FORTRAN FUN.

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12 Replies - 4154 Views - Last Post: 23 September 2007 - 04:51 AM Rate Topic: -----

#1 SPlutard  Icon User is offline

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FORTRAN FUN.

Posted 17 July 2006 - 05:38 PM

So, I'm an aspiring aerospace engineer, and miraculously (seemingly) my mom sat beside a current aero engineer on her plane ride today. She said that, while "modern" languages are nice, she (and other engineers, apparently) is still using Fortran. I was under the impression that such a dinosaur was, for all intents and purposes, dead.

So, does anything think that the engineering community in general would still be using Fortran? Do you think it would be worth learning? If so, anyone know any resources for it (I haven't had a chance to check our Resources section, but I'm doubtful since we don't have a forum for it....) for the web or otherwise that might help me get a leg up on it?

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Replies To: FORTRAN FUN.

#2 Nova Dragoon  Icon User is offline

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Re: FORTRAN FUN.

Posted 17 July 2006 - 05:53 PM

alot of old people use fortran, no thanks for me though

seriously, people still use it a lot, its real fast for math applications, and is decently high enough you aren't speaking machine.
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#3 Amadeus  Icon User is offline

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Re: FORTRAN FUN.

Posted 17 July 2006 - 05:58 PM

You may find it useful to learn, you may not. Fortran (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortran) was specifically developed for numerical and scientific computation. While there has been a decided drop in it's use among certified engineers in the last number of years, it will certainly be around a while longer. It is quite fast (although well written c++ is just as fast), but also has the advantage of being quite simplt to learn for non programmers with a mathmatical or scientific background (this is one of the main reasons it has endured).

There are many resources on the web, including free compilers and additonal librairies. Many of the tutorials are similar (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=fortran+tutorials&btnG=Search), but impart some excellent fundamentals.

Fortran is still in use, and will continue to be for some time. Is it necessary? Not in an absolute sense - modern programming languages can recreate the advantages or Fortran. Could it be useful? Certainly - many engineers (many older, but some younger as well) know Fortran as opposed to other languages, so it becomes an easier method of communicating ideas.

I learned it, and except for some collaborative work I did with a physicist back when I was a lab rat, I've never had to use it, but I'm glad I took the time. If you're good with math, you'll pick it up very quickly.
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#4 SPlutard  Icon User is offline

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Re: FORTRAN FUN.

Posted 17 July 2006 - 06:17 PM

I've been looking at some example Fortran programs. The syntax seems pretty simple, if simplistic. Like Nova said, at least it's not machine language... :P

On another note, do you think my Ubuntu will have the compiler pre-installed? Is there a package that I could get (one site mentioned something like f22??)? I assume I'd have to run it though a terminal/command line, right?
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#5 Amadeus  Icon User is offline

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Re: FORTRAN FUN.

Posted 17 July 2006 - 07:00 PM

Which version of Fortran do you want to use? There are a few flavours to choose from. :)
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#6 born2c0de  Icon User is offline

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Re: FORTRAN FUN.

Posted 18 July 2006 - 07:05 AM

My God...That is some wierd language.
each character in every column has a different meaning.

The only thing I can probably remember about FORTRAN now is what it stands for ;)
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#7 SPlutard  Icon User is offline

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Re: FORTRAN FUN.

Posted 18 July 2006 - 10:13 AM

View PostAmadeus, on 17 Jul, 2006 - 05:52 PM, said:

Which version of Fortran do you want to use? There are a few flavours to choose from. :)


Hmmmm. I didn't know that. Any suggestions? I'm not sure it really matters since I'm probably not going to go very in-depth. Perhaps the most recent flavor?? :blink:
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#8 DavidB  Icon User is offline

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Re: FORTRAN FUN.

Posted 25 July 2006 - 09:25 AM

View PostSPlutard, on 17 Jul, 2006 - 04:30 PM, said:

So, I'm an aspiring aerospace engineer, and miraculously (seemingly) my mom sat beside a current aero engineer on her plane ride today. She said that, while "modern" languages are nice, she (and other engineers, apparently) is still using Fortran.


