Fortran (/ˈfɔːrtræn/; formerly FORTRAN, derived from Formula
Translation) is a general-purpose, imperative programming language
that is especially suited to numeric computation and scientific
computing. Originally developed by IBM in the 1950s for scientific
and engineering applications, FORTRAN came to dominate this area of
programming early on and has been in continuous use for over half a
century in computationally intensive areas such as numerical weather
prediction, finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics,
computational physics, crystallography and computational chemistry. It
is a popular language for high-performance computing and is used
for programs that benchmark and rank the world's fastest
Fortran encompasses a lineage of versions, each of which evolved to
add extensions to the language while usually retaining compatibility
with prior versions. Successive versions have added support for
structured programming and processing of character-based data (FORTRAN
77), array programming, modular programming and generic programming
Fortran 90), high performance
Fortran 95), object-oriented
Fortran 2003) and concurrent programming (
2.1.1 Fixed layout and punched cards
2.2 FORTRAN II
2.2.1 Simple FORTRAN II program
2.3 FORTRAN III
IBM 1401 FORTRAN
2.5 FORTRAN IV
2.6 FORTRAN 66
2.7 FORTRAN 77
2.7.1 Variants: Minnesota FORTRAN
2.8 Transition to ANSI Standard Fortran
2.9.1 Obsolescence and deletions
2.9.2 "Hello world" example
Conditional compilation and varying length strings
3 Science and engineering
4 Language features
6.2 FORTRAN V
6.4 Specific variants
6.4.1 FOR TRANSIT for the
6.5 Fortran-based languages
7 Code examples
9 See also
11 Further reading
12 External links
The names of earlier versions of the language through FORTRAN 77 were
conventionally spelled in all-capitals (FORTRAN 77 was the last
version in which the use of lowercase letters in keywords was strictly
non-standard). The capitalization has been dropped in referring to
newer versions beginning with
Fortran 90. The official language
standards now refer to the language as "Fortran" rather than all-caps
IBM 704 mainframe computer
In late 1953, John W. Backus submitted a proposal to his superiors at
IBM to develop a more practical alternative to assembly language for
IBM 704 mainframe computer. Backus' historic FORTRAN
team consisted of programmers Richard Goldberg, Sheldon F. Best,
Harlan Herrick, Peter Sheridan, Roy Nutt, Robert Nelson, Irving
Ziller, Lois Haibt, and David Sayre. Its concepts included easier
entry of equations into a computer, an idea developed by J. Halcombe
Laning and demonstrated in the
Laning and Zierler system of 1952.
A draft specification for The
IBM Mathematical Formula Translating
System was completed by mid-1954. The first manual for FORTRAN
appeared in October 1956, with the first FORTRAN compiler delivered in
April 1957. This was the first optimizing compiler, because customers
were reluctant to use a high-level programming language unless its
compiler could generate code with performance comparable to that of
hand-coded assembly language.
While the community was skeptical that this new method could possibly
outperform hand-coding, it reduced the number of programming
statements necessary to operate a machine by a factor of 20, and
quickly gained acceptance.
John Backus said during a 1979 interview
with Think, the
IBM employee magazine, "Much of my work has come from
being lazy. I didn't like writing programs, and so, when I was working
IBM 701, writing programs for computing missile trajectories, I
started work on a programming system to make it easier to write
The language was widely adopted by scientists for writing numerically
intensive programs, which encouraged compiler writers to produce
compilers that could generate faster and more efficient code. The
inclusion of a complex number data type in the language made Fortran
especially suited to technical applications such as electrical
By 1960, versions of FORTRAN were available for the
IBM 709, 650,
1620, and 7090 computers. Significantly, the increasing popularity of
FORTRAN spurred competing computer manufacturers to provide FORTRAN
compilers for their machines, so that by 1963 over 40 FORTRAN
compilers existed. For these reasons, FORTRAN is considered to be the
first widely used programming language supported across a variety of
The development of
Fortran paralleled the early evolution of compiler
technology, and many advances in the theory and design of compilers
were specifically motivated by the need to generate efficient code for
The initial release of FORTRAN for the
IBM 704 contained 32
DIMENSION and EQUIVALENCE statements
Three-way arithmetic IF statement, which passed control to one of
three locations in the program depending on whether the result of the
arithmetic statement was negative, zero, or positive
IF statements for checking exceptions (ACCUMULATOR OVERFLOW, QUOTIENT
OVERFLOW, and DIVIDE CHECK); and IF statements for manipulating sense
switches and sense lights
GO TO, computed GO TO, ASSIGN, and assigned GO TO
Formatted I/O: FORMAT, READ, READ INPUT TAPE, WRITE, WRITE OUTPUT
TAPE, PRINT, and PUNCH
Unformatted I/O: READ TAPE, READ DRUM, WRITE TAPE, and WRITE DRUM
Other I/O: END FILE, REWIND, and BACKSPACE
PAUSE, STOP, and CONTINUE
FREQUENCY statement (for providing optimization hints to the
The arithmetic IF statement was reminiscent of (but not readily
implementable by) a three-way comparison instruction (CAS –
Compare Accumulator with Storage) available on the 704. The statement
provided the only way to compare numbers – by testing their
difference, with an attendant risk of overflow. This deficiency was
later overcome by "logical" facilities introduced in FORTRAN IV.
The FREQUENCY statement was used originally (and optionally) to give
branch probabilities for the three branch cases of the arithmetic IF
statement. The first FORTRAN compiler used this weighting to perform
at compile time a Monte Carlo simulation of the generated code, the
results of which were used to optimize the placement of basic blocks
in memory – a very sophisticated optimization for its time.
