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Fortran
Fortran Introduction
Fortran Basics
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Fortran If statements
Fortran Loops
Fortran Arrays
Fortran Subprograms
Fortran Random numbers
Fortran Simple I/O
Fortran Format statements
Fortran File I/O
Fortran Common blocks
Fortran Data and block data
Fortran Debugging hints
Fortran Sample program

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Introduction


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Fortran is a general purpose programming language, mainly intended for mathematical computations in science applications (e.g. physics). Fortran is an acronym for FORmula TRANslation, and was originally capitalized as FORTRAN. However, following the current trend to only capitalize the first letter in acronyms, we will call it Fortran.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Fortran was the first high-level programming language. The work on Fortran started in the 1950's at IBM and there have been many versions since. By convention, a Fortran version is denoted by the last two digits of the year the standard was proposed. Thus we have Fortran 66, Fortran 77 and Fortran 90 (95).

The most common Fortran version today is still Fortran 77, although Fortran 90 is growing in popularity. Fortran 95 is a revised version of Fortran 90 which is expected to be approved by ANSI soon (1996). There are also several versions of Fortran aimed at parallel computers. The most important one is High Performance Fortran (HPF), which is a de-facto standard.

Users should be aware that most Fortran 77 compilers allow a superset of Fortran 77, i.e. they allow non-standard extensions. In this tutorial we will emphasize standard ANSI Fortran 77.

Fortran is the dominant programming language used in scientific applications. It is therefore important for physics (or engineering) students to be able to read and modify Fortran code. From time to time, so-called experts predict that Fortran will rapidly fade in popularity and soon become extinct. This may actually happen as C (or C++) is rapidly growing in popularity. However, previous predictions of the downfall of Fortran have always been wrong. Fortran is the most enduring computer programming language in history. One of the main reasons Fortran has survived and will survive is software inertia. Once a company has spent many people-years and perhaps millions of dollars on a software product, it is unlikely to try to translate the software to a different language. Reliable software translation is a very difficult task and theres 40 years of Fortran code to replace!

A major advantage Fortran has is that it is standardized by ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and ISO (International Standards Organization). Consequently, if your program is written in ANSI Fortran 77 then it will run on any computer that has a Fortran 77 compiler. Thus, Fortran programs are portable across computer platforms

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Keywords: fortran arrays,fortran data statements,fortran common blocks,fortran file i/o,fortran debugging,fortran format statements,fortran loops,fortran sub programs,fortran example programs

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