Minutes of BCS Fortran Specialist Group Meeting held at

          the University of Oxford's Computing Teaching Centre,

                59 George Street, Oxford on 20 April 1989

Present:    John Appleyard       Polyhedron Software

            Martin Counihan      Southampton University

            John Dyke            Huntingdon Research Centre

            Miles Ellis          Oxford University

            E Golton             RAL

            Dave Griffiths       SSF

            Les Hatton           Programming Research Ltd

            Carol Hewlett        LSE

            Peter Holland        SSL

            Mike Nunn            CCTA

            Les Russell          AWE

            Paul White           Met Office

            John Wilson          Leicester University

            John Young           PE-MOD


      Apologies for absence were received from:

            Mike Geary           NAG

            Anne Gooding         Air Products plc

            Mike Gunn            University of Surrey

            Valerie Harmer       University of Surrey

            Chris Lazou          ULCC

            R I McLeod           NEL

            Brian Meek           Goldsmiths College

            David Muxworthy      University of Edinburgh

            John Reid            Harwell

            Lawrie Schonfelder   Liverpool University

            Dave Vallance        Salford University


      The Treasurer, Miles Ellis, who is also the Director of the

CTC welcomed the Group to the Centre. He first presented the

Fire Drill regulations, then announced that coffee was available

free, courtesy of the Centre, and described the luncheon

arrangements. He also invited members to look around the

building if they so wished.

      The Chairman, John Wilson, then reviewed the plans for the

afternoon programme. These were a demonstration of FLINT by Les

Hatton who had yet to arrive, an informal talk by the Secretary,

John Young, and a conducted tour of CTC by Miles Ellis. John

Wilson then asked the Group if there was any other business to

be discussed at the end of the meeting.

      It was noted that a number of London members of the Group

were attending the meeting in spite of the strike on the London



      The Chairman, John Wilson, commented on the Programming

Research Ltd flier on FLINT. He said that the Group was prepared

to support products like FLINT providing that the advertising was

not overtly commercial. The FLINT flier (and the SALFORD 386

Fortran compiler flier) for which the companies paid the Group's

mailing costs seemed to be about right in presentation and the

companies seemed to be happy with the arrangements. The flier

for the Fortran Questionnaire for Diane Meehan of Liverpool

University was included free of charge.


      Fortran Compilers on PC's

      The Sub-Group convener, Mike Gunn, was unable to be present

at the meeting due to a prior commitment in another part of

Oxford. He had hoped to prepare a short summary of the

information he now holds but sent apologies to the meeting via

Carol Hewlett for not having had the time. He was able to report

that there are about 8 reviews, a couple of manuals, the list of

verified compilers, and some compiler manufacturer's literature.

The Chairman, John Wilson, suggested that Mike might be able to

report his work at the next meeting. (Secretary's note: Mike

Gunn is prepared to present his summary to the Group at the June


      The IUSC and CHEST evaluation of Fortran Compilers had been

completed without any single compiler fulfilling all the

requirements. John Wilson had received a message from Lawrie

Burbridge at Bristol University giving details of three compilers

that came closest but for one reason or another could not be

recommended as the sole Fortran compiler for University use. The

three compilers are the Ryan McFarland (RM), the Prospero (PRO),

and the Salford 386 Fortran Compilers. John Wilson stressed that

these recommendations were for the Academic community only.

      There followed a general discussion on Fortran Compilers on

PC's with some time spent on the problems caused by a lack of

space on PC's.

      Scottish Sub-Group

      The Secretary, John Young, reported that he had formally

written to John Bruce. He had no further news to report.

      Fortran Forum

      The Chairman, John Wilson, led a discussion on when and

where this year's Forum should be held. It was agreed that it

would have to be held within the final review period of the

Fortran 88 Standard which was likely to be for two months. This

Forum would be the last for the current standard and its main

task would be to seek approval for Fortran 88. It is also hoped

that there could.be some time for discussion of the new standard.

