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Author Topic: FORTRAN - All your problems will be solved.  (Read 4901 times)
IainB
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« on: May 14, 2012, 08:12:03 AM »

Hacker News gave a link to the Software Preservation Group where they have a document FORTRAN - Backus et al - Preliminary Report (1954)

Been reading through it.
This is an extract:
Quote
...Since FORTRAN should virtually eliminate coding and debugging, it should
be possible to solve problems for less than half the cost that would be required
without such a system. Furthermore, since it will be possible to
devote nearly all usable machine time to problem solution instead of only half
the usable machine time, the output of a given machine should be almost
doubled...
Hmm.                     ohmy

It's probably worth a read though - interesting bit of history.
By the way, FORTRAN is alive and well - at the The Fortran Company.
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2012, 08:30:13 AM »

Wasn't old BASIC a sorta grandchild of Fortran?

I've peeked at some site news, there's some new development work going on in the language and they might have a new version in a couple of years.
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2012, 08:38:29 AM »

I used to program in Fortran years ago, but I really forget it all now. As I remember, I could be wrong, BASIC wasn't really all that similar to Fortran.

One of the things that stuck out about Fortran, as I remember, was that the way it allocates memory was basically the reverse of Pascal. I really didn't like Pascal, and loved Fortran.

I remember a few years ago talking with a fellow working in defense. He was doing work on the battle/war simulators for the US/Korean defense against North Korea, and he worked in Fortran for it.
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IainB
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2012, 09:25:57 AM »

Wasn't old BASIC a sorta grandchild of Fortran?
I don't think so. The only similarities were that they were both high-level languages. Otherwise quite different in syntax.
And BASIC was an "interpretive" code - I think it was compiled line by line as it executed, so you could hit a bug midway through execution. With FORTRAN, it had to be compiled/debugged prior to execution. I think FORTRAN 77 had an optimising compiler too.

BASIC
Quote
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
BASIC is a family of general-purpose, high-level programming languages whose design philosophy emphasizes ease of use - the name is an acronym from Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.
The original Dartmouth BASIC was designed in 1964 by John George Kemeny and Thomas Eugene Kurtz at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, USA to provide computer access to non-science students. At the time, nearly all use of computers required writing custom software, which was something only scientists and mathematicians tended to do. The language and its variants became widespread on microcomputers in the late 1970s and 1980s, when it was typically a standard feature, and often part of the firmware of the machine.
BASIC remains popular in numerous dialects and new languages influenced by BASIC such as Microsoft Visual Basic. In 2006, 59% of developers for the .NET Framework used Visual Basic .NET as their only programming language.[1]

FORTRAN
Quote
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fortran (previously FORTRAN) is a general-purpose, procedural, imperative programming language that is especially suited to numeric computation and scientific computing. Originally developed by IBM at their campus in south San Jose, California[1] in the 1950s for scientific and engineering applications, Fortran came to dominate this area of programming early on and has been in continual use for over half a century in computationally intensive areas such as numerical weather prediction, finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics, computational physics and computational chemistry. It is one of the most popular languages in the area of high-performance computing [2] and is the language used for programs that benchmark and rank the world's fastest supercomputers.

Fortran (a blend derived from The IBM Mathematical Formula Translating System) encompasses a lineage of versions, each of which evolved to add extensions to the language while usually retaining compatibility with previous versions. Successive versions have added support for processing of character-based data (FORTRAN 77), array programming, modular programming and object-oriented programming (Fortran 90 / 95), and generic programming (Fortran 2003).

...I remember a few years ago talking with a fellow working in defense. He was doing work on the battle/war simulators for the US/Korean defense against North Korea, and he worked in Fortran for it.
Yes, it was really handy for solving Operations Research-type problems or wherever serious mathematical number-crunching was required.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 09:36:46 PM by IainB; Reason: Minor correction. » Logged
kalos
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2012, 09:43:57 AM »

how does it compare with AHK, and particularly with third-party GUI automation?
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Ath
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2012, 10:19:37 AM »

how does it compare with AHK, and particularly with third-party GUI automation?
Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin
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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2012, 12:40:38 PM »

how does it compare with AHK, and particularly with third-party GUI automation?

... well basically ...
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kalos
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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2012, 03:49:12 PM »

how does it compare with AHK, and particularly with third-party GUI automation?

... well basically ...

???
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Curt
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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2012, 04:27:43 PM »

basically, If corn oil is made from Corn, and vegetable oil is made from Vegetables, then what is Baby oil made from?

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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2012, 04:58:59 PM »

Someone is thinking of the children!  ohmy
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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2012, 05:06:31 PM »

Alien babies of course
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dspelley
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2012, 09:10:09 PM »

When going through engineering school back in the mid-70's I bought boxes and boxes of 80-column IBM punch cards for batch processing at the university computing center. Wrote FORTRAN programs by hand on tablets of paper with the 80-column layout, then transcribed those onto cards using one of the punch machines that stood in rows at the center - one line of code per card (although I think you could put a "C" in a particular column on the card to indicate it was a continuation of the expression on the previous card). Had to make sure you numbered the cards, because boxes of cards invariably got dumped on the floor Cry and it made it easier to put things back in order.

