Minutes of BCS Fortran Specialist Group Meeting held at

                         BCS HQ On 29 June 1989

Present:        Arul Britto                Cambridge University

                David Butland              Bradford University Software Services

                Martin Counihan            University of Southampton

                Adam Dawson                Bradford University Software Services

                Miles Ellis                University of Oxford

                Dave Griffiths             SSF

                Mike Gunn                  University of Surrey

                Carol Hewlett              LSE

                Peter Holland              SSL

                M Jackson                  Met Office College

                Chris Lazou                ULCC

                Les Russell                AWE

                Paul White                 Met Office

                John Wilson                University of Leicester

                Rick Woods                 University of Surrey

                John Young                 PE-MOD


      Apologies for absence were received from Mike Nunn and David


      The Chairman, John Wilson, apologised for the late start of

the meeting.

2.    MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING [20 April 1989]

      The Secretary, John Young, apologised to the meeting for the

non-receipt by members of the minutes of the last meeting. This

was due to printing problems at BCS HQ exacerbated by the recent

British Rail strikes. (Secretary's note: On receipt of the

minutes the following members contacted me about the lateness of

posting - Alan Wilson, David Hill, and Brian Meek).

      BCS Business

      The Vice Chairman, Chris Lazou, corrected the item about the

Software Engineering Technical Committee in that it was not

winding up but considering its future role.

      The Chairman, John Wilson, added that the Software

Engineering Specialist Group had formally closed (see item 6).


      Scottish Sub-Group

      There was nothing to report on the Scottish Sub-Group but

there had been problems in contacting the members in Scotland.

      Financial Matters

      The Treasurer, Miles Ellis, drew the meeting's attention to

both the Provisional Accounts for 1988-89 (Appendix A1 [of the April 1989

minutes]) which were presented at the last meeting and to the Final

Accounts for 1988-89 (Appendix A2).

      The main difference was a further list of charges from BCS

on the Final Account which took the account over-budget. Even

though BCS HQ were slow in presenting these costs it was

considered that the Specialist Group's Executive was doing a good

job in difficult circumstances.

      It was noted that the speaker for the January meeting was

not paid his expenses until June due to various problems within

the Group and at BCS HQ. (Secretary's note: A formal apology has

been sent to Graham Barber).

      Miles Ellis then outlined his role as Treasurer of the

Group. The Group's account had now been centralised within the

BCS. For a small Group this centralisation creates more

paperwork but larger Specialist Groups may benefit. At the

present time VAT was still the responsibility of the Groups but

BCS still had to sort out the way it handled VAT. Generally,

Specialist Group Treasurers were being given more work by BCS

and, in particular, there was likely to be an increase in the

handling of VAT.

      Miles Ellis asked the meeting to approve an "honorarium" for

a person, part-time, to look after the Group's VAT on a routine

basis. There then followed a general discussion of what incurred

VAT or not, particularly within educational establishments.

      The motion was then placed before the meeting that the

Treasurer, Miles Ellis, will pay a small honorarium for

completing the Group's VAT return. The motion was approved with

the sum to be decided at the next meeting.

      As there were no questions for the Treasurer, the Chairman,

John Wilson, thanked Miles for his work.

      Dates of Meetings

      The following dates were set with the probable subjects for

the afternoon sessions.

      Thursday, 26 October, 1989        Expert Systems

      Thursday, 25 January, 1990        Parallel Processing

      Thursday, 5 April, 1990           AGM & 20th Birthday


      Thursday, 28 June, 1990

      There followed a discussion on the form of the 20th Birthday

Celebrations. It was agreed that the Group could subsidise the

cost of the celebrations. The meeting was undecided whether

there should be a luncheon, dinner, or even a separate venue.

       Any Other Business

        The Secretary, John Young, apologised for not yet writing

to X3J3 or to the Netherlands Fortran Group.


      The X3J3 Representative, Miles Ellis, summarised John Reid's

report of the X3J3 meeting in New York.

[The report appended to these minutes is of the subsequent X3J3
meeting in Vienna.]

      It had been a very busy meeting. X3J3 were obliged to reply

to every comment made during the last public review period.

These replies were finished during the week with a customised

response. There had also been a large number of editorial fixes

made to the new Draft Standard.

