Chairman's Report June 2009

Most of my activities as Chairman over the last year seem to have involved asking for money so that the Group can continue to support UK involvement in the Fortran standardisation process, by funding attendance of UK delegates at appropriate meetings, as David Muxworthy will report under item (v) of today's agenda. On behalf of the UK Fortran community I want to thank John Reid, David Muxworthy and all the other members of the FSG who are involved in Fortran standardisation for all their efforts.

Unfortunately the BCS's financial position has not allowed us to receive as much funding to support UK Fortran standardisation in 2008-09 or in 2009-10 as we requested. As I reported last year I contacted some leading users and providers of Fortran in the UK to ask for contributions to enable us to fund an additional UK delegate to attend the November 2008 WG5 meeting in Tokyo. In the end I received offers totalling £400 for which I sincerely thank Polyhedron Software and JKR Associates. When the time came to pay the expenses of our funded delegates it required an additional cheque and some strong advocacy from Judith Taylor at BCS HQ to pay the claims and balance the FSG's books, as I hope our Treasurer will be able to tell us under the next item on the agenda!

I said in my report last year that there have been a number of contentious issues which have come up at recent SG Assemblies. On top of that we in the FSG have been having an ongoing struggle to try to obtain an additional £1,000 or so per year of funding for an extra UK delegate at WG5 meetings from the multi-million pound turnover BCS, which now intends to spend £5M on re-branding and going for global domination in the professional society market place, as our delegate was told at last month's Member Groups Convention. We appear to have been unsuccessful yet again for the 2009-10 financial year despite a large amount of effort spent on providing reports and background information on what has been achieved with the Society's funding in the past.

It seems contradictory to me that while the President is trying to promote his theme of "BCS in the Community" we are prevented from providing BCS support to those in the UK Fortran community who are willing to spend considerable amounts of their own time in support of UK involvement with ISO Fortran standardisation. This seems to be symptomatic of the attitude of the Society's higher management, to ignore the activities of the Branch and Group volunteers in favour of expensive re-branding and PR campaigns.

As I said in my report last year, I have now been Chairman of the Group for seven years and while I am willing to stand for re-election under item (viii) of today's agenda I think the Committee and the Group as a whole should consider if we need fresh blood on the Committee and at the head of the Group. We will be discussing the future direction for the Group under item (ix) of the agenda.

I want to take this annual opportunity to thank all the members of the Committee for their assistance in the smooth running of the Group during the past year, especially Sam Ellis, our Secretary and Treasurer, and John Young, who is stepping down as Vice-Chairman. I would also like to mention the willing support which I, wearing numerous hats, have received from the staff at BCS HQ, particularly from the Specialist Groups team and the new Head of Member Groups, Judith Taylor.

To finish on a traditional note, if anyone reading this report has any comments or suggestions relating to the Group, its activities or Fortran in general please contact myself or any other member of the Committee. Don't let the fact that we may invite you to help us put your suggestions into practice put you off!

Peter Crouch
10th June 2009

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