Minutes of BCS Fortran Specialist Group Meeting held at

BCS HQ on 19 January 1989

Present:        Graham Barber        -        EPCL

                Martin Counihan      -        Southampton University

                E Golton             -        RAL

                Anne Gooding         -        Air Products plc

                Dave Griffiths       -        SSF

                Valerie Harmer       -        University of Surrey

                Bob Hatfield         -        Nottingham University

                Les Hatton           -        Programming Research Ltd

                Carol Hewlett        -        LSE

                Peter Holland        -        SSL

                Chris Lazou          -        ULCC

                Clive Massey         -        Bath University

                David Muxworthy      -        University of Edinburgh

                Mike Nunn            -        CCTA

                Shahzad Rahban       -        Queen Mary College

                Les Russell          -        AWE

                John Stratford       -        Queen Mary College

                Paul White           -        Met Office

                John Wilson          -        Leicester University

                John Young           -        PE-MOD


        Apologies for absence were received from Mike Geary, Lawrie

Schonfelder, Mike Gunn, and Miles Ellis.

2.      MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING [6 October 1988]

        On item 2 the National Information Software Service (NISS)

does not look at compilers but only acts as an information

providing service.

        On page 4 the ISO Observer at X3J3 was Gerhard Schmitt not



        Fortran Compilers on PC's.

        The Secretary, John Young, reported that Mike Gunn had

acquired the NCC's list of certified compilers. Mike Gunn has

also written to companies who advertise Fortran compilers for

PC's and, so far, has received only two replies. With the

current interest it was felt that this response was

disappointing. John Young said that due to other commitments he

was unable to support Mike Gunn on this sub-group but would still

act as a "clearing-house" for any information. An appeal was

made for another member of the Group to assist Mike Gunn and

Carol Hewlett said that she would be available to help.

        The IUSC and CHEST evaluation of Fortran compilers was under

way and the Chairman, John Wilson, had received a mail message

from Laurie Burbridge of Bristol University. John Wilson and

Lawrie Schonfelder were included in the CHEST list of interested

parties and there had been a meeting in December 1988.

        ISO Observer at X3J3.

        The Group's support of Gerhard Schmitt's attendance at the

X3J3 in Boston has been acknowledged by letters of thanks from

Gerhard Schmitt himself, his superior, and Jeanne Martin the

Chair of WG5. Reports suggest that Gerhard Schmitt's presence

in Boston did influence the successful outcome of the X3J3

meeting even though he did not give a formal presentation.

4.      REPORT FROM X3J3

        Boston Meeting November 1988.

        In the absence of the X3J3 representative, Miles Ellis, the

Chairman, John Wilson, led a discussion on the X3J3 meeting in

Boston based on the report from John Reid (Appendix B [of the previous
) and Brian Meek's article in Datalink dated 9 January 1989.
John Wilson read extracts from the article and these are summarised as


        1.      Internal Procedures.

                WG5 removed this facility due to US pressure but X3J3

                wanted it restored. Unlikely to cause any


        2.      Vector Subscripts.

                Again WG5 removed this facility to satisfy US comments

                so its restoration by X3J3 would not cause any


        3.      DO n TIMES

                X3J3 voted for a DO .... WHILE facility but not a major

                issue for WG5.

        4.      Parameterized KIND=LOGICAL

                X3J3 wanted to exclude this statement but WG5 felt it

                had to be included. Possible area of conflict here.

        5.      Stream I/O

                X3J3 have done little work on this subject but WG5

                strongly urged it to be included. No real disagreement

                here but possible delay while details are worked out.

        6.      Pointers

                X3J3 wanted unbounded pointers which provide more

                flexibility but would require more work. WG5 wanted

                bounded pointers which are relatively simple to define.

                There followed a general discussion on these points within

                the Group.

        BSI Fortran Panel.

