BRITISH COMPUTER SOCIETY - FORTRAN SPECIALIST GROUP
Minutes of meeting held at QMC Mile End Road on Monday 7 September 1981
Present: J D Wilson (Chairman) Leicester University
P A Clarke Rothamsted Experimental Station
M R Dolbear BP International ltd
J L Dyke HRC
E Gorczynski BP Research Centre
B Meek QEC
K Normington Coventry Polytechnic
M Nunn CCTA
T L van Raalte MOD
P J Wallis Bath University
1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies were received from D Vallance, D Muxworthy and G Harding.
2. MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING [1 June 1981]
Item 5.1.4 Appendix B was not the Fortran Specialist Group's annual
Item 7.2 For 'accord' read 'are wary of'.
3. MATTERS ARISING
3.1 ISO programming languages meeting
Brian Meek said that as a sponsoring body, a representative from the
Fortran Specialist Group would be welcome at the Monday meeting.
The Treasurer is still unavailable to complete the transfer of the
Continuing Action - J Roberts-Jones
Brian Meek acknowledge the favourable response of the BCS secretariat
to the letter of support written by the Fortran Specialist Group.
3.2 The Fortran Specialist Group Annual Report
John Wilson said in answer to a question by Mike Dolbear that the annual
report would accompany the current minutes. (See Appendix A of these minutes).
4. BCS BUSINESS
4.1 Specialist Groups Board
There will be a meeting of the Specialist Groups Board on 10 September
at 2 pm in BCS HQ.
4.2 Publicity for Fortran Specialist Group meetings
The absence from Computing a notice of the current meeting was mentioned.
In answer it was said that notice of the year's meetings is being sent to BCS
to ensure better circulation in future.
5. FORTRAN FORUM
The appropriate BCS board has not yet met to give official approval to
the event.i Replies made by John Wilson to BCS enquiries in June have not
elicited any unfavourable response.
Official confirmations from the Institute of Education for the booking
of the hall and for catering have been received. (The Jeffry Hall and Foyer
have been booked all day and Committee Rooms l and 2 for lunch, which will be
a buffet with wine. There will be an ohd projector).
Deposits are now needed. In the absence of the Treasurer, the Chairman
will if necessary, make alternative arrangements for payment and reclaim the
amount later. Action - J Wilson
David Muxworthy has made minor changes to the draft agenda dated
l9 August 1981. Mr Metcalf will not be available to give a user's viewpoint.
Brian Meek suggested Manchester as an alternative source of speaker, and
offered to contact Richard Field at URCC immediately.
Action - B Meek
John Wilson will approach Mike Ellis at Sheffield.
Action - J Wilson
It was agreed that the slot could be absorbed by ANSI speakers if necessary.
Alan Clarke suggested organising a literature stand displaying material
on Fortran standards and video-courses. Brian Meek recommended asking Dillon's
University Bookshop to supply this. John Wilson will check what effect this may
have on the arrangements with the Institute of Education.
Action - J Wilson
Alan Clark will approach Dillons. Action - P A Clark
The BCS will give a quarter page advert (and application form) in the
September 17 issue of Computing. Notifications have already gone to the Fortran
Specialist Group mailing list. John Wilson has contacted all British
Universities. More publicity is urgently needed and all concerned with Fortran
are urged to give the Forum as much publicity as possible.
6. X3J3 BUSINESS
6.1 X3J3 Meeting
The last X3J3 was reported as largely concerned with clarification.
The Obsolete Features and Array Processing Modules are to be called the
Transition and Scientific modules respectively. A likely form for Fortran 8X is
the core plus these two modules.
Jean Adams expects the Draft definition to be written next summer. In
reply to a question on other useful documents on F8X John Wilson said that
ANSI's intentions are not yet known. They may wish only the Draft to be given
Loren Meissner has produced a useful account of his expectations for F8X
in Weather Vane. Standing Document Sl has also been produced.
There is nothing further to report. Its present status in X3J3 is not known.
7. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
7.1 Peter Wallis, chairman of the BCS Software Engineering Group is working
on an Ada-to-Fortran conversion and would like to hear from anyone interested
in helping with the Fortran end. His address is Dr P J Wallis, School of Maths,
University of Bath, Claverton Downs, Bath, BA2 7AY
7.2 Mike Metcalf of CERN has written apologising for his absence from the
Fortran Forum, and asking for information on ICL, Univac and Burroughs
compilers for F77. Mike Dolbear may be able to help with Univac and
K Normington with Burroughs.
7.3 There is a Vector Processing seminar on 28 September to 2 October in
8. FUTURE MEETINGS
12 October Fortran Forum London
14 October Fortran Forum Edinburgh cg
30 November U.of Salford. Brian Shearing is to talk on
1 February BCS HQ
5 Apr BCS HQ
9. AFTERNOON SESSION
Professor Parkinson of QMC gave a talk entitled 'Parallel Processing -
what is it.'. Starting from the text that 'all computers are parallel but some
are more parallel than others' he developed a taxonomy of computer types :
serial, vector processors and processor arrays. Using this he made, inter alia,
1. Vector processors and processor arrays need different algorithms from
serial machines and from each other.
2. The choice of algorithm depends on the depth of parallelism provided
by the computer
3. Because programs represent algorithms rather than 'what one wants to
do efficient portability does not exist.
4. Data structures are crucial if the potential of parallel processing
is to be exploited.
5. The current extensive use of assembly language programs on parallel
machines suggests that users find existing compilers to be
6. One only gets 'value for money' from investment in parallel machines
if one is prepared to reprogram problems appropriately. If not then
just buy more serial power.
7. The floating-point speed is becoming less clearly a measure of machine
speed. Access to the pipeline: for example, can seriously degrade
8. There is need of much higher peripheral rates to match the power of
British Computer Society - FORTRAN Specialist Group
Annual Report for 1980/81
The Group met 5 times during the year, each time at BCS Headquarters,
with an average attendance of 17. The meetings followed the traditional
formula of a business/reporting session in the morning followed by a talk by
an invited speaker in the afternoon. The following is a list of speakers
Dr. B. Smith, Argonne National Labs., USA and ANSI X3J3 member
- Precision Proposals for FORTRAN 8X.
Dr. J. Larmouth, Salford University
- Portability of FORTRAN 77.
Dr. L. Meissner, Lawrence Berkeley Labs., USA and secretary of ANSI X3J3
- US Dept. of Energy FORTRAN language requirements.
S. J. Hague, NAG Central Office, Oxford
- Tools for Numerical Software Engineering.
Dr. A. Wilson, ICL and ANSI X3J3 ember
- Array Processing Proposals for FORTRAN 8X.
Contact has been maintained with the XJJ3 (Fortran) Committee Of ANSI.
Two members of the Group (B. Ford and D. Muxworthy) attended X3J3 meetings in
the States (at their own expense) and a proposal for a "conformity" or
"completeness" module was put to the Committee. This was favourably received
and is being developed.
A number of members of the group attend a Fortran Experts Meeting
organised by the ISO in Amsterdam in October 1980. Presentations were made
by A. Clarke, D. Muxworthy, J. Reid and L. Schoenfelder.
Plans are currently in hand for a FORTRAN FORUM to be held in London
on October 12th 1981 and in Edinburgh on October l6th l98l. It is hoped to
have presentations by a number of ANSI members who will report on the status
of the next Fortran standard.
J. D. Wilson
Chairman, BCS Fortran Specialist Group