Fortran Specialist Group

Support for Fortran Standards Development

Report June 2007

Since January 2003 the BCS Member Services Board has generously provided means for members of the Fortran Specialist Group to support the UK contribution to the development of ISO Fortran standards. Initially this was undertaken as a project under the Specialist Groups Development Fund; in the past year funding has been provided as part of the normal Fortran Specialist Group annual allocation.

The initial case for support had the objective "To support a continued UK contribution to the development of the ISO Fortran standard, Fortran 2000, and to allow the project to be completed to schedule". With the completion of that standard in November 2004 (although a number of interpretation requests remain outstanding) the application for 2005-2006 had the objective, in effect, "To allow significant UK influence on the direction to be taken by Fortran in the next five years". The initial case from 2002 and subsequent annual reports are in, or are linked from,

Activity 2006-2007
There have been no WG5 meetings during the past financial year. Members of the British group have been active in contributing to and debating technical developments by e-mail, in commenting on a proposed Technical Report on further interoperability of Fortran and C and in generating a Technical Corrigendum for Fortran 2003. They have also been preparing input, both administrative and technical, for the next WG5 meeting which is to be hosted by the UK in August 2007.

Most detailed technical development work continues to be undertaken by INCITS committee J3. One member of the British group is an active member of J3 and is also editor for the revision project.

All but one of the requirements specified by WG5 in May 2005 and February 2006 have been incorporated into a draft revised standard. The odd item out was deemed to be progressing too slowly and development was diverted, in the first instance, to an ISO Technical Report rather than being part of the standard. Although the overall technical development has, remarkably, kept to the tight schedule adopted in 2004, there is now concern that no full Fortran 2003 compilers have yet appeared and hence that it would be too soon to finish development work on the standard in 2008, as is scheduled. This timetable, and the content of the standard, will be major topics of discussion at the August WG5 meeting.

With no WG5 meetings and with BSI continuing to waive participation fees for its Programming Languages committee, the only financial support called on this year has been to allow the BSI Fortran convenor to attend the BSI Programming Languages committee. Participation in that committee is a prerequisite for UK representatives to take part in ISO programming language meetings.

All Fortran development papers are open to scrutiny by all interested parties world-wide. WG5 documents are available via the WG5 website. J3 papers are obtainable from the J3 website.

The BCS has further demonstrated its support for international Fortran standardization by agreeing to host the next WG5 meeting at its offices in Southampton Street. The Group is extremely grateful for this continuing support.

David Muxworthy
BSI Fortran Convenor
4th June 2007

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