. That the two upper levels were too

close, there being only nine elements of

the language in Fortran but not in General

Fortran and that therefore General Fortran

should be revised to be closer to X3.9.

c. That direct-access input-output should

not be required at lower levels.

d. That significant savings of space could be

achieved by including list-directed and not

formatted input-output at the lowest level.

It was decided to send comments to X3J3.        DW/BHS/

Mr Winstanley was thanked for his work.         DTM

7.    OTHER             a. Attention was drawn to a BCS conference

      BUSINESS          on Job Control to be held in January 1974.

b. A new specialist group on pterotechnology

was being formed; details were available

from BCS HQ.

c. A room at BCS HQ was again available for

holding meetings. A majority at the meeting

favoured using that rather than Barnard's


d. Talks given to Study Group 5 during the

year were to be published in the early


e. Attention was drawn to a paper entitled

"Serious Fortran" by J. Larmouth, the first

part of which was published in Software

Practice and Experience Vol 3 pp. 87 - 107

and the second was to appear in the following


f. It was noted that a manual on BASIC had

been published in the NCC Standards series.

Anyone interested in BASIC was asked to

make themselves known to the chairman.

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

      MEETING           Friday, November 9th, 1973 at BCS Headquarters,

29 Portland Place, London W.l. (Please note

the change of venue).

                                    APPENDIX 1


l.    Concern was expressed that rescinding apostrophes to delimit

Hollerith strings would remove this facility also from

format field descriptors. In fact the facility remains in

the guise of a CHARACTER field descriptor.

2.    It was decided to ask whether logical unit zero had special

significance. It does not.

3.    It was decided to ask for clarification of the effect of

e.g. (T50/...). This is now specifically allowed to guarantee

that the first record output has length at least 49. The

actual length of a formatted record "depends primarily upon

the number of characters put into the record when it was

written. However, it may be dependent upon the processor

and the external medium".

Thus (8Fl0.5, T201) used with a punched card would cause an

error condition, just as (20Fl0.5) would.

4.    It was decided to suggest that UNIT=unit be allowed also in REWIND

etc. However, unit is now proposed to be a positional parameter

in all input-output statements except INQUIRE (where UNIT= is


The only remaining comment, which in itself was not worthy of a

memorandum to X3J3 was:

5.    The Group still disliked a variable apparently being assigned

on the right of an equals sign, as in OPEN=L.

                                   APPENDIX 2

            Criteria for Inclusion of Elements of FORTRAN into

                              Various Subsets


l.    That this subset be proper subset of GENERAL FORTRAN.

2.    That this level correspond approximately to ISO RECOMMENDATION

R1539 Intermediate Level FORTRAN.

3.    That this level include (at a fundamental level) those features

of the full FORTRAN language which significantly increase the

scope of the language.

4.    That the elements of this subset make a minimum demand on primary

storage space requirements particularly at run time.

5.    That this subset require a minimum of effort for the development

and maintenance of viable FORTRAN processor.


1.    That this subset be a proper subset of FORTRAN.

2.    That this level correspond approximately to the ANS X3.9-1966

FORTRAN language.

3.    This level should have the X3.9-1966 standard as a proper subset

and incorporate those features of the new standard which regularize

anomalies which previously existed.

4.    That this level include (generally) those features of the FORTRAN

language which will significantly increase the scope of the



l.    That this level represents the full standard as defined by X3J3.