Friday, December 02, 2011

Fortran is Back!

Times to dust off my old programming chops ...

James Reinders reports that Fortran is more popular than ever; Intel makes it FAST – Blogs - Intel® Software Network:

Just this past week, a senior radio telescope astronomer told me about the shift from C++ back to Fortran in his corner of the world. It is all about efficiency. He believes this is a trend that will get stronger as we head to ExaFLOP scale machines at the end of this decade.

I'm sure C++ has nothing to fear, but neither does Fortran.

As far as we can tell, there are more Fortran programmers today than ever. Fortran is almost certainly a smaller % of the market than ten years ago but numerically it has grown. This is because the Fortran population is not growing nearly as fast as programming in general. But it is an important piece of the pie.

And judging by the growth of science and high performance computing, this will continue.

Intel Fortran compilers are leading the way in performance, features and support for new standards.

What's Fortran good for? From Bridget Moore's interview of Steve Lionel on Why Fortran Matters.:

Q: What applications are best written in Fortran?
For something like string processing, Fortran would not be my first choice. But if you’re doing number crunching, working with a lot of floating-point data, or doing parallel processing, it’s an excellent choice. Its strengths in array operations -- its wide variety of routines -- make it attractive, and there is a huge library of freely available high-performance routines written over 40 years that still work together.

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