Minutes of the BCS Fortran Specialist Group Meeting

held in R68 building CR13 at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory,

 Chilton, near Didcot on 25 October 1990

Present:  Miles Ellis            Oxford University

          Ikko Evans             Queen Mary & Westfield College

          E Golton               RAL

          Peter Holland          SSL

          Mike Nunn              CCTA

          M J Roth               AEA Technology

          John Stratford         Queen Mary & Westfield College

          Paul White             Met Office

          John Wilson            Leicester University

          John Young             PE-MOD


        Apologies for absence were received from Mike Geary, David

Holmes, Chris Lazou, David Muxworthy, John Reid, Les Russell and

Lawrie Schonfelder.


        The name of John Bruce should be added to the list of

apologies for absence for the meeting of 10 May 1990.

        David Muxworthy has written to the Secretary, John Young,

on the following point:-

        The report on the WG5 meeting of section 4 of the minutes
of 10 May 1990
lacks the important point that the two countries

that voted "no" agreed to change their vote to "yes" in the light

of changes to the document agreed at the meeting. I would

propose deleting the sentence "This is a sufficient .....

Standard" and adding instead "After changes agreed at the WG5

meeting these two countries agreed to change their votes to YES".

        The meeting accepted this amendment to the minutes.

        In the minutes of the meeting of 28 June 1990 in section 4

the sentence "The DISC processing of the Standard was just

starting." should read "The DIS processing of the Standard was

just starting".

        There being no other changes and following a decision taken

at the 10 May 1990 meeting the Chairman, John Wilson, signed

copies of the Minutes of the Meetings of 10 May and 28 June 1990.


        Scottish Sub-Group

        The Secretary had received a letter from the Sub-Group

Convenor, John Bruce, resigning from the post. John has offered

to continue until a successor is found. He also reported that

the meeting arranged at the Dundee College of Technology had

failed altogether. This was partly due to problems within the

local Dundee Branch of the BCS.

        The Chairman had received an e-mail from David Muxworthy

reporting on the Glasgow meeting held on 22 October 1990. Ian

Cheyne of Scottish Power and Jamie Reid of NEL gave two excellent

talks but regrettably only 9 people attended. The next meeting

for January/February 1991 will be about Fortran 90 compilers and


        Dynamic Strings in ISO Fortran

        E Golton requested a copy of this technical paper by Lawrie

Schonfelder and J S Morgan. The Chairman said that the paper had

been reviewed and refereed but that a copy was not yet available.


        The X3J3 representative, Miles Ellis, gave a general report

on the progress of the Fortran 90 Standard since May. There had

been a number of meetings during the summer but the two important

ones were the WG5 meeting in Rotterdam and the X3J3 meeting in

Oxford during August.

        As reported in the last minutes the May meeting of X3J3 had

passed the Standard to ISO and the DIS ballot was supposed to

start on 1 July 1990. For various reasons the DIS was not sent

out by ISO until 2 August 1990. Hence the DIS ballot ends on the

2 February 1991.

        The WG5 meeting in Rotterdam was mainly concerned with

editorial processing.  However, the meeting spent a long time on

the Forward Reference Issue.  This issue concerns whether a call

to an internal procedure within a procedure in Fortran should be

declared "up-front" making things easier for compiler writers.

There was disagreement over the extra compiling time required if

a statement like FORWARD was not included in the Standard varying

from 2% to 50%. In particular, manufacturers did not feel any

increase would make much difference. Straw votes in the

Rotterdam meeting were strongly against the inclusion of Forward

Referencing and it was clear that WG5 did not want this major ~

item. This change to the Standard would have to be done now or

not at all.

        For a second time WG5 operated as a technical committee with

its major work being editorial changes.

        The following week X3J3 met in Oxford. Again the Forward

Reference Issue was raised but again was not passed due to

insufficient support. X3J3 reviewed the list of editorial

changes made by WG5 and slightly changed it. The majority of the

time was taken up with the processing of letters from the second

public review and dealing with the complaints that the first

public review comments were not published by the time of the

second public review. Miles had formally proposed that just one

single letter be sent to people but was ruled out of order.