The Monte Carlo technique is documented in Backus et al.'s paper on
this original implementation, The FORTRAN Automatic Coding System:
The fundamental unit of program is the basic block; a basic block is a
stretch of program which has one entry point and one exit point. The
purpose of section 4 is to prepare for section 5 a table of
predecessors (PRED table) which enumerates the basic blocks and lists
for every basic block each of the basic blocks which can be its
immediate predecessor in flow, together with the absolute frequency of
each such basic block link. This table is obtained by running the
program once in Monte-Carlo fashion, in which the outcome of
conditional transfers arising out of IF-type statements and computed
GO TO's is determined by a random number generator suitably weighted
according to whatever FREQUENCY statements have been provided.
Many years later, the FREQUENCY statement had no effect on the code,
and was treated as a comment statement, since the compilers no longer
did this kind of compile-time simulation. A similar fate has befallen
compiler hints in several other programming languages; for example C's
register keyword.
The first FORTRAN compiler reported diagnostic information by halting
the program when an error was found and outputting an error code on
its console. That code could be looked up by the programmer in an
error messages table in the operator's manual, providing them with a
brief description of the problem.
Fixed layout and punched cards
FORTRAN code on a punched card, showing the specialized uses of
columns 1–5, 6 and 73–80
Further information: Computer programming in the punched card era
Before the development of disk files, text editors and terminals,
programs were most often entered on a keypunch keyboard onto 80-column
punched cards, one line to a card. The resulting deck of cards would
be fed into a card reader to be compiled.
Punched card codes included
no lower-case letters or many special characters, and special versions
IBM 026 keypunch were offered that would correctly print the
re-purposed special characters used in FORTRAN.
Reflecting punched card input practice,
Fortran programs were
originally written in a fixed-column format, with the first 72 columns
read into twelve 36-bit words.
A letter "C" in column 1 caused the entire card to be treated as a
comment and ignored by the compiler. Otherwise, the columns of the
card were divided into four fields:
1 to 5 were the label field: a sequence of digits here was taken as a
label for use in DO or control statements such as GO TO and IF, or to
identify a FORMAT statement referred to in a WRITE or READ statement.
Leading zeros are ignored and 0 is not a valid label number.
6 was a continuation field: a character other than a blank or a zero
here caused the card to be taken as a continuation of the statement on
the prior card. The continuation cards were usually numbered 1, 2,
etc. and the starting card might therefore have zero in its
continuation column - which is not a continuation of its preceding
7 to 72 served as the statement field.
73 to 80 were ignored (the
IBM 704's card reader only used 72
Columns 73 to 80 could therefore be used for identification
information, such as punching a sequence number or text, which could
be used to re-order cards if a stack of cards was dropped; though in
practice this was reserved for stable, production programs. An
could be used to copy a program deck and add sequence numbers. Some
early compilers, e.g., the
IBM 650's, had additional restrictions due
to limitations on their card readers. Keypunches could be
programmed to tab to column 7 and skip out after column 72. Later
compilers relaxed most fixed-format restrictions, and the requirement
was eliminated in the
Fortran 90 standard.
Within the statement field, whitespace characters (blanks) were
ignored outside a text literal. This allowed omitting spaces between
tokens for brevity or including spaces within identifiers for clarity.
For example, AVG OF X was a valid identifier, equivalent to AVGOFX,
and 101010DO101I=1,101 was a valid statement, equivalent to 10101 DO
101 I = 1, 101 because the zero in column 6 is treated as if it were a
space (!), while 101010DO101I=1.101 was instead 10101 DO101I = 1.101,
the assignment of 1.101 to a variable called DO101I. Note the slight
visual difference between a comma and a period.
Hollerith strings, originally allowed only in FORMAT and DATA
statements, were prefixed by a character count and the letter H (e.g.,
26HTHIS IS ALPHANUMERIC DATA.), allowing blanks to be retained within
the character string. Miscounts were a problem.
IBM's FORTRAN II appeared in 1958. The main enhancement was to support
procedural programming by allowing user-written subroutines and
functions which returned values, with parameters passed by reference.
The COMMON statement provided a way for subroutines to access common
(or global) variables. Six new statements were introduced:
SUBROUTINE, FUNCTION, and END
CALL and RETURN
Over the next few years, FORTRAN II would also add support for the
DOUBLE PRECISION and COMPLEX data types.
Early FORTRAN compilers supported no recursion in subroutines. Early
computer architectures supported no concept of a stack, and when they
did directly support subroutine calls, the return location was often
stored in one fixed location adjacent to the subroutine code (e.g. the
IBM 1130) or a specific machine register (
IBM 360 et seq), which only
allows recursion if a stack is maintained by software and the return
address is stored on the stack before the call is made and restored
after the call returns. Although not specified in
Fortran 77, many F77
compilers supported recursion as an option, and the Burroughs
mainframes, designed with recursion built-in, did so by default. It
became a standard in
Fortran 90 via the new keyword RECURSIVE.
Simple FORTRAN II program
This program, for Heron's formula, reads data on a tape reel
containing three 5-digit integers A, B, and C as input. There are no
"type" declarations available: variables whose name starts with I, J,
K, L, M, or N are "fixed-point" (i.e. integers), otherwise
floating-point. Since integers are to be processed in this example,
the names of the variables start with the letter "I". The name of a
variable must start with a letter and can continue with both letters
and digits, up to a limit of six characters in FORTRAN II. If A, B,
and C cannot represent the sides of a triangle in plane geometry, then
the program's execution will end with an error code of "STOP 1".
Otherwise, an output line will be printed showing the input values for
A, B, and C, followed by the computed AREA of the triangle as a
floating-point number occupying ten spaces along the line of output
and showing 2 digits after the decimal point, the .2 in F10.2 of the
FORMAT statement with label 601.