Yes, that's about right.

FORTRAN was developed for mathematical and scientific applications, and there is such a huge code base out there, it is hard to leave behind. Especially in the aerospace industry, where people want to rely on code blocks that are fast, and well-developed. They do NOT want to take it on faith that some "new and improved" code will work.

Another example: the code in the LAPACK libraries is written in FORTRAN 77 and, since the source code is available for free, it has found its way into MANY other applications. In fact, I think even some commercial software packages (like MATLAB and STK) originally based much of their code on NETLIB routines.

As far as I know, FORTRAN is still the one to beat in terms of stability and speed of execution. Some C++ code is getting better (for example, the Boost libraries are excellent); however, not all FORTRAN code has yet been translated into good-quality C++ code. NETLIB offers f2c, a small utility that converts FORTRAN into C++; however, the resulting code is not as good as it would be if it were hand coded (for example, it converts FORTRAN GOTO statements into C++ goto statements instead of just cleaning up the code block properly). And so far, nobody has seen a need to properly re-write all the existing FORTRAN routines.

I would definitely recommend taking at least one course in FORTRAN. I doubt you are going to become a full-time coder (in which case, you should go into Computer Science rather than Aerospace Engineering); however, you should still know enough to read the basic code and get a rough idea what code does when you see it. Most decent universities will offer a FORTRAN course for their engineering students.
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#9 obeyyourmaster  Icon User is offline

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Re: FORTRAN FUN.

Posted 24 May 2007 - 08:30 AM

View PostAmadeus, on 17 Jul, 2006 - 07:00 PM, said:

Which version of Fortran do you want to use? There are a few flavours to choose from. :)

i'm using 77 but u can try 95 that lastest version
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#10 static-dragon  Icon User is offline

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Re: FORTRAN FUN.

Posted 12 July 2007 - 01:53 PM

It never hurts to learn anything, but only master FORTRAN if you feel you would use it on a daily basis, otherwise I say just learn the basics.
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#11 MorphiusFaydal  Icon User is offline

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Re: FORTRAN FUN.

Posted 13 July 2007 - 11:55 PM

View PostSPlutard, on 18 Jul, 2006 - 10:13 AM, said:

View PostAmadeus, on 17 Jul, 2006 - 05:52 PM, said:

Which version of Fortran do you want to use? There are a few flavours to choose from. :)


Hmmmm. I didn't know that. Any suggestions? I'm not sure it really matters since I'm probably not going to go very in-depth. Perhaps the most recent flavor?? :blink:


If you're using Ubuntu, you may already have the Fortran part of gcc installed. gfortran --version should show you what version you're running. If it's not installed, go into Synaptic and it'll be in there under compilers.
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#12 Louisda16th  Icon User is offline

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Re: FORTRAN FUN.

Posted 14 July 2007 - 08:41 PM

I believe Fortran is still used by NASA, Boeing, etc (thats what my cousin doing aerospace told me.).
Fortran 77 is the one which has been used the most, I think. But 95 has got a lot of problems removed from the previous versions.
If you know BASIC, Fortran shouldn't be much of a problem.

EDIT. mmm Didn't see when this thread was started :P!

This post has been edited by Louisda16th: 14 July 2007 - 11:41 PM

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#13 Predictor  Icon User is offline

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Re: FORTRAN FUN.

Posted 23 September 2007 - 04:51 AM

Yes, FORTRAN is still in wide use. Aside from inertia, some reasons are:

1. Very well-polished compilers are available.
2. The availability of supporting code (for the kinds of things done in FORTRAN) is vast.
3. FORTRAN performance is still competitive with alternatives (though I suspect this advantage is eroding).

On the negative side:


1. Within math-oriented communities (engineers, scientists, statisticians, etc.) FORTRAN popularity is probably somewhat localized.
2. FORTRAN popularity outside of math-oriented communities (and with whom one may need to interface) is weak.
3. Alternatives offering different (possibly desirable) trade-offs are growing in popularity, such as MATLAB.
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