      It was decided that there would be two venues for the Forum

- one in London and one in Scotland. It would be useful to hold

them within days of each other and to publicise them jointly.

If the Forum was held in early to late September a University

could be an appropriate venue. The Group would organise the

venue for the London meeting and it was hoped that the Scottish

Sub-Group could organise the meeting in Scotland.


      Miles Ellis, being the sole representative of the X3J3

members, reported on the meeting in Stanford. He updated John

Reid's report which was circulated to members in March as

Appendix A to the last set of minutes. He described how the

procedures of X3J3 had been completely changed at the last two

meetings. X3J3 had laid aside their normal way of working in the

face of pressure from WG5 (and X3) to get the new draft of

Fortran 8x ready in the timescale wanted by WG5. X3J3 had felt

there was too little time to get the draft ready but had adapted

to the circumstances. The latest draft of S8 now had a two

colour, red and green, cover to symbolise the unity of X3J3 and

WG5 on the new standard.

      Commenting on John Reid's report and item 4 Miles Ellis said

that nonadvancing input/output was X3J3's way of describing

stream i/o. This feature needed to be defined in a watertight

way. He also pointed out that item 5 Structures in COMMON and

EQUIVALENCE the derived data types in COMMON equivalencing would

be a "non-portable" feature.

      Miles Ellis then went on to report the result of the X3J3

informal letter ballot on forwarding the latest draft of S8, and

also the result of the WG5 informal ballot. In the X3J3 vote

there were 31 yes, 11 no, and 2 abstentions with computer vendors

split about 50/50. He also reported that the IBM representative

had done a complete "U-turn" and voted yes. In fact, IBM had

decided to support the new standard because of its concern over

the possibility of multiple Fortran standards worldwide and had

requested X3J3 to circulate its letter explaining the reasons for

its yes vote. The X3J3 vote gives the necessary two-thirds

majority for acceptance of the current draft to be the basis of

the new standard. In the WG5 vote, 9 countries presented votes

which were all yes.

      Miles Ellis then said that at the next meeting of X3J3 in

May there would be a final ballot for the approval of the final

draft. This then passes to X3 for approval to be followed by,

probably, a two month public review period. (See Appendix C).

      There followed a general discussion of various points

raised. The meeting felt that the form of POINTERS needed to be

decided. There was worry about unbounded pointers, in particular

that they cannot be optimised. E Golton said that the X3J3's

proposal on pointers was clever but felt that a pointer should

always point to a specific object. He felt that the main use of

pointers would be as a dynamic arrays facility. The meeting was

told that array constructor symbols square brackets [,] would

be an alternative to (/,/) which would now be the standard. The

problems with character handling in more than one byte of

computer storage had yet to be resolved. The meeting noted that

X3J3 had not yet accepted the new standard as Fortran 88 but

still uses 8x. It was also noted that deprecated features had

a lifetime of 10 years.

      The meeting then speculated on the publication of the first

Fortran 88 working compiler. It was felt that the first

compilers would, of necessity, be Fortran 77 compilers with

Fortran 88 as an enhancement and would probably be on betatest

by mid-1990. It was felt that it could be several years before

the first true Fortran 88 compiler would be written.


      John Wilson reported that he had been unable to attend the

recent Specialist Group's Management Committee meetings and

therefore had nothing to report. He also reported that the Vice

Chairman, Chris Lazou, had attended a recent meeting of the

Technical Committee which was considering winding up.

      The Secretary, John Young, reported that he has received two

memos from BCS concerning the Branches and Specialists Groups.

It was noted that advertising space in Computing and Computer

Weekly is free on a first-come first-served basis.

      (It was decided to break for lunch at this point and to

reconvene the meeting in the afternoon for the AGM).


      Chairman's Address

      The Chairman, John Wilson, reviewed the Group's past year.

