Support for Fortran Standards Development

Report to Fortran SG AGM 27th September 2012

Introduction
The development of most major programming languages is now undertaken by standards committees. BCS has supported the UK contribution to the development of international Fortran standards since 2003. The initial case from 2002 is at www.fortran.bcs.org/2003/devrep03.htm and subsequent annual reports are linked from www.fortran.bcs.org/standards/stanhome.php.

UK members participate in the ISO Fortran committee (SC22/WG5), the US Fortran committee (J3), the BSI Programming Language committee (IST/5) and the ISO Programming Language Committee (SC22). In addition to attending BSI and international meetings, much work is of course undertaken by email. The BSI Fortran panel and the BCS Fortran Specialist Group make every effort to gather opinion from throughout the country in order, so far as possible, to represent the UK as a whole at international meetings.

Activity 2011-2012
The latest revision of the full Fortran language standard, informally known as Fortran 2008, was published in October 2010. Since relatively few vendors have yet to implement all of the standard, and hence users have still to gain experience of the new facilities, activity this year has been concentrated on ancillary projects, including work on interpretations of Fortran 2008.

Future Development of the Fortran Standard
The UK group has been concerned at the standard outpacing usage of the language (which has happened also for other languages including COBOL and Ada) and it submitted a proposal to the ISO Fortran working group (WG5) on the strategy for medium term development. This was that no extensions be considered for the next revision but it should incorporate the technical corrigenda and the two technical specifications and should allow editorial improvements and removal of existing deficiencies and irregularities. This proposal was largely accepted at the WG5 meeting in Toronto in June.

Development of the technical specification on Further Interoperability of Fortran with C
The UK voted 'no' in the ballot at SC22 level on the preliminary draft and most of the suggestions were accepted by WG5. There were fewer comments in the ballot on the subsequent revised draft, in which the UK voted 'approval as presented', and these are now being considered by WG5.

Development of a technical specification on Additional Parallel Features in Fortran
The content of a report to extend the parallel processing facilities in Fortran has proved controversial over the past year or so but the requirements were finally agreed at the WG5 meeting in June. The new project proposal is currently being balloted by SC22 member countries. The UK has voted approval.

Development of the Fortran annex for TR 24772 (Guidance to Avoiding Vulnerabilities in Programming Languages through Language Selection and Use)
Balloting on the 2012 edition of the (language-independent) technical report has recently been completed and the comments from SC22 member countries are being considered by SC22/WG23. Meanwhile a draft of a Fortran-specific annex has been produced and is being developed in WG5 with a view to incorporation in the main document next summer.

The UK continues to play a major role in the development of the Fortran language. The convenor of WG5, the project editor, the webmaster and the email administrator are all from the UK, as are (usually, but appointed annually) the minutes secretary and the editor of the Technical Corrigenda. The project editor was amongst the 2011 recipients of the IEC 1906 award which is given for 'exceptional current achievements of experts'.

All Fortran development papers are open to all interested worldwide; minutes of the most recent WG5 meeting are in N1926. WG5 documents are available via its website www.nag.co.uk/sc22wg5/. J3 papers are obtainable from www.j3-fortran.org/.

The Group is extremely grateful for the continuing support of BCS.

David Muxworthy
BSI Fortran Convenor
26th September 2012


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Last modified: Wed 3 Oct 2012 13:28:32