Minutes of the BCS Fortran Specialist Group AGM 1996

The 1996 Annual General Meeting of the BCS Fortran Specialist Group was held at 7 Mansfield Mews, London, at 11.15am on 11th June 1996.

 Donald Alcock Retired
Mike BondThe Met Office
Sinclair BuddImperial College
Miles EllisOxford UniversityVice-Chair
Philip GallowayRoke Manor Research Ltd
Edward GoltonDRAL/CCLRCTreasurer
Carol HewlettLondon School of Economics
Chris LazouHiPerCom Consultants LtdChair
Zohair MaanyNAG Ltd
Nick SavilleContract Programmer
John YoungAWE Blacknest

The Chairman, Chris Lazou, opened the meeting by getting the members present to introduce themselves.

1. Apologies for absence:
The Chairman, Chris Lazou, apologised for the change of date of the AGM. The original date was unavailable due to the double booking of rooms by BCS. Apologies for absence were received from Martin Harman, David Muxworthy and Peter Crouch.

2. Minutes of previous AGM:
The minutes of the previous AGM held on 18th October 1995 were accepted without correction and were signed by the Chairman.

3. Matters Arising:
The report of the Fortran Futures '96 event at the Ramada Hotel, Heathrow was to be the first item of the afternoon talks.

4. Chairman's Report:
Chris Lazou presented his report and the meeting accepted it as read. Chris formally thanked the Vice-Chairman, Miles Ellis, for establishing the WWW home page under the BCS FSG. Chris highlighted his BCS Directory and Scientific Computing articles and apologised for the mis-spelling of PRIMEUR (PREMEUR). Miles offered to provide the link in the BCS FSG pages to PRIMEUR. Finally, it was noted that ideas and suggestions would wait until the third item of the afternoon talks.

5. Membership Secretary's Report:
The Membership Secretary, Ted Golton, presented his report stating that the Group has 180 members, 124 of whom belong to the BCS, and 56 non-members. BCS members are deemed to have paid and of the 56 only 18 non-members contributed to the Group's funds. There were 22 enquiries about the Group. It was noted that some Specialist Groups charge both members and non-members. A discussion ensued on what to do with non-paying non-members. It was agreed that non-member participation should be monitored. The numbers in the report show a slight increase in membership, last year, in spite of 9 resignations and only 7 new members. Miles Ellis commented on this confusing situation. The Chairman, Chris Lazou, asked for a copy of the membership list to be obtained from BCS HQ to try and clear this inconsistency.

6. Treasurer's Report:
The Treasurer, Ted Golton, presented his report on the Group's finances. He tabled the final accounts completed to 30th April. The Group has three accounts: a Gold, a current, and an HQ account. Money is transferred between accounts not only by the Treasurer but also on an ad hoc basis by BCS HQ and the reasons for some transfers were not clear. However, BCS HQ was introducing a new form for the next financial year. The Chairman, Chris Lazou, then signed the audited accounts and thanked Ted for his contribution. Finally, the meeting agreed that BCS members would still not be charged for membership of the Group.

7. Election of Officers:
All the officers resigned and elections for new officers took place. Carol Hewlett temporarily took the Chair for the election of Chairman. Miles Ellis proposed Chris Lazou for Chairman, seconded by Zohair Maany, and there being no other nominations Chris Lazou was re-elected nem-com. Chris re-took the Chair for the rest of the election. Miles Ellis was proposed for the position of Vice-Chairman by John Young, seconded by Nick Saville, and was re-elected unopposed. Again there were no nominations for the post of Secretary and nobody at the meeting was able to stand. Some discussion ensued but it was agreed that the post would remain vacant. Finally, Miles Ellis proposed Ted Golton for the post of Treasurer, seconded by Nick Saville. Ted Golton was re-elected unopposed. The chairman, Chris Lazou, then thanked the Committee for all their work during the past year. The officers for the year 1996-1997 are:

 Chairman Chris Lazou
Vice-ChairmanMiles Ellis
SecretaryVacant(Please contact the Chairman if you are willing to help)
TreasurerTed Golton

8. Any Other Business:
It was agreed that there would be only one item which was a discussion on the future of the Group. Miles Ellis led the discussion by suggesting that the Group should have a different role, take a grip on issues, and perhaps go back to more than one meeting a year. Fortran has an interesting future with requirements for Fortran 2000 increasing. With the introduction of F and ELF 90 as teaching languages there is a growing interest in Fortran. Miles suggested setting up a bulk e-mail list of people interested in Fortran and also making contact via World-Wide-Web pages. Carol Hewlett expressed an interest in the F language and also the e-mail list. Miles was asked to organise this bulk e-mail list.

(NOTE: This list is now set up and anyone wishing to have their names added should send a message to Miles.)
[2010: The list has been closed and replaced by a Fortran SG members discussion area on the BCS web site.]

9. Date of Next Meeting (AGM):
The next meeting of the Group will be the 1997 Annual General Meeting and will be held on Thursday, 15th May, 1997.


1. Fortran Futures'96:
Chris Lazou reported on the 2-day Fortran Futures'96 Conference held at the Ramada Hotel, Heathrow. The Group acted as co-sponsors/organisers and the event was underwritten by The Numerical Algorithms Group (NAG) Ltd and Visual Numerics International Ltd. It was an interesting meeting with high quality speakers, and the keynote speaker being the 1995/96 President of the BCS, Dr. Geoff Robinson. Some 90 people attended including 12 new to Fortran but there were not enough users; most were providers and old friends. The event was generally enjoyed by everyone. The challenge was to overcome the perception that Fortran is dead, with Java as a new language being 'pushed' as the future. There were presentations on Fortran 90, Fortran 95, HPF Fortran, the new F language, and new features for possible inclusion in Fortran 2000, as well as presentations from NAG and IMSL. The suggestion (hope) is to hold this event again in 1998 and for the Group to co-sponsor it.

2. The F programming Language:
Miles Ellis gave a presentation on the F Programming Language. F has been developed as a teaching language but should make a significant impact on scientific programming. Basically, F is a carefully crafted sub-set of Fortran 95 containing only the modern features and has a perfectly regular syntax. Several books will be available in the coming year.

3. Whither Fortran?:
Chris Lazou led a general discussion on the future of Fortran and the direction that the Group should be going. He sought the views of each attendee of the meeting. Ideas suggested were that the Group should be a forum for disseminating information on compilers, etc., encouraging practical standards like the new F language, letting people know about products, and promoting Fortran through BCS Branches. It was suggested that a "Fortran Day" could be held in the Spring of 1997. Visits could also be re-instated.

Minutes produced by John Young:
21st November 1996.

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