C AREA OF A TRIANGLE WITH A STANDARD SQUARE ROOT FUNCTION
C INPUT - TAPE READER UNIT 5, INTEGER INPUT
C OUTPUT - LINE PRINTER UNIT 6, REAL OUTPUT
C INPUT ERROR DISPLAY ERROR OUTPUT CODE 1 IN JOB CONTROL LISTING
READ INPUT TAPE 5, 501, IA, IB, IC
501 FORMAT (3I5)
C IA, IB, AND IC MAY NOT BE NEGATIVE OR ZERO
C FURTHERMORE, THE SUM OF TWO SIDES OF A TRIANGLE
C MUST BE GREATER THAN THE THIRD SIDE, SO WE CHECK FOR THAT, TOO
IF (IA) 777, 777, 701
701 IF (IB) 777, 777, 702
702 IF (IC) 777, 777, 703
703 IF (IA+IB-IC) 777, 777, 704
704 IF (IA+IC-IB) 777, 777, 705
705 IF (IB+IC-IA) 777, 777, 799
777 STOP 1
C USING HERON'S FORMULA WE CALCULATE THE
C AREA OF THE TRIANGLE
799 S = FLOATF (IA + IB + IC) / 2.0
AREA = SQRTF( S * (S - FLOATF(IA)) * (S - FLOATF(IB)) *
+ (S - FLOATF(IC)))
WRITE OUTPUT TAPE 6, 601, IA, IB, IC, AREA
601 FORMAT (4H A= ,I5,5H B= ,I5,5H C= ,I5,8H AREA= ,F10.2,
+ 13H SQUARE UNITS)
A FORTRAN coding form, printed on paper and intended to be used by
programmers to prepare programs for punching onto cards by keypunch
operators. Now obsolete.
IBM also developed a FORTRAN III in 1958 that allowed for inline
assembly code among other features; however, this version was never
released as a product. Like the 704 FORTRAN and FORTRAN II, FORTRAN
III included machine-dependent features that made code written in it
unportable from machine to machine. Early versions of FORTRAN provided
by other vendors suffered from the same disadvantage.
IBM 1401 FORTRAN
FORTRAN was provided for the
IBM 1401 computer by an innovative
63-phase compiler that ran entirely in its core memory of only 8000
(six-bit) characters. The compiler could be run from tape, or from a
2200-card deck; it used no further tape or disk storage. It kept the
program in memory and loaded overlays that gradually transformed it,
in place, into executable form, as described by Haines. This
article was reprinted, edited, in both editions of Anatomy of a
Compiler  and in the
IBM manual "
Fortran Specifications and
IBM 1401". The executable form was not
entirely machine language; rather, floating-point arithmetic,
sub-scripting, input/output, and function references were interpreted,
UCSD Pascal P-code by two decades.
IBM later provided a FORTRAN IV compiler for the 1400 series of
Starting in 1961, as a result of customer demands,
development of a FORTRAN IV that removed the machine-dependent
features of FORTRAN II (such as READ INPUT TAPE), while adding new
features such as a LOGICAL data type, logical Boolean expressions and
the logical IF statement as an alternative to the arithmetic IF
statement. FORTRAN IV was eventually released in 1962, first for the
IBM 7030 ("Stretch") computer, followed by versions for the
IBM 7094, and later for the
IBM 1401 in 1966.
By 1965, FORTRAN IV was supposed to be compliant with the standard
being developed by the American Standards Association X3.4.3 FORTRAN
At about this time FORTRAN IV had started to become an important
educational tool and implementations such as the University of
Waterloo's WATFOR and
WATFIV were created to simplify the complex
compile and link processes of earlier compilers.
Perhaps the most significant development in the early history of
FORTRAN was the decision by the American Standards Association (now
American National Standards Institute
American National Standards Institute (ANSI)) to form a committee
sponsored by BEMA, the Business Equipment Manufacturers Association,
to develop an American Standard Fortran. The resulting two standards,
approved in March 1966, defined two languages, FORTRAN (based on
FORTRAN IV, which had served as a de facto standard), and Basic
FORTRAN (based on FORTRAN II, but stripped of its machine-dependent
features). The FORTRAN defined by the first standard, officially
denoted X3.9-1966, became known as FORTRAN 66 (although many continued
to term it FORTRAN IV, the language on which the standard was largely
based). FORTRAN 66 effectively became the first industry-standard
version of FORTRAN. FORTRAN 66 included:
Main program, SUBROUTINE, FUNCTION, and BLOCK DATA program units
INTEGER, REAL, DOUBLE PRECISION, COMPLEX, and LOGICAL data types
COMMON, DIMENSION, and EQUIVALENCE statements
DATA statement for specifying initial values
Intrinsic and EXTERNAL (e.g., library) functions
GO TO, computed GO TO, assigned GO TO, and ASSIGN statements
Logical IF and arithmetic (three-way) IF statements
DO loop statement
READ, WRITE, BACKSPACE, REWIND, and ENDFILE statements for sequential
FORMAT statement and assigned format
CALL, RETURN, PAUSE, and STOP statements
Hollerith constants in DATA and FORMAT statements, and as arguments to
Identifiers of up to six characters in length
FORTRAN-77 program with compiler output, written on a CDC 175 at RWTH
Aachen University, Germany, in 1987
4.3 BSD for the
Digital Equipment Corporation
Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) VAX, displaying
the manual for FORTRAN 77 (f77) compiler
After the release of the FORTRAN 66 standard, compiler vendors
introduced several extensions to Standard Fortran, prompting ANSI
committee X3J3 in 1969 to begin work on revising the 1966 standard,
under sponsorship of CBEMA, the Computer Business Equipment
Manufacturers Association (formerly BEMA). Final drafts of this
revised standard circulated in 1977, leading to formal approval of the
new FORTRAN standard in April 1978. The new standard, called FORTRAN
77 and officially denoted X3.9-1978, added a number of significant
features to address many of the shortcomings of FORTRAN 66:
Block IF and END IF statements, with optional ELSE and ELSE IF
clauses, to provide improved language support for structured
DO loop extensions, including parameter expressions, negative
increments, and zero trip counts
OPEN, CLOSE, and INQUIRE statements for improved I/O capability
Direct-access file I/O
IMPLICIT statement, to override implicit conventions that undeclared
variables are INTEGER if their name begins with I, J, K, L, M, or N
(and REAL otherwise)
CHARACTER data type, replacing Hollerith strings with vastly expanded
facilities for character input and output and processing of
PARAMETER statement for specifying constants
SAVE statement for persistent local variables
Generic names for intrinsic functions (e.g. SQRT also accepts
arguments of other types, such as COMPLEX or REAL*16 ).