        The Chairman of the Panel, David Muxworthy, had been delayed

by fog so again John Wilson led a discussion of the meeting held

on 9 January 1989. The Fortran Panel met to discuss a WG5

Informal Ballot which contained 9 questions concerning a

country's response to the new Fortran 88 proposals. The Group

discussed the questions and answers on the Ballot and felt that

the replies, in general, reflected the feelings of the Group.

John Wilson was unhappy about the questionnaire but the Group

felt that the items should be accepted with reservation. The

Vice Chairman, Chris Lazou, proposed that the Ballot be endorsed

as a positive statement of the British view of Fortran 88.

        David Muxworthy arrived in time for the afternoon session

so the meeting continued with this item before he presented his

talk. He again went through the WG5 questionnaire and clarified

some of the points raised earlier. It was reported that the

Alvey/Salford University Group would test fragments of Fortran

from the S8 draft and that the IST5 Programming Languages Panels

which included Fortran were to be re-structured. The BSI Panel

had also discussed whether the NCC should provide a validation

suite of programs for Fortran 88. David Muxworthy said that the

Informal Letter Ballot stressed that there should be no more

delays. The Panel was also recommending accepting Bounded

Pointers rather than Unbounded.

        David Muxworthy then drew the Group's attention to the fact

that the VALUES= statement on a READ statement had been voted

out by X3J3 but apparently had not been reported. It had also

been proposed to remove BOZ from KIND= for LOGICAL and that

Stream I/O would be a minimal set of functions. Chris Lazou

again stated that he thought the Panel had been very positive and

that the new standard Fortran 88 should be published as soon as


        Martin Counihan asked where he could obtain SC22 papers such

as those listed in Appendix B top of page 4. John Wilson replied

that he thought they should be obtained through Jeanne Martin,

the Chair of WG5, or perhaps through members of WG5. He added

that WG5 Working Papers were not published and were not


        There followed a short discussion on Significant Blanks in

the Free Source Form.

[A report on the subsequent X3J3 meeting is in Appendix A.]


        Fortran 88 Seminar - East Kilbride

        Since the last meeting of the Group, the Glasgow branch of

the BCS has arranged and held a one-day seminar at the National

Engineering Laboratory. The speakers from the Group were David

Muxworthy and Lawrie Schonfelder and the seminar was organised

by John Bruce, Glasgow Branch's Public Relations Officer. John

Bruce reports that "the event was a great success with an

attendance of 110. NEL staff comprised more than half as 44 were

from Universities and Industry". John Bruce said that David

Muxworthy and Lawrie Schonfelder spoke with authority and

presented Fortran 88 in a positive way.

        It was suggested at the Seminar that a sub-group of the

Fortran Specialist Group be set up taking in all four Scottish

Branches of the BCS. Monthly meetings would rotate around

Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. There would be a

Secretary/Organiser of the sub-group which would operate under

the main Group. The frequency and format of the meetings had yet

to be decided.

        The meeting endorsed the actions of the Glasgow Branch and,

in particular, John Bruce, who was commended for his work on the

Seminar. It was unanimously agreed that every support should be

given to this new sub-group and, if necessary, the Group would

seek extra funds from BCS to finance any extra costs. Initially,

it was felt that there was sufficient funds to meet any demands

from the new sub-group and that any request made could be met.

        Evening_and Tutorial Meetings

        The Vice Chairman, Chris Lazou apologised to the Group for

not being able to arrange an evening meeting on Fortran in

London. The Group gave the go-ahead to anybody who wished to

organise an evening meeting or a tutorial meeting to do so. It

was felt that time and place were not too important as long as

the Fortran 88 message was put across.

        Fortran Forum

        With the present time-table for the publication of the new

standard Fortran 88 there will be another public review period

of about three months in late Summer 1989. The WG5 timescale of

publication of the new standard at their meeting in Italy in

July 1989 had already slipped. The meeting felt that another

Fortran Forum should be held to coincide with the public review

period to discuss and approve the final document of the standard pd

as well as some tutorials on the new features.

