BRITISH COMPUTER SOCIETY - FORTRAN SPECIALIST GROUP.
MINUTES of a Meeting held on Monday 5th February 1979 at BCS Headquarters.
P A Clarke (Chairman) Rothamsted Experimental Station
M J Appleford Ove Arup & Partners, London
R Bentley Institute of Oceanographic Sciences
M R Dolbear British Petroleum Co Ltd
D J Holmes Rolls Royce Ltd
J Jaworski British Broadcasting Corporation
B Meek Queen Elizabeth College, London
J Murchland University College, London
M Newton Open University
K Normington Lanchester Polytechnic, Coventry
T Sankey Institute of Oceanographic Sciences
A W Stewart Geisco
C Warner Open University
J D Wilson Leicester University
J M Roberts-Jones (Secretary) Liverpool City Council
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
P Loftus (Marconi Avionics) and D T Muxworthy (Edinburgh R C C)
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
The minutes of the meeting held on 2nd October 1978 were circulated and
FORTRAN FORUM 78 - ACCOUNTS:
The Secretary presented interim accounts; see appendix A. Registration
fees totalling £1009.34 had been paid by 91 delegates. There were 16 speakers
and panellists and 4 overseas observers; the total attendance was therefore 111.
Expenditure to date amounted to £461.64, so that there was an apparent surplus
of £547.90. Claims for expenses had not been received from some of the speakers
and the final surplus might thus be smaller.
A number of subsidies had been received. Many of the speakers had
declined to submit any claim for reimbursement of expenses. The organisers and
their employing organisations had contributed various services, including
printing and stationery, postages, use of equipment and secretarial assistance.
Because of the short notice at which the meeting was arranged, the BCS
Meetings Committee had not felt able either to approve or to disapprove the
event, and its status was therefore uncertain.
RESOLVED that the objects of expenditure as shown in the submitted interim
accounts.be approved, and that the Secretary be refunded the sum of £58.34 in
respect of petty cash payments.
The Secretary presented an estimate of the financial position at the end
of the current year. Apart from Fortran Forum, there was predicted expenditure,
on accommodation and postages, of £128 and predicted income, from subscriptions
and BCS grants, of £189. There would then be a deficit on the year's normal
transactions of £19 and the balance brought forward, £23.64, effectively
FORTRAN FORUM 78 - DISPOSAL OF SURPLUS:
There was prolonged and lively debate as to the purposes to which the
unexpectedly large surplus likely to result from Fortran Forum should be applied.
Murchland and Dolbear spoke of the need for the Group to maintain an
adequate working balance.
Meek could not agree that such a balance should represent several years'
gross expenditure. He urged that a reserve of at most £100-£150 be set up,
the remainder of the surplus being scent on promotion of the same ends to which
Fortran Forum had been directed. In particular, serious consideration should be
given to holding a second meeting in the North of England or in Scotland in
order to expose Fortran developments to a wider audience.
The Secretary reported that he had discussed with BCS Headquarters the
question of disposal of the surplus. The position was considerably confused by
the uncertainty as to whether BCS or FSG had staged the meeting, and by the fact
that BCS policy was currently changing. There was a real possibility that some,
or indeed all, of the surplus would be required to be surrendered to the
Specialist Groups Committee.
Clarke felt that the surplus should be used directly to further the
development of Fortran. The Group should provide some financial assistance to
U.K. observers at X3J3 meetings.
Meek reported that the BCS Standards Committee had been considering how to
achieve greater U.K. involvement with X3J3. It would be desirable to have a
U.K. delegate regularly attending meetings. This would clearly be welcomed by
X3J3, who wished to avoid any possibility of the United States drifting apart
from world opinion and were seeking to take (and to be seen to take) greater
account of views from other countries. But there were obvious difficulties.
Apart from the problem of finance, who could afford to devote a minimum of
five weeks a year?
There was some further discussion, mainly as to the qualities to be
required of a regular delegate. Wilson said that a most important function
would be in reporting back in order to assess U.K. reaction. Clarke felt that
it would he very important to avoid bias and that any delegate must be relied
upon to express the spectrum of views.
The Chairman summarised the sense of the meeting. There were several
potential uses for the surplus. Some could be held as a reserve. Meetings
outside London could be held. Financial assistance could be given on an ad-hoc
basis to U.K. observers at X3J3 meetings. A contribution could be made to any
fund that might be established to support a regular delegate to X3J3. It was
felt premature to make a decision until the position was clearer; and the views
of absent members should be sought.
APPOINTMENT OF TREASURER:
It was reported that the BCS rules for financial control were being
revised. Responsibility for the financial conduct of a Specialist Group would
vest in a Treasurer instead of in the Steering Committee.
RESOLVED that the requirement to appoint a Treasurer be noted.
REPORT ON ISO MEETING OF FORTRAN EXPERTS:
The Chairman described the format of the meeting. Submissions had been
made by various bodies, including ANSI, BSI, ECMA, and Dutch and Canadian groups.
In all there were three dozen working documents, some of them being quite
voluminous. It was believed that Loren Meissner was attempting a summary.
There was clearly a problem of acceptability of the core-plus-modules
approach, but X3J3 had rejected production of a technical report on this topic
as it would have caused some years' delay in development of the next standard.
It was essential that this Group should consider its attitude to the proposal as
soon as possible.
Of those present at the ISO meeting and at this meeting, three (Clarke,
Murchland, Wilson) were against the core-plus-modules proposal and one (Meek)
was in favour. Unfortunately there was insufficient time for discussion of
Alan Clarke gave a talk on experience at Rothamsted with the Codasyl
[The next meeting was held on 2 April 1979.]
INTERIM ACCOUNTS OF FORTRAN FORUM 78 AS AT 31ST JANUARY 1979.
** SUBJECT TO AUDIT **
55 BCS Members @ 9.26 509.30
36 Non-members @ 13.89 500.04
Purchase of Badges 10.14
Cash at Bank 644.25
Cash in hands of Secretary 15.00
Debtors (Registration fees unpaid) 45.00
Creditor - Imperial College (Accommodation) 45.00
Net Value Added Tax collected 53.01
Cash due to Secretary 58.34