Minutes of the Meeting of the BCS Fortran Specialist Group

       held at BCS, 13 Mansfield Street, London on 6 February 1992

Present:        Tim Bartle         Salford Software

                Carol Hewlett      LSE

                Peter Holland      SSL

                Ramesh Krishna     Met Office

                Chris Lazou        University of London

                Zohair Maany       NAG

                Mike Nunn          CCTA

                Mike Roth          AEA Technology

                Nick Saville       Private Consultant

                Neil Smith         DRA Bedford

                Paul Wardle        Met Office

                John Wilson        Leicester University

                John Young         PE-MOD

l.      WELCOME

        Due to the late arrival of the Chairman, Mike Roth, the

Vice-Chairman, Chris Lazou, took the chair. He opened the

meeting by welcoming everyone and thanking them for coming.


        Apologies for absence were received from Martin Counihan,

Mike Geary, E Golton, David Muxworthy, John Reid, Lawrie

Schonfelder and Dave Vallance.


        The Secretary, John Young, explained to the meeting the

reasons for the minutes being presented out of order and

apologised for not being able to complete the minutes of the last

meeting of 28 November 1991 in time.


        The problems over the mailing for Salford Software Marketing

Ltd still had not been satisfactorily resolved. The

questionnaire which was sent to organisations and firms enquiring

what their future plans were for Fortran 90 compilers,

introduction of Fortran 90 features, Fortran 90 tools etc in the

autumn had been completed. Three replies had been received and

the results were printed in Computing on 6 February 1992. A copy

of the text appears in Appendix A.


        Regrettably, no X3J3 representative was present at the

meeting. It was noted that Miles Ellis who normally made the

report had recently changed his job. It was suggested that,

perhaps, a report could be sent to the meeting if Miles was

unable to attend. The Secretary, John Young, reviewed Miles'

report given to the meeting on 28 November 1991 and it was agreed

that little had happened since then. It was not known whether

the ANSI Ballot had been completed and whether there was now an

American Fortran 90 Standard.

David Muxworthy sent a brief report on WG5 activities. He

requested that people wanting to attend the WG5 in July in

Victoria, British Columbia get in touch with him. John Wilson

said that he had no further news.


        A copy of the draft constitution for the Group had been

circulated to members. The Chairman, Mike Roth, opened the

discussion by asking the meeting whether, firstly, the Group

wanted its own constitution, and secondly, were there any major

changes to be made to the details. After a short general

discussion the meeting agreed that it would be useful to have a

constitution for the Group and then proceeded to detailed


        Mike had appended a series of questions to the draft and

these were dealt with by the meeting. It was agreed that the

Treasurer was responsible for the Group's finances and should be

submitting financial statements to the BCS. It was also felt

that the Treasurer should be responsible for the collection of

annual subscriptions from the Group's non-BCS members. The

representative on the Specialist Groups Management Committee

should be the Chairman with power to send to a substitute. It

was agreed that presently a Management Committee was not

necessary as this was the function of the Group's ordinary


        The proposal to create extra posts was not accepted by the

meeting as the jobs were currently done by the existing

committee. All officers are to resign and seek re-election at

each AGM. The Chairman is responsible for the policies and plans

of the Group and for reporting its activities. There was a query

on who are corporate or sustaining members but it was thought

that these would have the same rights as ordinary members. It

was thought that the number of members necessary to call an EGM

should be 7, the same number as required for a quorum at an AGM.

There was also a discussion on who should be signatories to

cheques on the Group's accounts and it was agreed that the

current rules would apply. [Secretary's note: See minutes of the

meeting of 25 October 1990].

        It was noted on the draft constitution that the numbering

of the items was not sequential. The Chairman, Mike Roth, said

he thought this was due to the computer system used to create they

document. He would ensure that the numbering was correct on the

revised document to be presented at the AGM. The major

correction to be made was to item 8h. The first sentence should

read "Every proposal at an AGM shall be decided by a majority of

the members present".


        Specialist Groups Management Committee

        The Secretary, John Young, had attended the December SGMC

meeting which proved rather acrimonious and vociferous with the

larger specialist groups leading the way. The new Chairman,

Brian Oakley, apologised to members for what had happened at BCS

citing the recession, the computer purchase and the HQ move to

Swindon being the main reasons for the BCS problems. He

confirmed that the bank charges would not be borne by specialist

groups. There was going to be a real problem on finding meeting

rooms and it was suggested that groups should get together. The

Chairman then announced that there was to be a special meeting

of the specialist groups on the current financial problems. It

was also announced that the service level agreements were

postponed. BCS HQ required that it holds all specialist groups'

membership lists but it had yet to work out the necessary


        The meeting then elected Russell Winder of HCI and John

Mitchell of Computer Audit to be the specialist groups management

committee's representatives on the BCS Council.