        The venue for a Forum would be a problem at such short

notice but as it would probably be in the Summer holidays a

University could accommodate the required numbers. It was

suggested that either London or Liverpool might be appropriate

locations. It was proposed that a sub-group be formed with the

task of organising a Forum and, perhaps, liaising with BISL.


        Presidential Visits

        The Chairman, John Wilson, has received a letter from the

Specialists Group's'Technical Co-ordinator, Tony Sale, requesting

that this year's BCS President, Brian Oakley, be invited to an

ordinary meeting of the Group. It was decided that as the Group

met during the day, the Group's business was positively ordinary,

and that there are at least 40 other Groups as well as all the

Branches to visit, the President would not be formally invited

to attend a Fortran Group meeting.

        Involvement in Standards

        The Chairman, John Wilson, had nothing to report on his

approach to BCS seeking regular funding for attendance at WG5.

Apparently, the Group cannot use its usual grant but could

possibly use the profit from the Fortran Forums. John Wilson has

been told that there is a BCS special purposes fund but he could

not find out who operated it.

        Technical Committee for Standards

        The Vice-Chairman, Chris Lazou, has joined the Software

Engineering Technical Committee which is to provide support for

Specialist Groups. The terms of reference for the new Committee

are still to be finalised.

        Specialist Group's Management Committee

        The Chairman, John Wilson, attended the meeting which took

place on 2 November 1988. He reported on the following matters:

        (a)     The new Secretary had resigned.

        (b)     The next printing of the BCS Handbook would be in

                September 1989. All updates are to be in by May 1989.

        (c)     There are 3 new Specialist Groups

                  (i)  CASE: Computer Assisted Systems Engineering

                 (ii)  GIS: Geographical Information Systems

                (iii)  SQM: Software Quality Management

        (d)     There had been two meetings held for Specialist Group

                Treasurers. The BCS now have a centralised accounting

                system which is being used by Branches but Specialist

                Groups can opt out if they so wish.

        (e)     Mature members' applications for Chartered Engineer are

                being processed very slowly. Unless the process is

                speeded up it may be some years before some mature

                members obtain CE.


        Fortran Journal

        A new Fortran publication called Fortran Journal described

as "The Journal for the Fortran User Community" has been

launched. The new Journal contains news items and has

advertising, software exchange, and the subscription includes

membership of the Fortran Users Group. Published in the USA the

editors are Walt Brainerd and Charles Ritz.

        Programming Research Ltd Flier

        The Managing Director of Programming' Research Ltd, Les

Hatton, requested that a one page flier on FLINT - a

comprehensive FORTRAN engineering toolset - be included in the

next mailing to members of the Group. This was approved with the

proviso of including the Group's standard disclaimer on

commercial products.

        WG5 Meeting in Italy

        The next meeting of the International Standards

Organisation's Fortran Standards Committee WG5 is to be held at

Ispra in Italy from 10-14 July 1989. Anybody wishing to attend

this meeting should give their name to David Muxworthy by



        The next meeting of the Group will take place on Thursday,

20 April 1989, in Oxford. The morning session will include the

AGM and the afternoon programme has yet to be arranged.

        The meeting will be held in Oxford University's Computing

Teaching Centre at 59 George Street, Oxford by kind invitation

of the Treasurer, Miles Ellis.

        The following meeting will be on Thursday, 29 June 1989, at

BCS HQ. This meeting will consider any items needed to

presented to WG5 in Italy.

John Young


11 April 1989

Appendix A

To: Fortran Forum, BCS, NAG, etc.

From: John Reid

Date: 27th February 1989

Subject: X3J3 meeting in Stanford

Note: This is a personal note on the meeting and in no sense does it

constitute an official record of it.

[Note: This appendix was written after the meeting of 19 January 1989

but was included in the minutes of that meeting.]

1. Summary

The Chairman announced on the first day that her aim was to complete

consideration of all technical issues during the week, so that the

next meeting could focus on edits, bug fixes, and agreeing responses

to comments from the public. This aim was achieved. A letter ballot on

forwarding the document will now be held, and if this is successful,

proposals for changing the draft will be limited at the next meeting

to edits and bug fixes that are mentioned in the ballots. Her ruling

to this effect was accepted unanimously.

