Chairman's Report to Fortran SG AGM, 29th September 2011

I am very pleased to be able to start this report by announcing that David Muxworthy is to be presented with a BCS Meritorious Service Award at the Specialist Groups Convention being held here on 11th October.

Many of you at today's meeting have been involved in preparing the nomination for David and this is what was put forward. Many other quotations of support in addition to those from Iain Thompson and Miles Ellis could have been provided from other former and current members of the BCS volunteer and international Fortran community. So on behalf of the Fortran SG I offer David our heartiest congratulations and hope that he will be able to accompany me to represent the Group at the Convention.

(David's presentation took place on 11th October, see photograph on the FSG home page.)

Despite the the good intentions we expressed at last year's AGM we did not manage to organise any further joint meetings in the 2010 – 11 session but thanks to the efforts of John Pelan we are receiving a contribution to the cost of this afternoon's presentations from the Institute of Physics Computational Physics Group and I hope we will see a number of their members here this afternoon. Although we have not had any joint meetings this session I have been passing on notifications of meetings being organised by the Advanced Programming and Distributed and Scalable Computing SGs to our members, which I hope you find useful.

As ever we were unable to receive as much funding to support UK Fortran standardisation in 2010 - 11 as we requested. However, David Muxworthy will be describing under the next agenda item what has been achieved by the UK participants in Fortran standardisation following the publication of the latest revision of the full language standard, informally known as Fortran 2008, as ISO/IEC 1539–1:2010 in October 2010.

I feel there has been a much less confrontational atmosphere at the Member Groups Convention and SG Assembly which I have attended this year than in previous years. The creation of the Membership Board and its committees and the election of an independent chairman for Council are steps in the right direction to getting more recognition and involvement of the Institute's volunteers in the direction of the Institute, in my humble opinion.

I was offered the opportunity to give a short presentation on "Fortran's Relevance Today and in the Future" to the Member Groups Convention held in April this year. I can now say that I have given a talk at the Royal Society, even though no members of that august body were present to hear it! The presentation is available on the BCS website at www.bcs.org/upload/pdf/fortran-pcrouch.pdf.

I also gave talks on "Fortran in the 21st Century" to the Birmingham Branch in October 2010 and to the Wolverhampton Branch in January 2011, the latter is available on the Branch website at www.bcs.org/content/conWebDoc/38644. As a result of these talks I had enquiries from several other BCS Branches, one of which has matured into a joint meeting with the Leicester Branch on Tuesday 8 November 2011, see www.fortran.bcs.org/futurevents.php for more information. I am greatly indebted to David Muxworthy, Jane Sleightholme and Ian Chivers as well as to other people who have spoken to the Group for allowing me to use material from their presentations in my own talks.

I have now been Chairman of the Group for nine years and while I am willing to stand for re-election under item (viii) of today's agenda I think the Committee and the Group as a whole should consider if we need fresh blood on the Committee and at the head of the Group. We will be discussing the future direction for the Group under item (ix) of the agenda.

I want to take this annual opportunity to thank all the members of the Committee for their assistance in the smooth running of the Group during the past year. especially Sam Ellis, our Secretary and Treasurer, and John Pelan as Vice-Chairman, who through his contacts has enabled us to organise this afternoon's presentations with the support of the Institute of Physics Computational Physics Group. I would also like to mention the willing support which I, wearing numerous hats, have received from the staff at BCS HQ, particularly from Judith Taylor and her Member Groups team, especially Mandy Bauer.

To finish on a traditional note, if anyone reading this report has any comments or suggestions relating to the Group, its activities or Fortran in general please contact myself or any other member of the Committee. Don't let the fact that we may invite you to help us put your suggestions into practice put you off!

Peter Crouch
26th September 2011


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Last modified: Wed 2 Nov 2011 09:30:36