Chairman's Report September 2010

I am honoured to have been Chairman of the Group during its fortieth year and am very pleased that we have been able to mark the anniversary with a Fortran-themed meeting.

Thanks to the efforts of John Pelan and Jane Sleightholme we have followed up some of the ideas which were discussed at last year's AGM by arranging joint events with other groups.

In May this year we had a joint evening meeting with the BCS Advance Programming SG at which John Reid spoke about coarrays in Fortran 2008.

In June we organised a successful one day meeting with the Institute of Physics Computational Physics Group on "Fortran in Physics – Its Legacy and its Future?" at which David Muxworthy spoke about the Fortran SG and Fortran standards from 1970 to 2010. Other speakers included John Reid, Craig Lucas and Stephen Blair-Chappell. I want to thank John Pelan for all his work with the IoP, Polyhedron Software, Intel and NAG for providing prizes and gifts for the delegates and John Young for his support for the buffet lunch.

Once again we were unable to receive as much funding to support UK Fortran standardisation in 2009-10 as we requested. However, David Muxworthy will be describing under the next agenda item what has been achieved by the UK participants in the runup to the publication of the latest version of the ISO Fortran standard, Fortran 2008.

This year has seen the rebranding of the Society as BCS - The Chartered Institute for IT. One effect of this was on the Long Service Pin Badges. The Committee put a lot of effort around the middle of 2009 into trying to locate long serving former officers and committee members of the Group so that they could be sent appropriate badges. When they arrived they were rather disappointing being only a few millimetres long and less in width, using the old blue BCS logo. Less than two months later they had to be replaced by similar sized badges in the form of the new green BCS quadrant logo!

However we did receive official Fortran SG Committee name badges in time for the meeting with the Advanced Programmers in May!

The rebranding of BCS was one of the factors which lead to the call for an EGM earlier this year. As you probably know I was one of the two members of the Group Committee who were signatories of the call for an EGM. The motions of no confidence were not passed by the EGM but I hope that the airing of our concerns will lead to the Trustee Board and BCS executives taking more notice of the opinions of the BCS volunteers who run Branches and Specialist Groups.

On a positive note, during the second half of 2009 I received several Fortran-related requests for assistance relating to Fortran compilers, problems with Fortran code and teaching Fortran. They came from the UK, USA, Japan and Iran. One contact turned out to be a former colleague of mine who provided computing services for me before I ever saw a line of Fortran code! I believe I was able to provide useful assistance in all cases and I hope I helped to raised the international profile of the Group a little.

As I say in my report each year, I have now been Chairman of the Group for a number of 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 Pelan as Vice-Chairman, who through his contacts with the IoP has enabled us to provide a free buffet lunch before this afternoon's presentations as well as the successful meeting in June.

I must also thank John Young who is stepping down from the Committee after over 20 years, during which time he has serving as Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary and Membership Secretary. Thank you very much John for all your hard work and support in many ways for the Fortran SG.

I would also like to mention the willing support which I, wearing numerous hats, have received from the staff at BCS HQ, particularly from Judith Taylor and her Member Groups team, especially Mandy Bauer.

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
28th September 2010

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