A set of intrinsics (LGE, LGT, LLE, LLT) for lexical comparison of
strings, based upon the
ASCII collating sequence. (These ASCII
functions were demanded by the U.S. Department of Defense, in their
conditional approval vote.)
In this revision of the standard, a number of features were removed or
altered in a manner that might invalidate formerly standard-conforming
programs. (Removal was the only allowable alternative to X3J3 at that
time, since the concept of "deprecation" was not yet available for
ANSI standards.) While most of the 24 items in the conflict list (see
Appendix A2 of X3.9-1978) addressed loopholes or pathological cases
permitted by the prior standard but rarely used, a small number of
specific capabilities were deliberately removed, such as:
Hollerith constants and Hollerith data, such as GREET = 12HHELLO
Reading into an H edit (Hollerith field) descriptor in a FORMAT
Overindexing of array bounds by subscripts
Transfer of control out of and back into the range of a DO loop (also
known as "Extended Range")
Variants: Minnesota FORTRAN
Control Data Corporation
Control Data Corporation computers had another version of FORTRAN 77,
called Minnesota FORTRAN (MNF), designed especially for student use,
with variations in output constructs, special uses of COMMONs and DATA
statements, optimizations code levels for compiling, and detailed
error listings, extensive warning messages, and debugs.
Transition to ANSI Standard Fortran
The development of a revised standard to succeed FORTRAN 77 would be
repeatedly delayed as the standardization process struggled to keep up
with rapid changes in computing and programming practice. In the
meantime, as the "Standard FORTRAN" for nearly fifteen years, FORTRAN
77 would become the historically most important dialect.
An important practical extension to FORTRAN 77 was the release of
MIL-STD-1753 in 1978. This specification, developed by the U.S.
Department of Defense, standardized a number of features implemented
by most FORTRAN 77 compilers but not included in the ANSI FORTRAN 77
standard. These features would eventually be incorporated into the
Fortran 90 standard.
DO WHILE and END DO statements
IMPLICIT NONE variant of the IMPLICIT statement
Bit manipulation intrinsic functions, based on similar functions
Industrial Real-Time Fortran (ANSI/ISA S61.1 (1976))
POSIX Standard, released in 1991, provided a simple
means for FORTRAN 77 programmers to issue
POSIX system calls. Over
100 calls were defined in the document – allowing access to
POSIX-compatible process control, signal handling, file system
control, device control, procedure pointing, and stream I/O in a
The much-delayed successor to FORTRAN 77, informally known as Fortran
90 (and prior to that,
Fortran 8X), was finally released as ISO/IEC
standard 1539:1991 in 1991 and an ANSI Standard in 1992. In addition
to changing the official spelling from FORTRAN to Fortran, this major
revision added many new features to reflect the significant changes in
programming practice that had evolved since the 1978 standard:
Free-form source input, also with lowercase
Identifiers up to 31 characters in length (In the previous standard,
it was only six characters).
Ability to operate on arrays (or array sections) as a whole, thus
greatly simplifying math and engineering computations.
whole, partial and masked array assignment statements and array
expressions, such as X(1:N)=R(1:N)*COS(A(1:N))
WHERE statement for selective array assignment
array-valued constants and expressions,
user-defined array-valued functions and array constructors.
Modules, to group related procedures and data together, and make them
available to other program units, including the capability to limit
the accessibility to only specific parts of the module.
A vastly improved argument-passing mechanism, allowing interfaces to
be checked at compile time
User-written interfaces for generic procedures
Derived (structured) data types
New data type declaration syntax, to specify the data type and other
attributes of variables
Dynamic memory allocation
Dynamic memory allocation by means of the ALLOCATABLE attribute and
the ALLOCATE and DEALLOCATE statements
POINTER attribute, pointer assignment, and NULLIFY statement to
facilitate the creation and manipulation of dynamic data structures
Structured looping constructs, with an END DO statement for loop
termination, and EXIT and CYCLE statements for terminating normal DO
loop iterations in an orderly way
SELECT . . . CASE construct for multi-way selection
Portable specification of numerical precision under the user's control
New and enhanced intrinsic procedures.
Obsolescence and deletions
Unlike the prior revision,
Fortran 90 removed no features. (Appendix
B.1 says, "The list of deleted features in this standard is empty.")
Any standard-conforming FORTRAN 77 program is also standard-conforming
Fortran 90, and either standard should be usable to define its
A small set of features were identified as "obsolescent" and expected
to be removed in a future standard.
IF (X) 10, 20, 30
Non-integer DO parameters or control variables
DO 9 X= 1.7, 1.6, -0.1
Shared DO-loop termination or
termination with a statement
other than END DO or CONTINUE
DO 9 J= 1, 10
DO 9 K= 1, 10
9 L= J + K
Branching to END IF
from outside a block
66 GO TO 77 ; . . .
IF (E) THEN ; . . .
77 END IF
CALL SUBR( X, Y *100, *200 )
and assigned GO TO statement
100 . . .
