British Computer Society Fortran Specialist Group

Minutes Of a meeting held on 7th

March 1975 at the Royal Society

for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 26

Portland Place, London, W.1.

Present:   Mr.D.T.Muxworthy

(Chairman)                University of Edinburgh

Mr. E. O. Bodger

(Vice-Chairman)           IBM W.T. Systems Aid Centre

Mr. J. Anderson           Royal Holloway College

Mrs. E. Aylmer-Kelly      University of York

Dr. J. C. Baldwin         University College, Cardiff

Mr. B. J. Banes           Rolls-Royce, Bristol Engine Division

Mr. P. D. Bond            Philips Industries

Mr. J. Cullen             B.P.

Mr. M. Fitzsimmons        Berne Electronics

Mr. A. J. Forward         I.C.L.

Mr. D. Hill               M.C.S.L.

Mr. I. D. Hill            M.R.C.

Mr. M. J. King            B.B.C.

Mr. C. K. Mackinnon       U.K.A.E.A, Risley

Mr. D. J. Maisey          I.C.L.

Mr. K. Normington         Lanchester Polytechnic, Coventry

Mr. T. L. Van Raalte      Ministry of Defence, A.W.R.E.

Mr. B. H. Shearing        Alcock, Shearing and Partners

Mr. P. A. Clarke

(Secretary)               Rothamsted Experimental Station

Apologies for Absense (sic):

Dr. A. C. Day             University College, London

Mr. T. D. Palmer          Computer Power Ltd.

1.   Approval of Minutes of          The minutes of the meeting of 8th

Previous Meetings               November, 1974 were approved.

The minutes of the meeting of 24th

January 1975 were approved.

2.   Matters Arising from            (a) Mr. Shearing said the Dr. Day

the Minutes                         was now a member of the

    Editorial Board of 'Computing'.

(b) Mr. Shearing said that the

    Computer Journal was now using

    members of the group as referees

    for articles relating to Fortran.

3.  Election of Officers for         The following were elected unopposed:

        1975                              Mr. D. T. Muxworthy (Chairman)

Mr. E. O. Bodger Vice-Chairman)

Mr. P. A. Clarke Secretary).

Addresses are given in Appendix B.

4. Report on BCS Specialist          Mr. Bodger reported that the main

Groups' Committee Meeting           items of discussion were the for-

mation of a new specialist group

for disabled programmers. He

indicated that the aim of this group

was to focus attention on some of the

problems in this area, and on how

very highly disabled persons

could contribute to computing.

There was some discussion on whether

the Algol specialist group should

continue to encompass the interests

of Algol 68 as well as Algol 60,

or whether it would be better to

create a new Algol 68 specialist


It was decided that a new group

should not be formed, and that the

existing group continue in its dual


The new rules for the formation of

specialist groups had been passed

by the technical board.

5. Fortran and CODASYL               Mr. Clarke reported that the newly

formed CODSYL Fortran Database

manipulation language committee,

under the chairmanship of

Dr. Chester Smith (Pennsylvania

State University) had had four

meetings to date.

A brief description of these was

given (see Appendix C) and details

of the proposed FIND statement were

presented and compared with the

corresponding COBOL statement.

It was thought that the BCS Fortran

specialist group should keep in

contact with the CODASYL group to

find out about the types of appli-

cations that were suitable for



6.  Schneck-Angel

    Optimising Compiler              It was reported that

Mr. A. Walter (Atlas Lab.)

had succeeded in imple-

menting tho Fortran-to-Fortran

optimising compiler on an

ICL 1900 machine. In the

process, he discovered that

the implementation was far

from ANSI standard (as had

been indicated in the

Computer Journal Vol. 16

No. 4 November 1977) and

was probably written for

IBM H level extended Fortran.

The compiler occupied 150K

words (550 K bytes on an

ICL System 4) when the

dictionary siZe was reduced

by half.

The group decided that in these

circumstances, a formal certi-

fication should be sent to the

Computer Journal when the full

facts were available.

7.  Datafair 75                      It was decided to book a room

for 70 people at Datafair 75

for Fortran Presentations.

There was discussion as to the

form the presentations should

take. The popularity of the

presentation of ICL 2900 Fortran

(by Mr. D. J. Maisey, at the

meeting of January 1975) led to

the suggestion that a series of

speakers on 'current implementations'

should be considered.


8. Future Activities                  Mr. Muxworthy said that he had

for the Group                      received a letter from a mem-

ber of the group requesting

that there should be more

variation in the content of the

Group meetings. Those present

made several suggestions which

were recorded for possible fur-

ther action.

