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Minutes of the BCS Fortran Specialist Group AGM

Held at 11 Mansfield Street, London, on 19th May 2004.

The 2004 Annual General Meeting of the British Computer Society Fortran Specialist Group was held at 11.15am on Wednesday, 19th May 2004.

Present:  Ron BellAWE
Peter CrouchDepartment for Work and Pensions
Sam EllisDefence Procurement Agency (MoD)
Carol HewlettLondon School of Economics
Chris LazouHiPerCom Consultants Ltd
Alec MatsnerAmrusoft Ltd
Alistair MillsCERN
John PelanUniversity College London
John ReidJKR Associates
John StephensBCS HQ
John YoungAWE Blacknest

The chairman asked John Stephens to introduce himself - John is the BCS Specialist Groups Officer and he had set himself the target of visiting half of the Specialist Groups this year and the AGM provided an ideal opportunity to visit the Fortran SG.

(i). Apologies for absence:

Apologies for absence were received from David Briggs, Paul Brodie, Miles Ellis, Martin Harman and David Muxworthy.

(ii). Minutes of previous AGM:

The minutes of the 2003 AGM were accepted as a correct record. The minutes were approved (proposed by John Reid, seconded by Alistair Mills).

(iii). Matters Arising:

The only matter arising concerned Dr Abdullahi of UAE University, who had offered to be the Group's representative in the Middle East and Africa (raised under Other Business at the 2003 AGM). Peter Crouch reported that he had checked with BCS HQ about official BCS representation, and had replied to Dr Abdullahi thanking him for the offer but that there could be no official authorization for a representative but we would be happy if he could pass on information about the Group and the Society in general when opportunities arose. Since then there had been no further correspondence with Dr Abdullahi.

(iv). Chairman's Report:

The chairman's report was tabled. The chairman drew attention to a number of topics:
(1) The attempts to raise the profile of Fortran and increase awareness of the publication of the Fortran 2003 standard later this year. Despite the efforts, including publication of an article in The Computer Bulletin, there were still many people asking "Is Fortran still alive?", and it was felt that this should be one of the priorities for the Group in the coming year.

Chris Lazou commented that remarks such as "Dinosaurs like Fortran" were still being made by some. There was a general view that a new article could be published when the Fortran 2003 standard was published. John Stephens suggested that it might be useful to make a presentation on Fortran at the next Specialist Groups Assembly.

(2) Members of the Group had continued to play a major role in UK participation in the Fortran standardization process and the chairman gave formal thanks to David Muxworthy and John Reid for their efforts.

(3) The new governance and membership structure of the BCS had been approved. One of the new grades of membership, SG Affiliate, would affect the Fortran SG and the group would need to decide what level of subscription, if any, non-BCS members would pay. This would be covered under item (v).

(4) Other changes in the Society's structure needed to be reflected in the Group's constitution and the proposed section on Finances was included in the Chairman's report. These changes would be covered under item (viii).

There was a long discussion about the audit of the Records of Account, including comment from John Stephens that BCS HQ were looking at the matter. The proposed changes with regard to finance were modified to remove the need for a formal audit prior to presentation of the accounts at future AGMs and the chairman stated that he would liaise with BCS HQ to keep up to date with their deliberations.

The modified report was approved (proposed by Alistair Mills, seconded by John Young).

The chairman thanked all colleagues for their assistance throughout the year. John Young in turn thanked the chairman for his efforts.

(v). Treasurer's Report and SG Development Fund Report:

The treasurer presented accounts for the year, and the chairman presented the SG Development Fund report (provided by David Muxworthy in his role as BSI Fortran Convenor).

The treasurer described briefly the accounts. The full accounts, completed on forms provided by BCS HQ, filled six sheets with another sheet added specifically for the Group and the key pages were provided for the AGM. The Group had a surplus of 566.80 in the year and the main expenditure had been on supporting UK participation at ISO WG5 meetings. In addition to the accounts the treasurer made six recommendations (mainly for the benefit of the new treasurer) and had prepared a forecast for the coming year's activities.

The chairman described briefly the contents of the SG Development Fund report. The main point covered the funding provided by BCS HQ for the BSI subscription for 2004 and funding for three people (David Muxworthy, Jane Sleighthome and Ian Chivers) to attend the May 2004 WG5 meeting and funding of travel costs within the UK to allow a representative to attend the quarterly BSI IST/5 meetings.

A discussion followed regarding the return of surplus funds to BCS at the year end, and the various sources of funding. John Stephens stated that, contrary to the statement in the SG Development Fund report, surplus funding for special projects carries forward and does not go back to BCS HQ. Chris Lazou commented that historically money had not come from BCS, but was raised from events and he welcomed BCS support.