There had been four meetings all held at BCS HQ with an average

attendance of 18. The topics covered included ADA, the Fortran

88 Debate, Toolpack, the Salford 386 compiler, and Post-

processors. The significant development of the year was the

formation of the Fortran on PC's and Scottish sub-groups.

Looking forward he said the Group needed to work towards the

Fortran Forum and to set the dates of the meetings for the coming

year with subjects. Looking back he said David Muxworthy had

informed him that the Group was formed in 1970 and had sent a

copy of the initial meeting's minutes. These were read out to

the meeting and discussed. (Secretary's note: it was discovered

after the meeting that Peter Holland was at this first meeting).

      Turning to this year's programme it was decided that next

year's AGM would be followed by an informal celebration of 20

years of the Group with, perhaps, a speaker from the original

Group. It was also likely that it would be time to celebrate the

completion of the new Standard Fortran F88.

      Treasurer's Report

      The Treasurer, Miles Ellis, presented his interim statement

of accounts. He explained that the Group has an Internal and

External Account: the Internal Account is used to cover costs

incurred within the BCS and the External Account was money that

the Group used for normal income and expenditure. The interim

statement of accounts is Appendix A1 and the final statement of

accounts is Appendix A2.

      Election of Officers

      There being no nominations for the four posts of Chairman,

Vice-Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer and the present Committee

being prepared to serve again they were duly elected.

            Chairman        -   John Wilson

            Vice-Chairman   -   Chris Lazou

            Secretary       -   John Young

            Treasurer       -   Miles Ellis

      Any Other Business

      It was decided that the Group's membership of X3J3 which had

lapsed would now be terminated.

      The Netherlands Fortran Group which regularly receives the

Group's minutes had written to ask whether the Group would like

to receive their minutes. The meeting decided that they would.


      Demonstration of FLINT

      The Managing Director of Programming Research Ltd., Les

Hatton, had set up a demonstration of FLINT on a SUN computer in

the University of Oxford's Computing Department. He was able to

demonstrate the capabilities of the FLINT package for the static

analysis of Fortran programs. He showed that "bugs" which are

undetectable by normal compilation methods could be found in any

amount of Fortran code.

      Secretary's Informal Talk

      This talk was cancelled due to the over-running of the AGM

and the time taken to walk from the CTC to the Computing

Department for the FLINT demonstration.

      Conducted Tour of the CTC

Miles Ellis showed two members of the Group around the CTC

and described the main functions of the Centre.

John Young, Secretary

16 June 1989

                              Appendix A1

            British Computer Society Fortran Specialist Group

                      Provisional Accounts 1988-89

A)   Internal Account

600  Budget Allocation for 1988-89                               600.00

          Minutes    (July)      60.31
                     (Sept)      87.99
                     (Jan)       52.55
214                                          200.85
 43       Catering   (July)                   12.50
          Expenses   (Sept)      16.40
                     (Jan)      182.30

 26                                          198.70
300                                          412.05             (412.05)

300                    Surplus returned to HQ                    187.95

B)   Current Account

     Balance at 30/4/88                                         2014.11

 10       Subscriptions         110.00
 80       Advertising           200.00
          Via HQ                 22.25
          Transfer from Gold    100.00

          Transfer to Gold A/C 2000.00
          Sec's Expenses         24.30
          WG5 rep. to X3J3
                  (contribution) 100.00
                  Nett deficit              1692.05            (1692.05)

     Provisional Balance at 30/4/89                              322.06

C)   Gold Account

     Balance at 30/4/89                                          NIL

          Transfer from
          Current A/C           2000.00
            Transfer to
            Current A/C          100.00
            Nett Surplus        1900.00                         1900.00

     Provisional Balance at 30/4/89                             1900.00

2014 PROVISIONAL TOTAL ASSETS AT 3O/4/89                        2222.06

T. M. R. Ellis
18th April 1989

                          Appendix A2

                   British Computer Society
                   Fortran Specialist Group

                    Final Accounts 1988-89

A)   Internal Account

600  Budget Allocation for 1988-89                               600.00

          (July)            12.50
          (Oct)             25.00
          (Jan)             25.00
 43                                     62.50