In our process control lab we had a DEC PDP-11. I/O was on a teletype device with a long continuous roll of paper. Programs were stored on a hole-punched paper strip - like ticker-tape.

Boy, those were the days.  Punch cards, punched tape, K&E slide rules and $400 HP-35 calculators!


* papertape.jpg (66.87 KB, 800x410 - viewed 81 times.)
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 09:35:22 PM by dspelley » Logged

We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.
--- Richard Feynman (1918-1988)
IainB
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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2012, 10:15:01 PM »

Boy, those were the days.  Punch cards, punched tape, K&E slide rules and $400 HP-35 calculators!
Haha. Looks like I sparked off some reminiscing here!
Your comment reminded me that my first handheld electronic calculator was an alternative based on the HP-35 design  - the Sinclair Scientific. I assembled and soldered it together from a kit. You could only use it in reverse Polish notation (RPN), and it only displayed in scientific notation - 5 digit mantissa, 2 digit exponent.
I used it a lot. I recall that I compared its calculation of Pi to several decimal places with that of a Dec PDP 15/30. The Sinclair was off by quite a bit - a bug in its Texas processor chip, I think.

But Fortran: "...should virtually eliminate coding and debugging..."
Heh. I liked that. Pretty optimistic enthusiasm there.
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« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2012, 05:15:34 AM »

Boy, those were the days.  Punch cards, punched tape, K&E slide rules and $400 HP-35 calculators!

I asked my daughter's third grade math teacher when they would be teaching about slide rules, and she said "slide what?"  cheesy

The next year I asked her new fourth grade teacher, and he said "I would have to learn it first!"  Grin

I had a decent simulator from http://www.sliderule.demon.co.uk/ but it appears it doesn't like 64-bit Win 7... hmm, have to find some other way to torture my daughter's brain  tongue


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Curt
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« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2012, 06:52:50 AM »

Quote from: sliderulemuseum
Come visit the ISRM exhibit 'Slide Rule' Calculators (1972-1977) the 40th Anniversary of the HP-35 at the Boulder Valley Public Library, Boulder, Colorado, during the month of May 2012.

http://sliderulemuseum.com/


Quote from: sliderules
We say, without fear of being proved wrong, that every individual who has to make calculations can, at times, use a slide rule to great advantage, and this statement applies to the commercial man. The slide rule costs but a few shillings, and takes little time to master. To refuse to investigate the potentialities of the instrument is to adopt a non-possumus attitude.

http://www.sliderules.inf...-to-z/tys/tys-forward.htm


« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 07:27:49 AM by Curt; Reason: photo » Logged
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« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2012, 07:31:13 AM »

I've never seen anyone actually use a sliderule, though I have been in stores where the shopkeeper used an abacus. They were really fast with it.
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Curt
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« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2012, 07:54:16 AM »

-architects in particular, and many craftsmen in general. (my family).

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kalos
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« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2012, 02:34:52 PM »

how does it compare with AHK, and particularly with third-party GUI automation?

any serious input???  tongue

But Fortran: "...should virtually eliminate coding and debugging..."
Heh. I liked that. Pretty optimistic enthusiasm there.

this rang my bell!  cheesy
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Ath
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« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2012, 02:54:35 PM »

how does it compare with AHK, and particularly with third-party GUI automation?

any serious input???  tongue
You mean it was a serious question? ohmy
Same answer: Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin
and a hint this time: 'Know your classics'
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« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2012, 03:31:46 PM »

how does it compare with AHK, and particularly with third-party GUI automation?

any serious input???  tongue

But Fortran: "...should virtually eliminate coding and debugging..."
Heh. I liked that. Pretty optimistic enthusiasm there.

this rang my bell!  cheesy

10 cls
20 goto 30
30 goto 10
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IainB
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« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2012, 12:53:04 AM »

10 cls
20 goto 30
30 goto 10
Har-de-har-har. Very droll.
I think it could also (still) be regarded as an example of bad coding practice though.     Wink
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IainB
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« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2012, 01:06:46 AM »

how does it compare with AHK, and particularly with third-party GUI automation?
any serious input???  tongue
Sorry for my not answering your Q before @kalos, but there is no real answer to your question, because it is not a relevant question in the context of FORTRAN.
For example, I think "GUI" was not a term that had been invented at the time FORTRAN was invented or being used.
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« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2012, 01:47:39 AM »

For example, I think "GUI" was not a term that had been invented at the time FORTRAN was invented or being used.

oh, didnt know that, thanks  smiley
that "all your problems will be solved" is so misleading  Grin
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« Reply #23 on: May 16, 2012, 05:09:48 AM »

10 cls
20 goto 30
30 goto 10
Har-de-har-har. Very droll.
I think it could also (still) be regarded as an example of bad coding practice though.     Wink

Yes, but it was just for fun (not to mention that I've forgotten most of it).

10 cls
20 goto 10
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« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2012, 09:15:58 AM »

Yes, but it was just for fun (not to mention that I've forgotten most of it).

Doing better than me. I've forgotten all my Fortran! smiley
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