Summary of the discussion on the UK Position on Fortran 2008

This is a summary of the discussion at the Fortran Specialist Group meeting on 11th June 2009 following the presentation on "The UK position on Fortran 2008 and the WG5 Technical Report on further interoperability".

There was debate for about half an hour following the presentation. The first part of the discussion centred on the extent to which vendors had implemented Fortran 2003. The main source of information was the table by Ian Chivers and Jane Sleightholme which is published in Fortran Forum and which is regularly updated. Only Cray had so far released a full Fortran 2003 compiler, and that was not yet for all of its machines. IBM was expected to be the next, later in 2009, followed by NAG. Ian warned that the table was based on information supplied by vendors, which was sometimes at variance with the language actually supported by the processors to which he had access. For the present therefore a program intended to be portable should continue to conform to the Fortran 95 standard.

The subject moved on to the UK vote on the Final Committee Draft, the ballot for which was expected to be held in the autumn. The majority opinion was that, given the ethos in the standards world of cooperating constructively and seeking to achieve consensus, the UK should vote 'yes with comments'. This was because the UK, in its vote on the Committee Draft, had already registered its unhappiness with certain aspects of the language revision. WG5 had responded positively to some of the UK's concerns and was very unlikely to make changes in response to the remainder.

The final topic was to consider what should be done about the fact that some vendors appeared to be unlikely to produce a full Fortran 2008 compiler in the foreseeable future, if ever. The best approach would appear to be to standardize a subset of Fortran 2008 which would be based on what vendors had actually implemented. This would probably be a subset of Fortran 2003 with some of the features new in Fortran 2008.

David Muxworthy
15th June 2009

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Last modified: Wed 2 Nov 2011 09:30:23