        Following the X3 decision to keep Fortran 77 as a separate

standard and to have Fortran 90 as an extended Fortran Standard

it was now theoretically possible with the publication of the

international Fortran 90 Standard for there to be three US

standards.  In fact, the wording of a formal announcement of the

new Standard by X3 as a news release guarantees that this

situation will arise.

        The US first (or third?) public review period of Fortran 90

ends on 19 December 1990 with the near certainty that the

National and International Standards will be different.  X3J3 are

very upset by this situation. However, the US is not likely to

have a different Fortran 90 Standard to the rest of the world and

it is X3's intention for it to be the same. SC22 had requested

that all countries withdraw Fortran 77 as the Standard but the

US will make Fortran 77 a US Archival Standard.

        In summarising, Miles stressed the following points:-

...     The Draft International Fortran 90 Standard is half-way

        through its six month ballot.

...     The WG5 meeting in March 1991 will review comments from the


...     All countries (except the US) should vote YES.

...     Any NO vote would be on editorial changes only.

...     The X3J3 meeting in April 1991 will complete the final

        Fortran 90 Standard document.

...     The International Standard is due to be published in Summer


...     The next X3J3 meeting is to be held during the week before

        Christmas 1990 and could be faced with a possibly

        significant list of changes from the US public review.

...     The UK may vote NO but did agree with WG5 list.

...     The BSI ballot was sent out without any changes.

...     It was proposed that the Group should endorse the BSI


...     The Fortran 90 Standard would be adopted as the British

        Standard in November.

...     The BSI position is that international standards should be

        developed internationally.

...     WG5 is to establish its position as the next Fortran

        Standards Committee.

...     X3J3 will have completed its task but could easily be re-

        convened if necessary.

        Any comments on the Fortran 90 standard should be sent to

the Chairman of the BSI Fortran Panel, David Muxworthy.

        The BSI initiative to transfer programming languages to DISC

has failed to "get off the ground". The BSI is seriously

considering that programming languages may be moved to another

body, for example, the BCS Fortran Specialist Group. The meeting

felt that if this situation did arise the Group would be in a

good position to cope with the extra responsibility.


        The convenor for the 21st Birthday Celebrations, Mike Nunn,

told the meeting that the decision to hold a Day meeting at

Imperial College was not possible as the room was only available

in the evenings. The brochures concerning the room availability

and dinner arrangements should have been circulated at the last

meeting. There followed a discussion on why the Group was

organising this meeting and who was likely to attend. The

meeting could not remember the rationale for proposing such a

celebration particularly as the Group had reviewed its first

twenty years with an excellent talk from David Muxworthy. It was

agreed that February 1991 was too close to organise the

celebrations and that it would have to be an extra meeting

anyway. It was far too late to book a key-note speaker even if

the Group had thought of somebody to invite.

        The meeting thought that 25th Birthday Celebrations would

be much more appropriate. On a straw vote 2 voted for, 4

against, and 4 abstained for continuing with the 21st Birthday



        The meeting endorsed the quarterly pattern of meetings

proposed for 1991 with the exception of the August meeting which

is moved to early September. It was decided to continue to meet

on a Thursday. With the move of BCS HQ still very uncertain the

venue of the November meeting was left undecided.

        The following meetings are planned for 1991:-

        Thursday, 7 February, 1991. BCS HQ.

        Compilers for Fortran (Tentative Title).

        Thursday, 16 May, 1991. BCS HQ.

        AGM at 2 pm followed by Report and Debate on Fortran 90.

        Thursday, 5 September, 1991.

        Proposed visit to Jodrell Bank.

        Thursday, 28 November 1991.

        Venue to be decided.


        Talk on FORCHECK by Erik Kruyt.

        The Chairman had received a letter from John Appleyard of

Polyhedron Software suggesting that the Group might like a talk

from Erik Kruyt on Forcheck. The meeting decided that as the

Group had several talks on similar packages in the recent past

that an extra meeting was not justified. It was suggested that

any member who was interested should attend the talk to be held

at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory on 6 December 1991.