          (July)            60.31
          (Sept)            87.99
          (Jan)             52.55
          (Mar)            115.99
          (Apr)             42.63
214                                    359.47

     Speakers' Expenses
          (Sept)            16.40
          (Jan)            182.30
26                                     198.70

300                                                              620.67

300  Surplus returned to HQ/(Deficit)                            (20.67)

B)   Current Account

373  Balance at 30/4/88                                         2014.11

10        Subs.               110.00
          Via HQ               22.25
1028      From Gold a/c       100.00

1668                                   232.25

           To Gold a/c       2000.00
27         Secy's Expenses     28.65
           WG5 rep. to X3J3
           (contribution)     100.00


1641 Excess of income over expenditure                         (1896.40)

2014 Balance at 30/4/89                                          117.71

C)   Gold Account

962  Balance at 30/4/89                                            NIL

          From curr. a/c     2000.00
66        Interest            180.50


1028      To current a/c      100.00

(962) Excess of income over expenditure                         2080.50

 0   Balance at 30/4/89                                         2080.50

2014 TOTAL GROUP ASSETS AT 30/4/89                              2198.21

Note that comparative figures for 1987/88 refer to Lloyds bank deposit
account and not to Gold account. The deposit account was closed at the
end of 1987/88 and the balance transferred to the current account. At
the beginning of 1988/89 £2000 was placed in the (high-interest) Gold
T. M. R. Ellis
Hon. Treasurer
11th June, 1989.

                         [There is no Appendix B]

                              Appendix C

To: Fortran Forum, BCS, NAG, etc.

From: John Reid

Date: 24th May 1989

Subject: X3J3 meeting in New York

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

constitute an official record of it.

1. Summary

This meeting followed a letter ballot of all X3J3 members on

forwarding the draft standard to X3, which passed 31-1 1-2 (see

Section 2 for further details). It was a gruelling meeting; on two

days, we had additional evening (8-10 p.m.) sessions in full

committee, several subgroups met after the evening party at our host's

house, and many individuals wrote up proposals in the small hours. The

Chairman set the objective of processing all the ballots and

pre-meeting documents (with priority to those voting NO, in the

hope of achieving closer consensus), and agreeing responses to the 462

letters received from the public comment period. Vast numbers of

editorial changes and bug fixes were approved. I summarize the more

significant ones in section 3. The Chairman's ruling on limiting

discussion to such items held well; the only exception was in

connection with character handling (Section 4), for which there were

extenuating circumstances. A roll-call vote near the end of the

meeting approved (33-12) forwarding the revised document.

Because of the NO votes and because a straw vote of X3J3 favoured a

4-month review period (because the changes are so extensive), a vote

of X3 will be needed before preceding to public comment. It was

suggested that this might be taken at the June 20-21 meeting of X3,

rather than by letter ballot which is the usual procedure. The comment

period should commence a few weeks after this.

2. X3J3 letter ballot

A letter ballot on forwarding S8.111 was held prior to the

meeting. There were 31 YES votes, 11 NO votes, and 2 did not

vote. The following voted NO:- Allison (Microsoft), Katz (DOD),

Lammers (Cray), Leonard (Harris), Marusak (Los Alamos), O'Gara

(Supercomputer Systems), Philips (Boeing), Rolison (Unisys), P. Smith

(Convex), Whitlock (DEC), and Yan (Data General). In most cases, the

predominant reason given was the size and complexity of the

language. There was also criticism of the state of S8 following the

large number of recent changes, the use of % for structure

qualification, lack of a BIT data type, and the presence of module

procedures. This time, Weaver (IBM) voted YES, because of overriding

concern that there be one new worldwide Fortran standard.