      The problem with characters and multi-byte character sets

had yet to be fixed in the Standard. It had been decided that

the default set would be A-Z and that there would be a user

defined set. WG5 had suggested that all programming languages

should have facilities for multi-byte character sets. The use

of multi-byte characters in Fortran was not yet finalised but

probably would be during the next public review period of the


      Martin Counihan asked about control characters in character

strings. Fortran was sloppy in its definition of control

characters often treating them as ordinary characters. Also

there was a distinct difference between control characters and

graphics characters. The whole issue was "fuzzy-edged".

      Miles Ellis then expanded on Bill Rinehuls role within ANSI

and his attendance at X3J3. He then commented on the ANSI/ISO

link; it was still possible that ISO will pass the current Draft

document and that ANSI will change this document and produce a

different Standard following the public review period.

      Chris Lazou asked whether there were any major changes.

Miles Ellis replied that there were none but obviously both X3

and ISO could remedy any major alterations.

     The Chairman, John Wilson, then announced that the X3 public

review period for the new Fortran Standard would be 4 months from

28 July to 24 November 1989. The ISO public review period had

yet to be announced but would be within the X3 time.

5.    FORTRAN FORUM 1989

      The meeting discussed the form of the 1989 Forum and decided

that there would be 2 venues - one in Central London and one in

Scotland probably Glasgow or Edinburgh. With the announcement

of the public review period for the new Fortran Standard it was

decided that the Forum would be held in the last week of

September. It was undecided whether BISL would be involved but

they would be approached. The most expensive item would be the

copying of the Standard document.

      It was resolved to form a Working Group to organise the

Forum and would consist of John Wilson, Chris Lazou, Miles Ellis,

and Martin Counihan.

     Miles Ellis would contact speakers for the Forum when he

attended the WG5 meeting at Ispra and the X3J3 meeting in Vienna.

(Secretary's note: See Forum details enclosed).


      Specialist Groups Management Committee

      The Chairman, John Wilson, reported on the recent meeting.

The following is a summary of the items covered.

        (i) The Software Engineering Specialist Group had been

        closed (or "laid down") even though they met twice a year

        and had a membership of 600.

        (ii) The following Specialist Groups have been formed:

                (a) Safety-related Computer Systems

                (b) Hardware

                (c) Software Re-use

        (iii) There was no further news on:

                (a) the move of BCS HQ out of London

                (b) Chartered Engineer status

        (iv) There was a request for nominations for the grade of

        Distinguished Fellow.

      Technical Committee

     It was reported that a proposal on standards for Quality

Management and Computer Software was a joint activity by BCS with



      In the afternoon, the convenor of the Fortran on PC's sub-

group, Mike Gunn, presented his review of the Fortran compilers '

for PC's for which he had collected information during the past

year. These were Microsoft 4.1, LAHEY, WATCOM, SALFORD 386, and

PROSPERO F77. He said most Fortran compilers for PC's seemed to

be reasonable but to beware of those costing $100.

      Mike Gunn then introduced the following who spoke on their

experiences with Fortran on PC's:- Rick Woods on Microsoft 4.1,

Carol Hewlett, Arul Britto with Micro-CRISP, David Butland with

Simpleplot, and Miles Ellis on using Prospero Fortran for his new

book. It is hoped to include summaries of these talks as

Appendices in a later mailing.

John Young, Secretary

17 August 1989

                                Appendix A

To: Fortran Forum, BCS, NAG, etc.

From: John Reid

Date: 21st August 1989

Subject: X3J3 meeting in Vienna

Note: This is a personal note on the meeting and in no sense
does it constitute an official record of it.

1. Summary

This was a gentle meeting, a welcome contrast to the two previous

meetings. There were no late-night sessions (even of subgroups), it

was possible to read all the documents as they appeared, and we

adjourned on Friday morning. The meeting was not as well-attended as

usual, but a majority of the membership was present allowing

corrections to S8 to be approved. These corrections will be

accumulated in a new standing document, S18.

2. Ispra meeting of WG5

The ISO Fortran Working Group met during the previous week at

Ispra. Its principal conclusions were:

1. Acceptance of S8 as the second draft proposed standard DPl539.

2. Recommendation that the ISO ballot close on January 19 to permit

X3J3 to receive comments from the public and form a recommendation on

the US vote at the January meeting of X3J3.

