Minutes of the BCS Fortran Specialist Group AGM 2009

Held at BCS London Office, First Floor, The Davidson Building,
5 Southampton Street, London, on 11th June 2009.

The 2009 Annual General Meeting of the British Computer Society Fortran Specialist Group was held at 11.00 am on Thursday, 11th June 2009.

Present:  Ian ChiversRhymney Consulting
Peter CrouchNickel Institute
Sam EllisDefence Equipment & Support (MoD)
David MuxworthyBSI Fortran Convenor
Clive PageUniversity of Leicester
John PelanUniversity College London
John ReidRutherford Appleton Laboratory (ISO WG5 Convenor)
Jane SleightholmeFortranPlus
John YoungInternational Seismological Centre (ISC)

(i). Apologies for absence:

Apologies for absence were received from Sammani D. Abdullahi (University of Qatar), Miles Ellis, and Philip Kraven.

(ii). Minutes of previous AGM:

In the minutes of the 2008 AGM Peter Crouch was listed twice as Web Editor. The amended minutes were accepted as a correct record and were approved unanimously (proposed by John Pelan, seconded by John Young).

(iii). Matters Arising:

Clause 5.7 of the Specialist Group Constitution covering the Committee Meetings was discussed, in particular the requirement to meet four times a year and the clause was amended to read "The Committee shall meet at such times and in such places as the Committee may determine and in so far as is practicable they shall meet at least four times per year".

(iv). Chairman's Report:

The Chairman's report was tabled. The chairman drew attention to a number of topics:

(1) The FSG had an ongoing struggle to try to obtain an additional £1,000 per year from BCS of funding for an extra delegate at WG5 meetings despite the multi-million pound turnover of the BCS. He commented that it seemed contradictory that while the BCS President was trying to promote "BCS in the Community" the FSG are prevented from providing BCS support to the UK Fortran community.

(2) He mentioned the willing support which he had received from the staff at BCS HQ, particularly from the Specialist Groups team and the new Head of Member Groups, Judith Taylor.

The report was approved unanimously (proposed by John Young, seconded by John Reid).

(v). Treasurer's Report and SG Development Fund Report:

The Treasurer, Sam Ellis, gave a verbal report and presented the accounts for the year. The key points to note were:

(1) With the BCS changing the end of their financial year the accounts would eventually cover the period up to the end of August but the accounts presented only covered the period up to the end of April. Extra funding was expected to cover the period between May and August but as this was a quiet period for the SG this would in effect cover the expenses for the AGM and as this would not occur again until September 2010 it would have no effect on the overall budget. The budget provided for 2009/10 was therefore presented as if it ran from May 2009 to August 2010.

(2) The Chairman had contacted some leading users and providers of Fortran in the UK to ask for contributions to fund the extra delegate to the WG5 meeting in Tokyo and had received offers totalling £400 and thanked Polyhedron Software and JKR Associates for their contributions.

(3) In submitting a budget proposal support for the attendance of Nick Maclaren (to cover interoperability with C) was provided by John Reid and David Muxworthy and this had been built in to the bid. Ideally the SG would have liked support from BCS for one more delegate and an attempt would be made to do this by reducing the claims for attendance at the BSI meetings.

This report was approved unanimously (proposed by Jane Sleightholme, seconded by David Muxworthy).

David Muxworthy (in his role as BSI Fortran Convenor) presented a report on the use of the SG Development fund in support of Fortran Standards. The report was primarily for BCS as most members of the committee already knew what had happened in regard to development of the new standard.

This report was approved unanimously (proposed by John Reid, seconded by John Pelan).

(vi). Membership Secretary's Report:

The Membership Secretary had moved house in the run up to the meeting and was busy preparing a presentation for the afternoon meeting so his Assistant, Peter Crouch, provided the report.

Sam Ellis enquired where the Student members were from (1) and David Muxworthy asked what happened to members without e-mail. The Membership Secretary would be asked to provide answers to these questions. David Muxworthy suggested asking anyone who left the SG why they had left and it was agreed this would be worth doing.

John Young noted that the report stated that the SG would lose around two thirds of its non-UK members when non-BCS members were removed and commented that several other SGs, in particular the Computer Arts SG, has non-BCS members and would be interested to see how the other SGs dealt with this.

David Muxworthy asked who the member over 80 was (2). The Membership Secretary would try to provide this information assuming that the information was releasable.

The report was approved unanimously (proposed by John Pelan, seconded by Jane Sleightholme).

(Answers to questions 1 and 2 were provided by email to the committee on 12 June 2009.)