        UNICOM Seminars Limited

        The Chairman, John Wilson, had received information from

Unicom who organise seminars of Information Technology topics and

enclosing details of various forthcoming events. Unicom invited

the Group to collaborate on a seminar to be called "The Visual

Computer: Designing, Visualising and Animating with Computer

Graphics". Unicom also requested an opportunity to distribute

leaflets to members.

        Fortran 90 by Michael Metcalf and John Reid.

        The Secretary, John Young, had received a request from

Oxford University Press to include a one page flyer in the

Group's next mailing for the book Fortran 90. It was pointed out

that this is not a new book but an update of Metcalf and Reid's

book "Fortran 8x explained". The meeting approved the flyer at

the usual cost of mailing to members.

        Achievements with Software Engineering

        The Chairman, John Wilson, had received notice about the

above free one day seminar to be held on 22 November 1990 and

organised by Salford University Business Services Limited and the


        Signatories to the Group's Bank Accounts

        The meeting resolved that the names of the authorised

signatories to its bank accounts should be changed to the names

of the current Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer.

        Specialist Groups' Management Committee

        John Wilson attended the recent Committee meeting and

summarised with the following points:-

(1)     There was no news of the move of HQ but BCS were still

        trying to sell the lease.

(2)     There was a lot of criticism of HQ facilities. Chris

        Maskens had been appointed temporary liaison office for

        Specialist Groups. He would be dealing with the Group's

        cheques and the Membership List.

(3)     A new Specialist Group for POPLOG and POP Languages called

        PLUG had been formed. A Group for Computers and Writing

        was being planned.

(4)     BCS is a founder member of CPEIS and is now attending




        The morning session concluded with a short tour of the Space

Data Centre hosted by the Treasurer, E Golton.

        The afternoon session consisted of three talks by RAL staff

followed by a tour of the Atlas Building, in particular, the

computing facilities. Dr T Daniels gave the introductory talk

followed by Dr J Gordon who gave a talk which included RAL's

approach to Parallel Processing. The final talk on Video Output

was by Dr C Osland who also showed the Atlas Video Facility

Demonstration Video tape. Details of the Atlas Vide Facility are

included as Appendix A.

John Young, Secretary

12 December 1990



The Atlas Video Facility allows SERC users - and those of other Research Councils - to gen-

erate animation sequences on normal videotape. As such, it replaces the film output facility

that used to be provided at the Atlas Centre. However, the technology by which the video

system is implemented means that many more facilities can be provided directly, such as

several sequences at different speeds - all from one original sequence.


The video system is now based on an Abekas A60 digital video disk - a standard broadcast

quality machine - which stores 30 seconds (750 frames) of video. Pictures are put onto the

disk by a Primagraphics computer which generates them from files sent to it by users. The

Primagraphics system contains a full broadcast quality, 24-bit framestore, genlocked to a

studio quality sync source; this allows all equipment to be interconnected without problems.

The Abekas may be used to record frames (25 per second in the UK) or fields (50 per second

in the UK).

The Abekas disk allows repeated sequences to be produced at normal speed, faster or slower

than normal, or even reversed. For instance, a cyclic sequence of pictures only needs to be

stored once and can be recorded onto videotape many times for convenient viewing.

The output from the Abekas disk is finally written to a Sony U-Matic Hi-Band SP recorder

under the control of a Lyon-lamb animation controller, which allows many different

sequences to be combined, with pinpoint accuracy, onto a single tape.

Users may take the Hi-Band U-Matic SP master tapes or master tapes made on Lo-Band

U-Matic or VHS formats if they prefer. Direct output from the Abekas disk to other formats

(one inch, Betacam, D2) is possible if the relevant recorder can be brought to RAL.


All the software for the video system has been developed by the Atlas Centre. Most users

send files to the Atlas Video Facility in ISO Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM) format.

Alternatively, pictures may be sent in raster form; this is appropriate when producing com-

plex pictures with shading and ray-traced images.

The video system software controls the production of pictures in the Primagraphics com-

puters framestore and the transfer of these to the Abekas disk. When a sequence is complete

in the Abekas, the software then simultaneously instructs the Abekas to play it back and the

Lyon-Lamb animation controller to record it onto videotape.


