Minutes of the BCS Fortran Specialist Group AGM 1998

The 1998 Annual General Meeting of the BCS Fortran Specialist Group was held at 11 Mansfield Street, London, at 11.15am on 7th May 1998.

 David Briggs DB Kinetic Systems Ltd
Miles EllisUniversity of Oxford
Edward GoltonRetired (ex RAL)
Chris LazouHiPerCom Consultants Ltd 
Zohair MaanyJKR Associates 
David MuxworthyUniversity of Edinburgh
John YoungAWE Blacknest (Chair)

1. Apologies for absence:
Apologies for absence were received from Peter Bolan, Peter Crouch, Mike Geary, Martin Harman and John Pelan.

2. Minutes of previous AGM:
The minutes of the previous AGM, held on 15th May 1997, were accepted with the correction of 'send' to 'sent' in the first line of section 8.0 and were signed by the Chairman. Thanks were offered to Chris Lazou for writing the minutes.

3. Matters Arising:
There were no matters arising not otherwise on the agenda.

4. Chairman's Report:
A preliminary chairman's report had been circulated to all members before the meeting and John Young tabled an updated and extended version at the meeting. The Group had not organized the proposed Fortran Forum during the year because of the NAG/VNI Fortran Futures '98 conference to be held the following week (14 & 15 May 1998). The Group had instead arranged to co-sponsor the Fortran Futures event.

Electronic communication with members had not developed during the year and Miles Ellis apologized for not having updated the FSG web pages; this was discussed further under 'Future Activities'.

John Young had attended Technical Board meetings on behalf of the Group and reported that the BCS wished the specialist groups to be self-financing. Members present thought that this showed a lack of appreciation of what facilities the BCS should be providing for members. He also reported that the BCS wished to take a greater role in IT standardization. There was an inconclusive discussion as what was meant by this as BSI was the only internationally recognized standards body for IT for the UK.

John also reported that the Data Protection Specialist Group had been summarily wound up as it had no chairman and had not met for 18 months. John was to find out the criteria by which specialist groups would be judged for possible disbandment. He noted that the suggestion that 11 Mansfield Street be used as a 'drop-in' centre for members had been turned down.

5. Membership Secretary's Report:
The Membership Secretary, Ted Golton, presented his report which stated that the Group had 178 members, of whom 153 belonged to the BCS and 25 were non-members. This compared with 162, 135 and 27 respectively in the previous year.

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 had three accounts: a Gold, a current, and an HQ account with total current assets of £2778.59. The HQ allocation for 1997/98 was £650. The principal expenditure had been two mailings to members, costing £225.42, and £293.75 for a stand at Fortran Futures '98. A decision on the amount to be requested from HQ for the coming year was postponed until the 'Future Activities' discussion.

7. Fortran Futures '98:
John Young described in more detail the Group's participation in the Fortran Futures '98 conference. He had been collaborating with Ian Hounam of NAG and had been arranging publicity with Anna Duckworth of BCS HQ. The conference had been well publicized in the technical press. Zohair Maany reported that more than 100 people would attend the conference; this was more than attended the corresponding event in 1996. There would be a BCS stand and various Group members were giving talks at the conference.

8. Election of Officers:
All the officers resigned and elections for new officers took place. Miles Ellis took the chair as he was not standing for re-election. Miles was thanked for having acted as Vice-Chairman for several years. Officers for the year 1998/99 were elected as follows:

 ChairmanJohn Young
Vice-ChairmanChris Lazou
SecretaryDavid Muxworthy
TreasurerTed Golton

John Young proposed a new office of Standards Officer, to which Miles Ellis was elected. He also noted that David Muxworthy acted as Archivist and proposed that this be formally recognized.

9. Future Activities:
Given that NAG & VNI proposed to organize a Fortran Futures 2000 conference, there was a discussion on whether the group should organize a Fortran Forum, however that was to be interpreted, during 1998/99. It was decided that it should, and that the Forum should be oriented towards promoting Fortran by encouraging its use as a teaching language for scientists and engineers; this would be interpreted to include other members of the Fortran family such as F, Elf and HPF. It was thought that in order to have any chance of influencing courses starting in October 1999, the event should take place no later than Easter 1999.

A decision on whether to have a single day event or to run it from lunch time to lunch time was delayed until details of the programme had become clearer. If the former, it may be a possibility to organize a repeat event in another location. Locations were not decided - London, Oxford and Rutherford were mentioned in discussion.

A subgroup was set up to organize the event, with John Young as convenor. Other members were Miles Ellis and David Muxworthy, plus others to be co-opted. An outline remit was: decision on whether to proceed by end June 1998, advertising to start October 1998, event to take place January or Easter 1999. The event should aim to break even, with the Group's Gold Account available to underwrite it. The treasurer was delegated to decide the request for HQ allocation on the basis of the discussion.

It was agreed that David Muxworthy would take over administration of the bcs-fsg mailing list. For the web pages it was decided to restore the link to the Group's own pages from the standard BCS Group page, to publish the BCS page address as the main Group URL, to look for a member willing to edit the Group pages and ask the BCS if they would be willing to host the Group pages on their server; David Muxworthy was to pursue this.

10. Any Other Business:
John Young said that the Group's Constitution was out of date. For example the BCS Committee referred to in section 3b was now the Technical Board and the requirement to appoint an Auditor at the AGM was at variance with BCS Guidelines. It was decided to review the Constitution, particularly with regard to Finance and Objectives, during the coming year and to update it at the next AGM. [Following the meeting the Constitution was made available on the Group's website].

Ted Golton said that he had copies of the Fortran Forum quarterly journal for the past ten years and wished to find a suitable home for them. It was suggested that he donate them to the BCS Library, which is based at the IEE. There was a discussion on whether it would be possible to organize subscriptions to Fortran Forum at an advantageous rate for Group members. John Young was to pursue this.

11. Date of next Annual General Meeting:
The 1999 Annual General Meeting will be held on Thursday, 13th May, 1999.

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