(vii). Web Editor's Report:

The Web Editor, Peter Crouch, presented his report for 2008-2009. As in the previous year there had been no major changes to the layout of the SGs web pages. However changes were being planned in an attempt to provide consistency of design, structure, user experience and quality across the BCS web site. The Web Editor suggested putting the FSG site forward as a trial and the committee agreed.

The report was accepted unanimously (proposed by Jane Sleightholme, seconded by David Muxworthy).

(viii). Election of Officers:

The nominations for the SG officers had been received by the Secretary according to the Constitution.

John Young and John Pelan had nominated Clive Page as a new member of the committee and this was accepted unanimously.

John Young took over as Chairman for re-election of the Chairman. David Muxworthy and John Reid had nominated Peter Crouch and as the only nominee he was deemed to be duly elected.

Peter Crouch and Clive Page had nominated Sam Ellis as Secretary and Treasurer. John Young and Jane Sleightholme had nominated John Pelan as Vice-Chairman. Peter Crouch and John Pelan had nominated Ian Chivers as Membership Secretary. Sam Ellis and Clive Page had nominated Peter Crouch as Web Editor. John Young and Jane Sleightholme had nominated David Muxworthy as Archivist. Peter Crouch and David Muxworthy had nominated John Reid as Standards Officer. Peter Crouch and Sam Ellis had nominated Ian Chivers and Jane Sleightholme as Committee Members.

As each of these positions had only received single nominees all were deemed duly elected. The committee for the year 2009/2010 is therefore:

ChairmanPeter Crouch
Vice-ChairmanJohn Pelan
SecretarySam Ellis
TreasurerSam Ellis
ArchivistDavid Muxworthy
Standards OfficerJohn Reid
Membership Secretary  Ian Chivers
Web EditorPeter Crouch
Committee MembersClive Page
Jane Sleightholme
John Young

The Chairman thanked John Pelan for his efforts as Membership Secretary in the previous year and thanked Clive Page for joining the committee.

(ix). Future activities of the Group:

John Pelan - He commented that Fortran is a very specialist SG and its current efforts could be augmented by diversification into application areas such as comptational physics and numerical analysis. He had proposed the same idea to the Institute of Physics Computational Physics Group, that had met two days earlier, and they were keen to adopt this. Some ideas for meetings were tomography, plasma, and computational simulation.

Peter Crouch – He had enquired via BCS HQ if there were other SG which might have an interest in Fortran without much success. Other possible relevant Groups listed in the SG Directory were Mathematical Programming, Parallel Programming (now the Distributed and Scalable Computing SG) and Advanced Programming.

Sam Ellis suggested that it may be useful to provide examples of how to use existing Fortran codes in other applications such as Excel and MATLAB. A number of other applications were mentioned including Octave (GNU Octave is a high-level language, primarily intended for numerical computations. It provides a convenient command line interface for solving linear and nonlinear problems numerically, and for performing other numerical experiments using a language that is mostly compatible with MATLAB.) and R (R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics).

Jane Sleightholme said that the Advanced Programming SG were keen to advertise their meetings.

(x). Any Other Business:

David Muxworthy reported that Kevin Morrell of The National Museum of Computing based at Bletchley Park, who had been at the "50th anniversary" meeting in 2007, had now agreed to accept historical documents relating to computing and that he and Brian Shearing were intending to send Fortran-related documents to TNMOC.

(xi) Date of next Annual General Meeting:

The date of the next meeting was discussed and with the shift of the end of the financial year it was proposed to align the next AGM with the end of the financial year and October 10th 2010 was provisionally chosen. Another meeting had been booked for June 10th 2010 and an attempt was made to use this for a joint meeting with the Institute of Physics Computational Physics Group.
(The dates eventually finalised were 7 June 2010 for the meeting with the IoP group and 30 September for the 2010 AGM.)

This concluded the formal AGM business and the meeting was closed. After a break for lunch, a number of presentations were made:

(1) Meet the Competition : Matlab! by John Pelan.

(2) Changes made to the draft Fortran 2008 standard since the 2008 AGM and Report from the Convener on WG5 activities, including the Technical Report on further interoperability with C by John Reid.

(3) The UK position on Fortran 2008 and the WG5 Technical Report on further interoperability by David Muxworthy.

The chairman closed the meeting. He thanked everyone for coming, in particular the speakers. He hoped that the meeting had been useful and the reports would be posted to the website with the minutes!

Comments on this or any other of the Group's pages should be sent by email to the FSG Web Editor.
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Last modified: Wed 2 Nov 2011 09:30:23