        The main item of the meeting was a report from A1ine

Cumming, Head of Education, on Information Systems Engineering.

The item on Membership Grades was postponed. Several new

specialist groups were then proposed. A questionnaire to

specialist groups about their external links was distributed.

        Annual General Meeting

        The Secretary, John Young, had attended the BCS Annual

General Meeting on 9 January. He reported on the main items of

business which had already been circulated to members of BCS.

The major items which are likely to affect the Group were the

staff reductions, the loss of 13 Mansfield Street for meetings

and the freezing of the Gold Account. The problems of Chartered

Engineer status was also discussed.

        Request from Rome

        An organisation in Italy thought to be connected with the

EEC had written to the Chairman, Mike Roth, about names and

addresses of Fortran Users in the UK. The meeting agreed that

the Group's Membership List was not relevant and that a reply was

to be sent that such a list did not exist.

        Unicom Seminars

        The Vice-Chairman, Chris Lazou, reported that he had agreed

to write an Industry Report on Fortran & C and development tools

by Unicom Seminars. The meeting thought that this request had

already been passed around a number of members of the Group.

Chris asked the meeting whether the Group would be prepared to

sponsor the Report which involved just adding its name with no

money involved. The benefits included members' discount, peer

review payments and 2: user survey. The meeting agreed, in

principle, to this request provided a disclaimer was included.

Any suggestions to be sent direct to Chris.

        Training Courses

        The Secretary, John Young, had received a request for

information about Training Courses in Fortran. The Group offered

the names and addresses of several companies which could provide

the kind of tuition that was required.

        Chairman's Expenses

        Whilst no member of the Group could receive payment for

working for the Fortran Group the meeting felt that legitimate

expenses, in particular, travelling costs, could be paid for from

Group funds.


        It was confirmed that the Annual General Meeting of the

Group would be held on 14 May 1992. The Secretary, John Young,

was standing down and it was also probable that the Chairman,

Mike Roth, would not be standing again. Nomination forms would

be sent out at the appropriate time. The Secretary was asked to

arrange a venue and a speaker with an IBM flavour.

        The dates of the next four meetings were arranged as


        14 May 1992                    Venue yet to be arranged

        Annual General Meeting

        3 September 1992               Blacknest near Reading

        Visit to Seismic Data Centre

        26 November 1992               Venue to be arranged

        25 February 1993               Venue to be arranged


        The meeting proceeded with an informal discussion on Data

Structures in Fortran 90. It was regretted that there were no

formal speakers on this subject so the meeting was asked to

contribute in any way possible. A summary of the discussion is

included as Appendix B.

John Young


7 April 1992

                                  APPENDIX A

        The Fortran Specialist Group of the BCS has carried out a

survey on behalf of the BCS and various interested parties. This

survey welcomed any comments on plans for developing standard

conforming Fortran 90 products. It received the following


        The Numerical Algorithms Group claims to have produced the

world's first Fortran 90 compiler.

        NAGware Fortran 90 compiler - a full ISO standard

        conformant compiler;

        NAGware Fortran 90 Test Suite - a comprehensive set of

        Fortran subroutines to test compilers on every aspect of

        the Fortran 90 ISO standard;

        NAGware Fortran 90 Tools - a set of programmers' tools

        including pretty printer, spaghetti unraveller, cross

        reference tables, declaration standardiser, portability

        verifier and a precision transformer;

        NAGware Fortran 90 Library - a library of mathematical and

        statistical routines in Fortran 90.

        Edinburgh Portable Compilers offers a Fortran 90 compiler,

which will be available in the fourth quarter of 1992, and also

an interactive debugger, which will be extended to operate with

the Fortran 90 compiler when it is released.

        Microsoft Fortran Professional Development System version

5.1, which has been shipping in the UK since July 1991, supports

a number of Fortran 90 extensions.

        Microsoft is planning full support for Fortran 90 in future

products, but does not expect to see this until the end of 1992.

        Programming Research plans to extend QA Fortran, its Fortran

88 static analyser which performs complexity, portability and

reliability checks to cover the Fortran 90 standard.

                           APPENDIX B

        What is a "Data Structure" in Fortran 90?

        The meeting agreed that a Data Structure is formed by

defining one or more derived types by a 'structure constructor'.

This Data Structure would have a name which would be treated like

any other variable in a Fortran program.

        The preferred way to define a Data Structure.

        A Data Structure can be defined in any subprogram and

referenced in the standard manner. However, the meeting agreed

that if it was defined in a Module with variables defined as

Private then the Data Structure cannot be corrupted and its use

checked at every reference. It was also noted that Structures

of Data Structures could be defined.

        Using Data Structures.

        The meeting agreed that Data Structures had to be one of the

major improvements in Fortran 90 giving the software designer a

very powerful tool. Its use makes COMMON, EQUIVALENCE, and

INCLUDE redundant. Members present were keen on the use of Data