The US Govt is still using FORTRAN for Climate Modeling

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pmikep

Well-known member
Dec 26, 2020
60
9
I just got off the phone with a Turbo Tax Level 2 support gal. She started by announcing that she is a tax lawyer with 17 years experience. I told her that, for our question, it would be better to have coding experience.

So then she said that she had taken a course in coding last year. (But couldn't remember the language she learned. It started with "P," she thought, but said it wasn't Pearl. So much for the class.)

Anyway, in the banter, she said that she has a cousin who works for the govt doing Climate Modeling and that they're still using FORTRAN.

We're doomed.

(Altho maybe I could get a job, since I was taught FORTRAN (actually, WATFIV) in college. I remember the "Go To's." And the "Come From's." :) )
 

DanR

Dan
Sep 17, 2020
205
52
I took a FORTRAN coding class as a freshman in college. Never used it for anything since. But it was FUN!!!
 
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pmikep

Well-known member
Dec 26, 2020
60
9
For some reason, WATFOR sticks in my head. Maybe they had just transitioned to WATFIV while I was in school?

Since we're reminiscing, I remember late nights with punch-cards, watching the IBM 360 routinely crash as I tried to debug my project, due the next day. (Something about they had tried to make the main frame be a multi-user time share machine, when it was meant for batch jobs?)

And a freezing cold punch-card room.

I understand the need to keep the computer cool. But it seems like someone had put the thermostat in the room where people lived.
 

PHolder

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2020
771
2
359
Ontario, Canada
There is absolutely nothing wrong with FORTRAN for numerical computing. It's what it was DESIGNED FOR[tran] ;) It stands for FORmula TRANslator after all. You don't need a lot of object oriented BS if you're just doing straightforward computations. (There isn't much reuse to be had.) And these days, much like COBOL, FORTRAN has evolved to be rid of the line numbers left over from the days where you needed them if you accidentally dropped your deck of punch cards.

All the same, it's entirely possible that something like Matlab or Wolfram Alpha's language, or whatever is fine for some purposes... and there are lots of statistical tools for interactive computing (including spreadsheets, or something like SAS or even the Minitab I used in intro stats in university.)
 

danlock

Well-known member
Sep 30, 2020
169
55
USA
There is absolutely nothing wrong with FORTRAN for numerical computing. It's what it was DESIGNED FOR[tran] ;) It stands for FORmula TRANslator after all. You don't need a lot of object oriented BS if you're just doing straightforward computations. (There isn't much reuse to be had.) And these days, much like COBOL, FORTRAN has evolved to be rid of the line numbers left over from the days where you needed them if you accidentally dropped your deck of punch cards.

All the same, it's entirely possible that something like Matlab or Wolfram Alpha's language, or whatever is fine for some purposes... and there are lots of statistical tools for interactive computing (including spreadsheets, or something like SAS or even the Minitab I used in intro stats in university.)
I've got it on good authority that the way to keep your cards in order the easiest is by drawing a diagonal line across the end when they're sorted. It makes them easier to put back in the correct order if you drop them!
 

Barry Wallis

Magician in Training
I've got it on good authority that the way to keep your cards in order the easiest is by drawing a diagonal line across the end when they're sorted. It makes them easier to put back in the correct order if you drop them!
If you have a version of FORTRAN that can execute multiple commands on one card, the easiest way to avoid the cards getting out of order is for each csard to GOTO the next one. That way if you drop your deck, you only need to put a GOTO 10 card at the front and you are all set. :)
 

Barry Wallis

Magician in Training
For some reason, WATFOR sticks in my head. Maybe they had just transitioned to WATFIV while I was in school?
Yep! FORTRAN -> WATFOR -> WATFIV

I still have my original 1976 copy of Software Tools by Kernighan and Plauger where they develop the RATFOR (Rational Fortran) processor to take RATFOR code and translate it to Fortran.
 
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Brian Tillman
Sep 23, 2020
17
3
I think Fortran was a great language. I could do just about anything in that language. I found it especially good at handling character strings.Started coding with it when it was Fortran II D. Practically memorized the ANSI standard.