The result of the Chairman's informal letter ballot was 28-12-6, so it

looks as if the necessary two-thirds majority vote will be achieved in

the coming letter ballot (with a small margin). The principal reason

given for a no vote was the size and complexity of the language.

The result of the WG5 Convenor's informal ballot was favourable (7-0

by countries and 27-2 by individuals).

The major technical changes made at the meeting were:

1.  Add pointers as a data attribute (retaining allocatable arrays).

2.  Parameterize LOGICAL (without BIT properties).

3.  Add nonadvancing i/o (formerly called stream i/o).

4.  Allow structures in COMMON and EQUIVALENCE.

5.  Limit the intrinsics permitted in data initializations and

    KIND specifications.

6.  Alter the rules on argument association of arrays to permit

    new arrays to correspond to old dummy arrays.

7.  Extend the DATA statement to array sections and derived types.

8.  Add intrinsic functions FLOOR, CEILING, and MODULO.

Some of the votes were nail-bitingly close (see details below). The

effect is that action has been taken on all the major differences

between S8 and the plan P2 of WG5, but two significant differences

have been introduced: structures in COMMON and no BIT arrays. The WG5

Convenor is hopeful that WG5 will accept these changes, so plans to

ballot WG5 on a document that is identical to S8 except for the cover,

title pages, foreword, headers and footers, and change marks.

It looks hopeful that identical ISO and ANSI draft standards may be

issued for comment after the May meeting of X3J3.

2. Pointers

At the previous meeting, X3J3 adopted the addition of a pointer type

and explicit de-referencing for accessing pointer targets. However,

the availability of text and further clarification of the issues led

to some people changing their minds and straw votes indicated that it

was unlikely to get the support necessary for adoption, whereas the

WG5 proposal might. The WG5 proposal was changed so that pointers are

initially undefined and only become disassociated when the NULLIFY

statement or a suitable pointer assignment statement is executed, and

was adopted (25-12).

There was concern that users needing simple allocatable arrays would

need to understand pointers.  Therefore, allocatable arrays were

restored (30-4), now without the ability to use them as dummy

arguments or function results. There may be advantages for

optimization since an allocatable array may be declared without the

TARGET attribute and this will prevent pointer access to it.

3. Parameterized LOGICAL

The parameterization of LOGICAL without any BIT connotations was

adopted (30-8). There is no requirement for LOGICAL (KIND=l) to be

represented as a single bit, though this is a possible

implementation. Note that this results in a uniformity among the

intrinsic types, all of which now have a KIND type parameter.

4. Nonadvancing input/output

For what had somewhat erroneously become known as stream i/o, the

Committee indicated in early straw votes that it preferred a facility

based on i/o statements to the use of intrinsic subroutines. It was

felt that there should be a form of the READ and WRITE statements that

does not automatically cause an advance to the start of the next

record. For lack of a better term, it was called 'nonadvancing' i/o. A

strong desire was also expressed (by me and others) for a means of

reading as many characters as the record contains and finding out how

many this is. The facility was refined by active subgroup work and was

eventually adopted unanimously. It involves only formatted sequential

access to an external file and the maintenance of a pointer to the

current character in the current record. It is specified by

ADVANCE='NO' and the number of characters processed is returned by an

optional NCHARS= specifier.

There is no longer a need for PROMPT=, so this was deleted.

5. Structures in COMMON and EQUIVALENCE

By exactly the same marginal vote as for pointers (25-12), a facility

that permits structures in COMMON and EQUIVALENCE was adopted. It

involves a new keyword, SEQUENCE, within a type definition. Separate

type definitions specify the same type if they have the SEQUENCE

property, have the same name, and have components that agree in order,

name, type, type parameters, and shape. A sequenced structure may

appear in COMMON or EQUIVALENCE, and may be storage associated with

another structure of the same type. If all the components ultimately

resolve into default numeric or default logical type, they must be

laid out in storage as in a COMMON block and the usual storage

associations are available (and similarly for default character).