John Reid formally thanked BCS and stated that is was very useful for UK input to the Fortran standardization effort, which would otherwise be dominated by the US - the UK pulled over it's weight with the number of proposals only being bettered by the US. Peter Crouch stated that he considered the support for standardization was one of the major roles for the Group.

John Stephens stated that the Group needed to apply for funding to cover the cost of Group representatives attending the BCS SG Assembly as this could be obtained from BCS central funding. The treasurer added this as a seventh recommendation to his report.

John Stephens also stated that much of the work of the treasurer would be eliminated as in future BCS HQ will handle accounts centrally. This would also remove the need for the Group's bank account as the Group's treasurer would authorize payment and forward items to BCS HQ for them to pay. This centralized accounting meant that some of the outgoing treasurer's recommendations would not be relevant.

The subject of a membership fee for SG Affiliates was discussed. Chris Lazou stated that the Group used to charge a fee but this had been dropped partly because of the hassles involved in chasing the fees. John Pelan enquired as to what an affiliate would receive in return for his fee and John Stephens took an action to provide a definitive answer for inclusion in the minutes. He added that although a fee was not currently compulsory it was likely to become so. A charge of 10 per year was proposed (by Peter Crouch, seconded by John Young) and was carried with 6 votes for and 2 abstentions. Peter Crouch declared that this would start from the beginning of May.

The two reports were accepted (proposed by Chris Lazou, seconded by John Reid).

(vi). Membership Report:

The chairman asked the secretary to obtain a report from the membership secretary for inclusion in the minutes.

(vii). Web Editor's Report:

Copies of the web editor's report were handed out, to be read by members in their own time. Peter Crouch stated that statistics were available from the Group website and questions regarding the report or the statistics should be forwarded to him by e-mail.

John Reid asked a question regarding the difference between "unique" and "once". An explanation was provided by John Young but John Reid felt that the terminology used could be clearer and suggested that it should be changed.

(viii). FSG Constitution:

The suggested changes to the Group's constitution were presented. These included the clause on finance already discussed under item (v) and replacement of a clause regarding representation on Technical Board with a new clause dealing with attendance at the BCS Specialist Groups Assembly.

The revisions to the constitution were proposed by Peter Crouch, seconded by Chris Lazou, and was accepted with 8 votes in favour, 0 against.

(ix). Future activities of the Group:

Formal discussion of this item was deferred until item (xii) when the date of the next meeting was discussed after Any Other Business. Informal discussions took place over lunch.

(x). Election of Officers:

All the officers resigned and elections for new officers took place. There were no nominations before the AGM and with the exception of the treasurer, who was standing down the current officers agreed to stand again. Peter Crouch was proposed as chairman, with Sam Ellis proposed as both secretary and treasurer (proposed by John Reid, seconded by John Young) and they were elected by 8 votes to 0. All other officers were proposed by Chris Lazou, seconded by John Young, and were elected by 8 votes to 0. Alistair Mills, who had stood down as treasurer, because he would be abroad for the next few years, was voted onto the committee as an ordinary member so that he could be of assistance when he was available. The offices for the year 2004/2005 are thus:

ChairmanPeter Crouch
Vice-Chairman & Archivist  David Muxworthy
SecretarySam Ellis
Membership SecretaryDavid Briggs
TreasurerSam Ellis
Web EditorPeter Crouch
Standards OfficerJohn Reid
Committee MemberAlistair Mills

(xi). Any Other Business:

John Stephens said that the autumn BCS Specialist Groups Assembly would be held on the 13th October. As mentioned in the discussion under item (ii) this may be a good opportunity to raise the profile of Fortran.

(xii) Date of next Annual General Meeting:

The date of the next meeting was discussed, with a view to holding it after the next WG5 meeting, due in the second week of May 2005. John Reid thought that it would be more beneficial to hold a special meeting before WG5 met as this would allow members of the Group to provide input to WG5. It could be smaller than the Forum held in October 2002 and hence would not require the same level of effort. The meeting would allow 20 to 25 people to meet around early March 2005 to provide an opportunity to comment on the language (considered more likely to cover the features not in Fortran 95, rather than reaction to features in Fortran 2003 as several years are expected to pass before the new features are available in compilers). This proposal was adopted leaving the AGM to be held towards the end of May 2005 (a few weeks after the WG5 meeting).

This concluded the formal AGM business and three presentations were then given:
"Progress on Fortran 2003 and the Technical Report on Enhanced Module Facilities" presented by John Reid, ISO WG5 Convenor,
"The Future for Fortran" by David Muxworthy, but presented by John Reid, and
"Using Fortran on Microsoft Windows" presented by Alistair Mills.

The chairman then closed the meeting. He thanked everyone for coming, in particular the speakers, and David Muxworthy. He hoped that the meeting had been useful and said that the reports would be posted on the website with the minutes.


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