All those voting NO in the letter ballot also voted NO in the

roll-call vote at the end of the meeting; in addition, Lahey (Lahey)

voted NO instead of not voting. All those voting YES in the letter

ballot also voted YES in the roll-call vote, except for one absentee;

in addition, two new members voted YES as did one member whose letter

ballot was mislaid.

3. Bug fixes

The following bug fixes are of note:-

1. Undefined allocatable arrays. Because of implementation

difficulties, it was decided that automatic deallocation of an

allocatable array (on return from the scoping unit in which it

declared or on a return that leaves no executing procedure accessing

the module in which it was declared) be replaced by its allocation

status becoming undefined. An undefined allocatable array must not be

allocated, deallocated, referenced, or defined. My personal view is

that this fix is abhorrent. A far better solution (safer and simpler)

would be for module data always to be saved, but the Chairman viewed

this as breaking her guidelines.

2. Pointers in COMMON and EQUIVALENCE. It was confirmed that pointers

are permitted in COMMON but not in EQUIVALENCE.

3. Non-default character constants. It was decided that nondefault

character constants should have their kind parameters at the

front. This is inconsistent with the other types, but having them at

the rear leads to severe parsing problems.

4. Recursive entries. It was decided to regularize procedures defined

by ENTRY statements. The syntax has been extended to allow a RESULT

clause and they are now permitted to be called recursively directly as

well as indirectly.

5. IMPLICIT NONE. It was decided to make it more apparent that

IMPLICIT NONE must precede PARAMETER statements.

6. ALLOCATABLE, POINTER, and TARGET statements have been added to

complete the set of statements for specifying attributes.

7. Zero-sized objects. Zero-sized objects are now permitted to be

initialized, so that they can appear throughout the language.

8. Pointer functions. Function results, like dummy arguments, may be


4. Character handling

Dick Weaver and Miles Ellis both attended a special ISO meeting on

character handling. This was called because the ISO world has become

increasingly concerned with the problems of multiple character sets in

programming languages, especially where one of these requires more

than one byte per character. The ISO meeting came to the firm

recommendation that programming languages should address these

problems. X3J3 therefore made the following changes to S8:-

1. The set of letters available for identifiers is 'user-defined',

that is, the processor must provide a means for the specification to

be supplied and must accept it. The default set of letters is A-Z and

any user-specified set must include the default set.

2. The processor-defined character set, available for use in character

contexts, consists of 'graphic' characters and 'control'

characters. In free source form, control characters are not allowed in

character contexts; in fixed source form, the processor may restrict

the use of some or all of the control characters.

5. Responses to public comments

Responding to all the public comments was a massive undertaking. 6713

items were identified in 462 letters. Each commentor will receive a

cover letter, a summary of the recurring themes (as seen by the

subgroup heads), a summary of the major changes, an annotated copy of

his or her letter, and listings of the relevant replies from the

Committee's database.

6. Address by Bill Rinehuls

Bill Rinehuls, Chairman of SPARC (Standards Planning and Requirements

Committee), attended for two days of the meeting. He explained to the

Committee that, as a result of the letter ballot, consensus had been

reached and that the decision at the end of the meeting would be

between forwarding S8 as it was at the beginning of the meeting or

forwarding the version with all the changes made during the

meeting. This interpretation did not seem to be acceptable to those

voting NO in the letter ballot; they all continued to vote NO, and I

really cannot believe that they preferred to earlier version of S8. He

also said that X3J3 can continue to make changes after forwarding

the document, and make their incorporation a condition of the US ISO

vote, so the need for further editorial polishing was not a reason for


He explained that the extent of complaints that X3 has received about

X3J3 and the detailed management that has been imposed are both

unprecedented. X3 has required detailed reports from each meeting, has

instructed that processing be completed by this meeting and that there

be one national and international standard.

7. Next meeting of WG5

The next meeting of WG5 will be in Ispra, 10-14 July.

8. Next meeting of X3J3

The next meeting of X3J3 will be in Vienna, 17-21 July. The deadline

for the pre-meeting distribution is 12 June.


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