6. Restricted constant expressions

It was decided to introduce a new category of constant expression, for

use in  data initializations and KIND specifications but not in CASE

statements. It reduces the number of intrinsic functions permitted and

(presumably) makes evaluation at compile time easier, but the rules

will be hard for the user to remember. An intrinsic function reference

is permitted when

1. the arguments are restricted constant expressions of type integer

   or character, the result is of type integer or character, and the

   function is not DOTPRODUCT, MATMUL, an array reduction function

   such as ALL, an array construction function such as PACK, an array

   manipulation function such as CSHIFT, nor an array location

   function such as MAXLOC;

2. the arguments are restricted constant expressions and the function

   is RESHAPE; and

3. the function is an inquiry function and each argument is either a

   restricted constant expression or a variable whose type parameters

   or bounds inquired about are restricted constant expressions.

The motion was accepted (29-3) as a compromise towards those who want

a smaller and simpler language.

7. Argument association of arrays

Tom Aird of IMSL drew my attention to a problem with the argument

association of arrays. Many library codes use assumed-shape arrays;

under the old rules for argument association, these would not have

been permitted to be called with actual arguments that were array

sections, array expressions, or assumed-shape arrays. Also simply

adding an explicit interface for the sake of argument checking would

not have been permitted.

My proposed change allows sequence association with an explicit

interface and says that sequence association always takes place for

explicit-shape and assumed-size dummy arrays. The natural

implementation is for such arrays always to be stored contiguously,

which means that copy-in copy-out will be needed if the actual

argument is a discontiguous array. This led to some opposition, but I

pointed out that it will occur only in the transitional phase when new

arrays are being passed to old dummy arrays and will not occur for

existing programs.

Two snags were pointed out by the subgroup: a copy-in should not be

made for an actual argument that is an array element when the dummy

argument is a scalar, and resolution of overloads requires rank

agreement. I therefore added the requirement of rank agreement when

the actual argument is an element of a possibly discontiguous array

and for a generic call. The proposal was accepted (28-10).

8. Additional obsolescent features

None of my suggestions for additional obsolescent features was

accepted. I found it quite extraordinary that only 3 people supported

making obsolescent the calling of an external procedure without

declaring it in as EXTERNAL statement or an interface block, since

declaration in an EXTERNAL statement was recommended on page B-13 of

the Fortran 77 standard and is needed for upward compatibility of

Fortran 77 programs (see page 1-2 of S8). The whole concept of

language evolution appears to be rejected by a majority of X3J3. The

most favoured proposal in straw votes was the H-edit descriptor but

this failed (15-19) in a formal vote.

9. Minor changes

The following minor changes were made:

1.  If a COMMON block appears in a module, allow objects in the block

    to be declared PRIVATE, so that they are inaccessible via USE

    statements (though still available through COMMON).

2.  Rename the ARRAY attribute as DIMENSION.

3.  Add EXTERNAL and INTRINSIC as attributes that may be included in a

    type declaration statement.

4.  Require agreement in type and type parameters of the elements of

    an array constructor.

5.  Allow the declaration of any sort of array in a DIMENSION

    statement or attribute.

6.  Extend the DATA statement to array sections and derived types.

7.  Add intrinsic functions FLOOR (the integer just less than the

    argument, for example FLOOR(3.7) = 3 and FLOOR(-3.7) = -4),

    CEILING (the integer just greater than the argument), and MODULO

    (mathematical modulo function, for example MODULO(8,5) = 3 and

    MODULO(-8,5) = 2).

8.  Allow DATA statements among the specification statements, provided

    an array that appears in a DATA statement has its array properties

    established in a previous declaration statement.

9.  Allow statement functions to appear among the specification


10. Remove DATA attribute (simply allow initialization without the

    need to specify DATA in a type declaration statement).