ASSIGN 100 TO H
. . .
GO TO H . . .
Assigned FORMAT specifiers
ASSIGN 606 TO F ... WRITE ( 6, F )...
H edit descriptors
606 FORMAT ( 9H1GOODBYE. )
Computed GO TO statement
GO TO (10, 20, 30, 40), index
FOIL( X, Y )= X**2 + 2*X*Y + Y**2
among executable statements
DATA A, B, C / 5.0, 12.0, 13.0 /
. . .
CHARACTER* form of CHARACTER declaration
CHARACTER*8 STRING ! Use CHARACTER(8)
Assumed character length functions
Fixed form source code
Column 1 contains C or * or ! for comments.
Column 6 for continuation.
"Hello world" example
print *, "Hello world!"
end program helloworld
"F95" redirects here. For the Düsseldorf-based football club, see
Fortran 95 language features
Fortran 95, published officially as ISO/IEC 1539-1:1997, was a minor
revision, mostly to resolve some outstanding issues from the Fortran
90 standard. Nevertheless,
Fortran 95 also added a number of
extensions, notably from the
High Performance Fortran
High Performance Fortran specification:
FORALL and nested WHERE constructs to aid vectorization
User-defined PURE and ELEMENTAL procedures
Default initialization of derived type components, including pointer
Expanded the ability to use initialization expressions for data
Initialization of pointers to NULL()
Clearly defined that ALLOCATABLE arrays are automatically deallocated
when they go out of scope.
A number of intrinsic functions were extended (for example a dim
argument was added to the maxloc intrinsic).
Several features noted in
Fortran 90 to be "obsolescent" were removed
DO statements using REAL and DOUBLE PRECISION index variables
Branching to an END IF statement from outside its block
ASSIGN and assigned GO TO statement, and assigned format specifiers
H edit descriptor.
An important supplement to
Fortran 95 was the ISO technical report
TR-15581: Enhanced Data Type Facilities, informally known as the
Allocatable TR. This specification defined enhanced use of ALLOCATABLE
arrays, prior to the availability of fully
Fortran compilers. Such uses include ALLOCATABLE arrays as derived
type components, in procedure dummy argument lists, and as function
return values. (ALLOCATABLE arrays are preferable to POINTER-based
arrays because ALLOCATABLE arrays are guaranteed by
Fortran 95 to be
deallocated automatically when they go out of scope, eliminating the
possibility of memory leakage. In addition, elements of allocatable
arrays are contiguous, and aliasing is not an issue for optimization
of array references, allowing compilers to generate faster code than
in the case of pointers.)
Another important supplement to
Fortran 95 was the ISO technical
report TR-15580: Floating-point exception handling, informally known
IEEE TR. This specification defined support for IEEE
floating-point arithmetic and floating point exception handling.
Conditional compilation and varying length strings
In addition to the mandatory "Base language" (defined in ISO/IEC
1539-1 : 1997), the
Fortran 95 language also includes two
Varying length character strings (ISO/IEC 1539-2 : 2000)
Conditional compilation (ISO/IEC 1539-3 : 1998)
which, together, compose the multi-part International Standard
According to the standards developers, "the optional parts describe
self-contained features which have been requested by a substantial
body of users and/or implementors, but which are not deemed to be of
sufficient generality for them to be required in all
Fortran compilers." Nevertheless, if a
Fortran does provide such options, then they "must
be provided in accordance with the description of those facilities in
the appropriate Part of the Standard".
Fortran 2003, officially published as ISO/IEC 1539-1:2004, is a major
revision introducing many new features. A comprehensive summary of
the new features of
Fortran 2003 is available at the
Group (ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22/WG5) official Web site.
From that article, the major enhancements for this revision include:
Derived type enhancements: parameterized derived types, improved
control of accessibility, improved structure constructors, and
Object-oriented programming support: type extension and inheritance,
polymorphism, dynamic type allocation, and type-bound procedures,
providing complete support for abstract data types
Data manipulation enhancements: allocatable components (incorporating
TR 15581), deferred type parameters, VOLATILE attribute, explicit type
specification in array constructors and allocate statements, pointer
enhancements, extended initialization expressions, and enhanced
Input/output enhancements: asynchronous transfer, stream access, user
specified transfer operations for derived types, user specified
control of rounding during format conversions, named constants for
preconnected units, the FLUSH statement, regularization of keywords,
and access to error messages
IEEE floating-point arithmetic and floating point
exception handling (incorporating TR 15580)
Interoperability with the C programming language
Support for international usage: access to ISO 10646 4-byte characters
and choice of decimal or comma in numeric formatted input/output
Enhanced integration with the host operating system: access to command
line arguments, environment variables, and processor error messages
An important supplement to
Fortran 2003 was the ISO technical report
TR-19767: Enhanced module facilities in Fortran. This report provided
sub-modules, which make
Fortran modules more similar to Modula-2
modules. They are similar to Ada private child sub-units. This allows
the specification and implementation of a module to be expressed in
separate program units, which improves packaging of large libraries,
allows preservation of trade secrets while publishing definitive
interfaces, and prevents compilation cascades.
The most recent standard, ISO/IEC 1539-1:2010, informally known as
Fortran 2008, was approved in September 2010. As with Fortran
95, this is a minor upgrade, incorporating clarifications and
Fortran 2003, as well as introducing a select few new
capabilities. The new capabilities include:
Sub-modules – additional structuring facilities for modules;
supersedes ISO/IEC TR 19767:2005
Coarray Fortran – a parallel execution model
The DO CONCURRENT construct – for loop iterations with no
The CONTIGUOUS attribute – to specify storage layout restrictions
The BLOCK construct – can contain declarations of objects with
Recursive allocatable components – as an alternative to recursive
pointers in derived types
The Final Draft international Standard (FDIS) is available as document
An important supplement to
Fortran 2008 is the ISO Technical
Specification (TS) 29113 on Further Interoperability of
C, which has been submitted to ISO in May 2012 for approval.