3. Despite a wish for technical changes, a strong request to X3J3 to

limit changes to the correction of errors and inconsistencies, in the

interest of timely adoption of the new Fortran standard.

4. An intention that DP1539 become the sole international Fortran

standard and that there be no subsets.

5. A request to establish an ISO project for the development of a

varying-character module as a collateral standard.

6. A request to X3J3 to remove the feature that allows arbitrary

character sets in identifiers, to avoid possible incompatibility with

other standards under development.

3. Fortran 77 as a subset or a separate standard

Bill Leonard (Harris) wrote directly to X3 requesting that Fortran 77

be retained as a collateral standard, and this was considered by SPARC

(Standards Planning and Requirements Committee) in the week prior to

the X3J3 meeting. X3J3 was not consulted by SPARC nor formally told of

its conclusion, which was a recommendation by a vote of 13-1 to

continue Fortran 77 (without changes) as a standard and change Fortran

8x to becoming a new standard rather than a revision. X3J3 did not

understand the implications of this recommendation and it effectively

dampened discussion of subsetting. Jeanne Adams will make

enquiries. She thought that it might not be a big issue - the

intention may be to continue Fortran 77 for a little while and then

let it die. I kept quiet because this is really American business, but

it seems totally at variance with last year's directive from X3 that

the US support a single Fortran standard.

4. Arbitrary character sets in identifiers

A straw vote (21-5-5) favoured removal of the feature that allows

arbitrary characters in identifiers, but no formal motion was made

because no such proposal was in the pre-meeting distribution and it

was felt that more members should participate in such a decision. The

Japanese observer said that that there was no support for this feature

in the Japanese Fortran Group. At the WG5 meeting, there was little

support from the countries that might be expected to benefit.

5. Namelist data

An ambiguity in NAMELIST data was identified, illustrated by the record

        &WHAT A= AA BB B= cc /

and the declarations

        CHARACTER(LEN=2) A(4),B


Does the record give 4 values to A or 2 to A and one to B? Andy

Johnson suggested requiring character values to be delimited and this

was favoured (18-4-11) but no formal proposal was made because it was

felt that further consideration was needed.

6. Public comment period

The ANSI public comment period runs from 27 July to 24 November.
Copies of S8 will be available from

        Global Engineering,

        2805 McGaw,


        Ca 92714,


        Phones: (800)854-7179 (US), (714)261-1455 (International),

                        (714)261-7892 (Fax).

Copies will be available within the UK from the BCS Fortran Group at a

price of about £15.

The November meeting of X3J3 has been postponed to January 7-12 to

allow time for the comments to be distributed to members

beforehand. ISO WG5 has recommended that the ISO ballot close on

January l9 to allow X3J3 to decide on the US vote at its January

meeting. It is worrying that some X3J3 members are determined to use

the comments as a kind of opinion poll, giving equal weight to a

pro-forma letter as to a carefully researched opinion from a group of

people. There is little we non-Americans can do to counter this ~ our

letters will probably (and rightly) be excluded when forming the US

vote. Nevertheless. X3J3 remains the technical committee that has

been delegated the responsibility for preparing the Standard, so do

write in with your opinion and in particular let the Committee know of

any errors or technical flaws that you find. The address is

        Fortran Public Review - attention Lynn Barra,

        X3 Secretariat / CBEMA,

        311 First St N.W., Suite 500,

        Washington DC, 20001-2178,


The UK vote in the ISO ballot will be made on the recommendation of a

BS1 panel chaired by David Muxworthy. The BSC Fortran Group will be

holding a Forum in London on 27 September and in Edinburgh either the

day before or the day after. Opinions expressed at these meetings will

be taken into account by the BSI panel.

7. Future X3J3 meetings

It was decided that the next meeting should be in October and should

formally be considered as a continuation of the Vienna meeting, but it

was later changed to an ad hoc meeting following an objection by Dick

Weaver (IBM). The meeting will be in Boulder, Colorado, October

16-20. It is needed in order to work on errors in S8 prior to the

January meeting which will be dominated by consideration of public

comments. The next regular meeting will be Richardson, Texas, January


8. Metcalf and Reid

Mike Metcalf and I have revised our book to correspond to the second

draft standard and have taken the opportunity to add a few more

explanations, examples, and exercises. It is a little longer than the

first edition and will be published in UK on 7 September in paper-back

at £12.50 and in USA later in September at $22.50.