Specialist Groups Development Fund Programme Project:
Support for Fortran 2003 Development
Progress Report April 2004
In March 2002 the Fortran Specialist Group submitted a bid to the BCS Specialist
Group Development Fund for a project "To support a continued UK contribution
to the development of the ISO Fortran standard, Fortran 2000, and to allow the
project to be completed to schedule". Essentially this was to allow three UK
Fortran experts to attend the two WG5 meetings to be held in 2003 in order to
contribute to the overall effort and to represent UK opinion on the developments.
A full report of the application and subsequent
activities up to April 2003 was given at last year's AGM
At the following WG5 meeting in July 2003 six countries were represented and again
the UK played a major role, with five of the 15 individuals attending being from
the UK; three of those five were supported financially by the BCS.
It was resolved that the informal name of the language should be Fortran 2003.
Otherwise the meeting was largely spent correcting minor errors and
inconsistencies which had been noted following integration of the relatively
extensive changes made four months previously. The standard remains on schedule
and is expected to be published towards the end of 2004. More details are given
in John Reid's report.
It can fairly be claimed that the BCS investment has paid off handsomely. However,
the Development Fund support was for the calendar year 2003 only and there
remained one further WG5 meeting before the standard was finalized. This was to
be in May 2004 and was to review and act on the outcome of the ISO ballot on the
last version of the draft standard for which it was possible to make technical
changes. To maintain the impetus, in September 2003 a further application was
made to the BCS Specialist Group Development Programme again to support three UK
experts to attend the 2004 meeting, and also to fund participation in the BSI
Programming Languages committee; this is a necessary prerequisite for UK activity
in ISO. I am very pleased to report that in December this too was approved. The
award was for £4096, to be spent £256 in 2003/4 and £3840 in
2004/5. After the application went in to BCS, BSI, after long and vociferous
complaints from its committee members, decided that the relevant participation fee
should be zero for 2004, but with no guarantees about 2005.
We have been informed by BCS that any funds not spent by the end of 2004/5 can be
carried forward; this may well be useful as the first WG5 meeting for the next
round of Fortran revision will take place in May 2005.
Already an appeal has gone out to the general Fortran public, including an e-mail
message to FSG members (available here) , asking
for requirements to be contributed for the next revision of the Fortran standard,
which is tentatively scheduled for completion in 2009. The result of the
worldwide trawl for requirements is expected to be defined over the next couple
of years into a programme of action for the various standardization committees.
The BCS SG Development Fund was envisaged as a device to promote special projects
and although it would be highly desirable for us, it was thought unlikely that
the BCS would be willing to continue to give year on year financial support after
completion of the Fortran 2003 standard. However it has been suggested that the
BCS MSB may be amenable to considering another application later this year and it
is intended to pursue this possibility.
BSI Fortran Convenor
April 1, 2004
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