The specification adds support for accessing the array descriptor from
C and allows ignoring the type and rank of arguments.
The next revision of the language (
Fortran 2018) was earlier referred
Fortran 2015. It is a significant revision and is planned
for release in mid-2018.
Fortran 2018 incorporates two previously published Technical
ISO/IEC TS 29113:2012 Further Interoperability with C
ISO/IEC TS 18508:2015 Additional Parallel Features in Fortran
Additional changes and new features include support for ISO/IEC/IEEE
60559:2011, hexadecimal input/output, IMPLICIT NONE enhancements and
Science and engineering
Although a 1968 journal article by the authors of
described FORTRAN as "old-fashioned", since
Fortran has been in
use for several decades there is a vast body of
Fortran software in
daily use throughout the scientific and engineering communities.
Jay Pasachoff wrote in 1984 that "physics and astronomy students
simply have to learn FORTRAN. So much exists in FORTRAN that it seems
unlikely that scientists will change to Pascal, Modula-2, or
whatever." In 1993, Cecil E. Leith called FORTRAN the "mother
tongue of scientific computing" adding that its replacement by any
other possible language "may remain a forlorn hope".
It is the primary language for some of the most intensive
super-computing tasks, such as astronomy, weather and climate
modeling, numerical linear algebra (LAPACK), numerical libraries (IMSL
and NAG), structural engineering, hydrological modeling, optimization,
satellite simulation and data analysis, computational fluid dynamics,
computational chemistry, computational economics and computational
physics. Many of the floating-point benchmarks to gauge the
performance of new computer processors – such as CFP2006, the
floating-point component of the SPEC CPU2006 benchmarks – are
written in Fortran.
On the other hand, more modern code generally uses large program
libraries such as
Trilinos for linear algebra capabilities,
METIS for graph partitioning, deal.II or FEniCS for mesh and finite
element support, and other generic libraries. Since the late 1990s,
almost all of the most widely used support libraries have been written
in C and, more often, C++. Consequently, a growing fraction of
scientific code is also written in these languages. For this reason,
facilities for inter-operation with C were added to
Fortran 2003, and
enhanced by ISO/IEC technical specification 29113, which will be
Fortran 2018. This shift is also evident in the
selection of applications between the SPEC CPU 2000 and SPEC CPU 2006
floating point benchmarks.
Voyager 1 and
Voyager 2 was originally
written in FORTRAN 5, and later ported to FORTRAN 77. As of
25 September 2013[update] some of the software is still in
Fortran and some has been ported to C.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (January
The precise characteristics and syntax of
Fortran 95 are discussed in
Fortran 95 language features.
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section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material
may be challenged and removed. (September 2011) (Learn how and when to
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Portability was a problem in the early days because there was no
agreed standard – not even IBM's reference manual –
and computer companies vied to differentiate their offerings from
others by providing incompatible features. Standards have improved
portability. The 1966 standard provided a reference syntax and
semantics, but vendors continued to provide incompatible extensions.
Although careful programmers were coming to realize that use of
incompatible extensions caused expensive portability problems, and
were therefore using programs such as The PFORT Verifier, it was not
until after the 1977 standard, when the National Bureau of Standards
(now NIST) published FIPS PUB 69, that processors purchased by the
U.S. Government were required to diagnose extensions of the standard.
Rather than offer two processors, essentially every compiler
eventually had at least an option to diagnose extensions.
Incompatible extensions were not the only portability problem. For
numerical calculations, it is important to take account of the
characteristics of the arithmetic. This was addressed by Fox et al. in
the context of the 1966 standard by the PORT library. The ideas
therein became widely used, and were eventually incorporated into the
1990 standard by way of intrinsic inquiry functions. The widespread
(now almost universal) adoption of the
IEEE 754 standard for binary
floating-point arithmetic has essentially removed this problem.
Access to the computing environment (e.g., the program's command line,
environment variables, textual explanation of error conditions)
remained a problem until it was addressed by the 2003 standard.
Large collections of library software that could be described as being
loosely related to engineering and scientific calculations, such as
graphics libraries, have been written in C, and therefore access to
them presented a portability problem. This has been addressed by
incorporation of C interoperability into the 2003 standard.
It is now possible (and relatively easy) to write an entirely portable
program in Fortran, even without recourse to a preprocessor.
Fortran 5 was marketed by
Data General Corp in the late 1970s and
early 1980s, for the Nova, Eclipse, and MV line of computers. It had
an optimizing compiler that was quite good for minicomputers of its
time. The language most closely resembles FORTRAN 66. The name is a
pun on the earlier FORTRAN IV.
FORTRAN V was distributed by
Control Data Corporation
Control Data Corporation in 1968 for the
CDC 6600 series. The language was based upon FORTRAN IV.
Univac also offered a compiler for the 1100 series known as FORTRAN V.
A spinoff of Univac
Fortran V was Athena FORTRAN.
Fortran 6 or Visual
Fortran 2001 was licensed to
Compaq by Microsoft.
They have licensed
Fortran and have provided the Visual
Studio 5 environment interface for
Compaq v6 up to v6.1.
Vendors of high-performance scientific computers (e.g., Burroughs,
Control Data Corporation
Control Data Corporation (CDC), Cray, Honeywell, IBM, Texas
Instruments, and UNIVAC) added extensions to
Fortran to take advantage
of special hardware features such as instruction cache, CPU pipelines,
and vector arrays. For example, one of IBM's FORTRAN compilers (H
Extended IUP) had a level of optimization which reordered the machine
code instructions to keep multiple internal arithmetic units busy
simultaneously. Another example is CFD, a special variant of FORTRAN
designed specifically for the
ILLIAC IV supercomputer, running at
NASA's Ames Research Center.