In many cases, users require not just a single sequence, but a set of sequences. together with

captions, titles and possibly soundtrack and musical background and/or effects. Where the

demands are quite simple - for instance, some title frames and a spoken commentary, this can

be done within the Atlas Centre. For more complex editing - such as some of the effects seen

on the sample videotape - we are able to use the Hi-Band editing suite in RAl_'s

Reprographics section.

                                   ATLAS VIDEO FACILITY

                           DEMONSTRATION VIDEOTAPE

This tape shows a number of sequences                          CRANKSHAFT LUBRICATION

produced by users of the Atlas Video Facility

over the last year.  All sequences were prod-                  This pilot sequence was_produced by Dr. Jack

uced on the facility apart from the opening                    Fendley and others at King's College, London.

sequence - recorded off air from a BBC-tv                       It shows the pressure profile in the oil of a

transmission - and the short sequence from                   crankshaft bearing.  The output was produced

"The Conquest of Form" by William Latham.                 in CGM format on a VAX computer and sent

Most Sequences were produced by Computer               to Atlas on a magnetic tape. This video was

Graphics Metafiles (CGMs) and some from                   also shown at Kings College Open Days

raster files; one (the Indian Ocean Triple                         earlier this year.

Junction) was produced directly by the video       

system computer itself.                                                     INDIAN OCEAN FLOOR

                                                                                             This sequence shows a simulated flight

FRAM - oceanographic modelling                                  around the ocean floor at a junction of three

                                                                                              tectonic plates in the Indian Ocean. The data

The first two sequences were produced by                    for the pictures was collected by GLORIA, a

programs developed at the Atlas Centre from               submersible sidescan sonar system operated

code provided by the FRAM (Fine Resolution              by the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences

Antarctic Model) Project, organized by                         Deacon Laboratory. The data was collated

NERC. They show a view of the whole area                 by Tim Le Bas of IOS and the video was

covered by the model and a close-up of the                 made directly by a program running in the

Agulhas Current region. CGMS were prod-                 video system computer. This sequence was

uced on the Silicon Graphics IRIS. The final                 first seen at the international Oceanology

two sequences show the equivalence between             Conference in March and has been seen at

a polar and a Mercator projection and a tran-               many conferences and exhibitions since.

script from a session on the Silicon Graphics

IRIS; all are used by the Open University in                UGAMP - atmospheric modelling

their new Oceanography course.                                    This sequence describes a number of simu-

                                                                                              lations of how CFCs might disperse in a gen-

FLUID DYNAMICS                                                          eral atmospheric model. The programming

                                                                                             was done Simon Cooper of the UGAMP

These two sequences show the flow of water               (UK Universities Global Atmospheric

into a semi-closed container and the inter-                   Modelling Project) and the main code was run

action between a wave and static water on a                on Cray supercomputers at London and Atlas.

seashore. The program was written by Siebe               The resulting data was processed to produce

Jorna of St. Andrews University and run on                 CGMs on a Sun workstation at Atlas.

the Silicon Graphics IRIS at the Atlas Centre

to produce CGMs. He wanted to produce                    WILLIAM LATHAM

sequences that could be used in a Fluid

Dynamicsccourse and so the models are sim-              William Latham's sculptures are designed by

ple and the animation slow.                                             him on the IBM 3090 at the Atlas Centre,

                                                                                             where he does much of his work. The final,

TABLE LAYOUT                                                               fully rendered frames are then produced at

                                                                                            Atlas and put onto video tape here or at the

This very simple sequence was produced by               IBM Scientific Centre at Winchester.

Prof F R A Hopgood on a Sun workstation                  William's second film "The Evolution of

using SUNPHIGS. Qutput from the Sun, in                Form" won first prize for technical innovation

CGM format, was sent straight to the video               at this year's IMAGINA competition in

system where it was made into a video tape               Monte Carlo. An exhibition of his films and

in about four minutes.                                                     electronic sculptures is currently at the

                                                                                            Natural History Museum in London.