One Suggestion was that meetings

be held outside London, and seve-

ral of those present offered

accommodation. It was thought

that a survey of members would

indicate acceptable alternative

venues.                         PAC

9. ANSI X3J3 activities

(a) decision(s) taken                Decisions taken at the September

    at recent meetings               1974 meeting of X3J3 minutes of

8/11/74 (Appendix B) were consi-

dered. Also, brief details

of the January 1975 meeting were


The provisional schedule of ANSI

meetings was discussed and the

significant dates with regard to

the new standard are:

May 75 - Close letter ballot on


Oct. 75 - send to X3 for approval

Jan. 76 - release for public comment

July 76 - recommend for adoption.

(b) discussion on the                Mr. B. Shearing concluded his

    input-output                     presentation of the input-output

    proposals                        proposals with a description

of the new INQUIRE, BACKFILE and

SKIPFILE statements and the new

and changed format specification

codes for S, T, X, E, F, G and D,

as a result of which, some comments

were sent to X3J3 (see Appendix A).

10. Any Other Business               The chairman drew attention to the

following correspondince received:

The editor for the BCS Bulletin

Series 2 was requesting articles

of a general nature for publication,

it was hoped that 90% of members

would read 90% of the articles.

The General Purposes Committee and

Council have approved of exchange

of information between the BCS

Bulleting [sic] Series 2 and the CAD

specialist groups CAD Journal.

Entries for the John Player award

should be submitted as soon as


ll. Next Meeting                     The next meeting will be on

Monday 5th May, 1975 at 10.30 a.m.


From:   British Computer Society                          To: X3J3

Fortran Specialist Group

Date:   3rd April, 1975s

Subject:        Comments on Items Under Discussion

The following points arose at our meeting of 7th March, 1975

The comments relate to X3J3/61 Fortrev (75-01-27) and to the

decisions: taken at the September 1974 X3J3 meeting.

1.   Is it possible to use T1 or -nX format specifications

to allow overwriting of the printer control character

on an output record? Some doubt was expressed on

the grounds that the control character would have

been 'executed' before the T or X were encountered

on some systems.

2.   There was some doubts about the method used to

ensure that a sequence of files is positioned at

its initial point. which of REWIND, BACKFILE or

CLOSE/OPEN was the most suitable? A similar pro-

blem arises in positioning the sequence at the

terminal point (typically to read the whole sequence


3.   Is Backspace allowed on records which were written

sequentially to files containing mixed sequential

and free-field records?

Appendix B                                Addresses of Officers

Correspondence should be sent to one of the officers at the

addresses below:

Chairman        Mr.D.T.Muxworthy,

Program Library Unit,

University of Edinburgh,

18 Buccleuch Place,


Phone Edinburgh (031667)-1011

Vice-Chairman   Mr. E. O. Bodger,

World Trade Systems Aid Centre,

IBM United Kingdom Ltd.,

216-226 Imperial Drive,




Secretary       Mr. P. A. Clarke,

Computer Department,

Rothamsted Experimental Station,


Herts. AL5 2JQ

Phone: Harpenden (05827)-62271

Appendix C

Summary of Codasyl Fortran DBMLC Meetings

The first meeting (12th June, 1974 Boston, Mass.) was a

formative meeting at which the scope of study was determined.

In the second meeting (23-25th July 1974, Madison, Wis.)

tutorial discussions were given by Mr. W. Greenhalgh (Bell Labs.)

on DDL schema and by Mr. R. Drake (Honeywell) on DBTG DML. The

objective of developing a Fortran like syntax for DML compatible

with DBTG and SSTG was set.

In the third meeting (8-10th October, 1974, University Park,

Pennsylvania) working papers on the FIND statement were presented

and discussed. There were presentations by Dr. C. Smith

(Pennsylvania State University) on proposed changes in ANSI

Fortran, by Mr. B. Andrews (University Wisconsin) on ISIS, an

interactive shared information system, by Mr. T. Harris (Univac)

on Univac's proposed Fortran DML for DMS 1100 and by Mr. R. Drake

(Honeywell) on Fortran DML for OPEN and CLOSE statements.

At the fourth meeting (3-5th December, 1974, Phoenix,

Arizona) further working papers on the FIND statement were dis-

cussed and general expression types were proposed. Other

problems discussed included whether to use keyword or positional

notation, how to use character expressions and how to name

records, There was a presentation by Dr. J. M. Tyler (Luisiana

State University) on DL/1, a COBOL based DMS.