IBM Research Labs also developed an
extended FORTRAN-based language called VECTRAN for processing vectors
Object-Oriented Fortran was an object-oriented extension of Fortran,
in which data items can be grouped into objects, which can be
instantiated and executed in parallel. It was available for Sun, Iris,
iPSC, and nCUBE, but is no longer supported.
Such machine-specific extensions have either disappeared over time or
have had elements incorporated into the main standards. The major
remaining extension is OpenMP, which is a cross-platform extension for
shared memory programming. One new extension, Coarray Fortran, is
intended to support parallel programming.
FOR TRANSIT for the
FOR TRANSIT was the name of a reduced version of the
IBM 704 FORTRAN
language, which was implemented for the
IBM 650, using a translator
program developed at Carnegie in the late 1950s. The following
comment appears in the
IBM Reference Manual (FOR TRANSIT Automatic
Coding System C28-4038, Copyright 1957, 1959 by IBM):
The FORTRAN system was designed for a more complex machine than the
650, and consequently some of the 32 statements found in the FORTRAN
Programmer's Reference Manual are not acceptable to the FOR TRANSIT
system. In addition, certain restrictions to the FORTRAN language have
been added. However, none of these restrictions make a source program
written for FOR TRANSIT incompatible with the FORTRAN system for the
The permissible statements were:
Arithmetic assignment statements, e.g., a = b
GO to n
GO TO (n1, n2, ..., nm), i
IF (a) n1, n2, n3
DO n i = m1, m2
READ n, list
PUNCH n, list
DIMENSION V, V, V, ...
EQUIVALENCE (a,b,c), (d,c), ...
Up to ten subroutines could be used in one program.
FOR TRANSIT statements were limited to columns 7 through 56, only.
Punched cards were used for input and output on the
IBM 650. Three
passes were required to translate source code to the "IT" language,
then to compile the IT statements into SOAP assembly language, and
finally to produce the object program, which could then be loaded into
the machine to run the program (using punched cards for data input,
and outputting results onto punched cards).
Two versions existed for the 650s with a 2000 word memory drum: FOR
TRANSIT I (S) and FOR TRANSIT II, the latter for machines equipped
with indexing registers and automatic floating point decimal
(bi-quinary) arithmetic. Appendix A of the manual included wiring
diagrams for the
IBM 533 card reader/punch control panel.
Prior to FORTRAN 77, a number of preprocessors were commonly used to
provide a friendlier language, with the advantage that the
preprocessed code could be compiled on any machine with a standard
FORTRAN compiler. These preprocessors would typically support
structured programming, variable names longer than six characters,
additional data types, conditional compilation, and even macro
capabilities. Popular preprocessors included FLECS, iftran, MORTRAN,
SFtran, S-Fortran, Ratfor, and Ratfiv.
Ratfor and Ratfiv, for example,
implemented a C-like language, outputting preprocessed code in
standard FORTRAN 66. Despite advances in the
preprocessors continue to be used for conditional compilation and
One of the earliest versions of FORTRAN, introduced in the '60s, was
popularly used in colleges and universities. Developed, supported, and
distributed by the University of Waterloo, WATFOR was based largely on
FORTRAN IV. A student using WATFOR could submit their batch FORTRAN
job and, if there were no syntax errors, the program would move
straight to execution. This simplification allowed students to
concentrate on their program's syntax and semantics, or execution
logic flow, rather than dealing with submission Job Control Language
(JCL), the compile/link-edit/execution successive process(es), or
other complexities of the mainframe/minicomputer environment. A down
side to this simplified environment was that WATFOR was not a good
choice for programmers needing the expanded abilities of their host
processor(s), e.g., WATFOR typically had very limited access to I/O
devices. WATFOR was succeeded by
WATFIV and its later versions.
program; s=0 i=1,n; s=s+1; stop i; s='s' Stop
LRLTRAN was developed at the
Lawrence Radiation Laboratory
Lawrence Radiation Laboratory to provide
support for vector arithmetic and dynamic storage, among other
extensions to support systems programming. The distribution included
the LTSS operating system.
The Fortran-95 Standard includes an optional Part 3 which defines an
optional conditional compilation capability. This capability is often
referred to as "CoCo".
Fortran compilers have integrated subsets of the C preprocessor
into their systems.
SIMSCRIPT is an application specific
Fortran preprocessor for modeling
and simulating large discrete systems.
The F programming language was designed to be a clean subset of
Fortran 95 that attempted to remove the redundant, unstructured, and
deprecated features of Fortran, such as the EQUIVALENCE statement. F
retains the array features added in
Fortran 90, and removes control
statements that were made obsolete by structured programming
constructs added to both FORTRAN 77 and
Fortran 90. F is described by
its creators as "a compiled, structured, array programming language
especially well suited to education and scientific computing".
Lahey and Fujitsu teamed up to create
Fortran for the
Silverfrost FTN95 is also capable of creating .NET
Further information: Wikibooks:Fortran/
The following program illustrates dynamic memory allocation and
array-based operations, two features introduced with
Particularly noteworthy is the absence of DO loops and IF/THEN
statements in manipulating the array; mathematical operations are
applied to the array as a whole. Also apparent is the use of
descriptive variable names and general code formatting that conform
with contemporary programming style. This example computes an average
over data entered interactively.