11. Extend DATA statement to array sections and derived types.

12. Replace the argument MOLD that gives a template for the KIND type

    parameter of the result of many intrinsics by the argument KIND

    that specifies the KIND parameter directly.

13. In the intrinsic DATA_AND_TIME, change 'Greenwich Mean Time' to

'Coordinated Universal Time' and require that all values returned

    refer to the same instant in time.

14. The intrinsic REAL for a single complex argument takes the kind

    parameter value of the argument.

15. Ensure that the right-hand side of a defined assignment is always

    treated as an expression.

16. Require the argument MOLD of RESHAPE to have constant size, and

    rename it as SHAPE.

17. Allow zero-sized objects in COMMON.

The following proposals were not accepted (votes are not given where

straw votes were so unfavourable that the proposal was not moved


1.  Restore the FORALL statement.

2.  Replace % by . for structure component selection.

3.  Delete module procedures (10-29).

4.  Add one-argument SIGN function (11-16).

5.  Add intrinsic NUM_KINDS that returns the number of kinds and add

    optional argument N to KIND to specify the N-th kind (22-12).

6.  Allow the value 60 for argument SECOND of DATE_AND_TIME (17-16).

7.  Allow RETURN in a main program (10-25).

8.  Convert PACK and UNPACK to subroutines (9-21).

9.  Language name should be Fortran 88 (11-17).

10. Allow more than one SAVE for an object (4-25).

11. Restore part of the VALUES= facility.

12. Lessen the restriction on the position of IMPLICIT statements


13. Add CPU_TIME intrinsic (21-13).

10. Appreciation of longstanding memberships

It was decided to request that CBEMA send letters of appreciation to

Jeanne Adams, Neldon Marshall, Lloyd Campbell, Walt Brainerd, Jim

Matheny, and Rich Ragan, who have all been members since 1976. This

was expected to be Jim's last meeting and he was given a standing


11. Next meeting of X3J3

The next meeting of X3J3 will be in New York, 8-12 May. The deadline

for the pre-meeting distribution is 3 April.

Appendix B


Abstract of the talk given by David Muxworthy, Edinburgh University
Computing Service

The term "Fortran preprocessor" is most commonly taken to mean a

program which translates a program written in an extended Fortran

language including control structures, and possibly omitting more

primitive standard Fortran ones, into compilable Fortran for a

particular implementation. Such preprocessors appeared mainly in the

early to mid-1970s following IBM's embracing structured programming

techniques as part of its Chief Programmer Team software development

technique; over 60 such preprocessors have been mentioned in the

literature.  Well known names include IFTRAN, MORTRAN, RATFOR and

SHELTRAN (marketed as FORTRESS).

Ten years earlier automatic translators from Fortran II to IV had

established the precedent of programs, themselves written largely in

Fortran, to read and write Fortran source. Many other tools to

manipulate Fortran source and either print information about it or

output a transformed version have appeared.  Examples include the


1. Translators

        SIFT - Fortran II to Fortran IV (Datamation March 1963 pp 43-46)

        Dialect to dialect

        Fortran to Fortran optimizer (1973)

        Fortran to other languages (Algol, PL/I)

        Other languages to Fortran

2. Analyzers and Documentors

        Syntax checkers (PFORT 1974)

        Frequency counters (UCL 1972)

        Structure analyzers

        Path analyzers (DAVE 1976)

        Linkage analyzers

        Source tidiers (DCE263 1968)


        Concordance generators

3. Program generators

        Part program generators

          Common/Equivalence Builder (1971)

          Recursive Fortran (1975)

          SHORTRAN (1976)

        Structured Fortran preprocessors

          RATFOR (1975)

          SHELTRAN (1975)

        Macro processors

          FORMAPRO (1971)

        Portable Fortran

          PFortran (1975)

        Master source systems

          PSTAT (1975)

          NAG (1976)

Appendix C





[The 36 slides used in this talk have not yet been digitized.]