Fortran - Overview

Fortran, as derived from Formula Translating System, is a general-purpose, imperative programming language. It is used for numeric and scientific computing.

Fortran was originally developed by IBM in the 1950s for scientific and engineering applications. Fortran ruled this programming area for a long time and became very popular for high performance computing, because.

It supports:

  • Numerical analysis and scientific computation
  • Structured programming
  • Array programming
  • Modular programming
  • Generic programming
  • High performance computing on supercomputers
  • Object oriented programming
  • Concurrent programming
  • Reasonable degree of portability between computer systems

Facts about Fortran

  • Fortran was created by a team, led by John Backus at IBM in 1957.

  • Initially the name used to be written in all capital, but current standards and implementations only require the first letter to be capital.

  • Fortran stands for FORmula TRANslator.

  • Originally developed for scientific calculations, it had very limited support for character strings and other structures needed for general purpose programming.

  • Later extensions and developments made it into a high level programming language with good degree of portability.

  • Original versions, Fortran I, II and III are considered obsolete now.

  • Oldest version still in use is Fortran IV, and Fortran 66.

  • Most commonly used versions today are : Fortran 77, Fortran 90, and Fortran 95.

  • Fortran 77 added strings as a distinct type.

  • Fortran 90 added various sorts of threading, and direct array processing.