! Read in some numbers and take the average
! As written, if there are no data points, an average of zero is
! While this may not be desired behavior, it keeps this example
real, dimension(:), allocatable :: points
integer :: number_of_points
real :: average_points=0.,
write (*,*) "Input number of points to average:"
read (*,*) number_of_points
write (*,*) "Enter the points to average:"
read (*,*) points
! Take the average by summing points and dividing by
if (number_of_points > 0) average_points = sum(points) /
! Now form average over positive and negative points only
if (count(points > 0.) > 0) then
positive_average = sum(points, points > 0.) / count(points
if (count(points < 0.) > 0) then
negative_average = sum(points, points < 0.) / count(points
! Print result to terminal
write (*,'(a,g12.4)') 'Average = ', average_points
write (*,'(a,g12.4)') 'Average of positive points = ',
write (*,'(a,g12.4)') 'Average of negative points = ',
end program average
During the same FORTRAN standards committee meeting at which the name
"FORTRAN 77" was chosen, a satirical technical proposal was
incorporated into the official distribution bearing the title "Letter
O Considered Harmful". This proposal purported to address the
confusion that sometimes arises between the letter "O" and the numeral
zero, by eliminating the letter from allowable variable names.
However, the method proposed was to eliminate the letter from the
character set entirely (thereby retaining 48 as the number of lexical
characters, which the colon had increased to 49). This was considered
beneficial in that it would promote structured programming, by making
it impossible to use the notorious GO TO statement as before.
(Troublesome FORMAT statements would also be eliminated.) It was noted
that this "might invalidate some existing programs" but that most of
these "probably were non-conforming, anyway".
During the standards committee battle over whether the "minimum trip
count" for the FORTRAN 77 DO statement should be zero (allowing no
execution of the block) or one (the "plunge-ahead" DO), another
facetious alternative was proposed (by Loren Meissner) to have the
minimum be two – since there is no need for a loop if it is
only executed once.
When assumed-length arrays were being added, there was a dispute as to
the appropriate character to separate upper and lower bounds. In a
comment examining these arguments, Dr. Walt Brainerd penned an article
Astronomy vs. Gastroenterology" because some proponents had
suggested using the star or asterisk ("*"), while others favored the
colon (":").
Fortran 77, variable names beginning with the letters I–N had a
default type of integer, while variables starting with any other
letters defaulted to real, although programmers could override the
defaults with an explicit declaration. This led to the joke: "In
Fortran, GOD is REAL (unless declared INTEGER)."
Computer programming portal
Fortran numerical libraries
List of programming languages
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importance whose general solution was an important research focus in
compiler technology for several decades. Many classical techniques for
compiler analysis and optimization can trace their origins and
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Nelson, D. Sayre, P. B. Sheridan; Ziller, I.; Hughes, R. A.; Nutt, R.;
Beeber, R. J.; Best, S.; Goldberg, R.; Haibt, L. M.; Herrick, H. L.;
Nelson, R. A.; Sayre, D.; Sheridan, P. B. (1957). "The FORTRAN
Automatic Coding System". Western joint computer conference:
Techniques for reliability. Los Angeles, California: Institute of
Radio Engineers, American Institute of Electrical Engineers, ACM:
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Compiler support for the
Fortran 2003 & 2008 standards". ACM
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ISO 1539-1980, informally known as FORTRAN 77.
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Standard – Programming Language
Fortran Extended. American National
Standards Institute / ISO/IEC. Archived from the original on 1 May
2002. Informally known as
ISO/IEC 1539-1:1997. Information technology – Programming languages
Fortran – Part 1: Base language (PDF). Informally known as
Fortran 95. There are a further two parts to this standard. Part 1 has
been formally adopted by ANSI.
ISO/IEC 1539-1:2004. Information technology – Programming languages
Fortran – Part 1: Base language (PDF). Informally known as
ISO/IEC 1539-1:2010 (Final Draft International Standard). Information
technology – Programming languages –
Fortran – Part 1: Base
language (PDF). [permanent dead link] Informally known as Fortran
Kneis, Wilfried (October 1981). "Industrial Real-Time FORTRAN". ACM
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doi:10.1145/947864.947868. ISSN 0362-1340.
ISO 8651-1:1988 Information processing systems – Computer graphics
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FORTRAN. Geneva, Switzerland: ISO. 1988.
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IBM System/360 and System/370
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Goerz, Michael (2014). "Modern
Fortran Reference Card" (PDF).
Adams, Jeanne C.; Brainerd, Walter S.; Hendrickson, Richard A.; Maine,
Richard E.; Martin, Jeanne T.; Smith, Brian T. (2009). The Fortran
2003 Handbook (1st ed.). Springer. ISBN 978-1-84628-378-9.
Akin, Ed (2003). Object Oriented Programming via
Fortran 90/95 (1st
ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-52408-3.
Chapman, Stephen J. (2007).
Fortran 95/2003 for Scientists and
Engineers (3rd ed.). McGraw-Hill. ISBN 978-0-07-319157-7.
Chivers, Ian; Sleightholme, Jane (2015). Introduction to Programming
Fortran (3rd ed.). Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-17700-7.
Etter, D. M. (1990). Structured FORTRAN 77 for Engineers and
Scientists (3rd ed.). The Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company, Inc.
Ellis, T. M. R.; Phillips, Ivor R.; Lahey, Thomas M. (1994). Fortran
90 Programming (1st ed.). Addison Wesley.
Kupferschmid, Michael (2002). Classical Fortran: Programming for
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Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Fortran
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Fortran
ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22/WG5 – the official home of
Fortran Standards Documents – G
History of FORTRAN and
Fortran II – Computer History Museum
FORTRAN Compilerator – an online FORTRAN F compiler for small
experiments and tinkering
Valmer Norrod, et al:"A self-study course in FORTRAN programing -
Volume I - textbook", Computer Science Corporation El Segundo,
California, (April,1970). NASA(N70-25287).
Valmer Norrod, Sheldom Blecher, and Martha Horton: "A self-study
course in FORTRAN programing - Volume II - workbook",
Vol.II (April,1970), NASA(N70-25288).
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