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Released in 1957, Fortran is believed to be the oldest high-level programming language that is still widely in use today. Fortran is the focus of this category.

FORTRAN was an acronym for FOrmula TRANslation system, although it is no longer expressed in all-caps.

Work began on the language in late 1953, when John Backus submitted a proposal to his superiors at IBM to develop an alternative to assembly language. The chief aim of the general-purpose programming language was to make the computation of things in the fields of engineering and mathematics easier and more efficient.

A manual for the new language was published in the fall of 1956, and the first Fortran compiler was delivered in April of 1957. It was the first optimized compiler.

Although a journal article in 1968 described Fortran as old-fashioned, it has been in use for more than a half a century now, and it still produces a large body of software. Fortran is the primary language for super-computing tasks, used for such purposes as mathematics, engineering, statistics, and scientific computation.

Languages and extensions based on Fortran include FLECS, Iftran, MORTRAN, Ratfiv, Ratfor, SFtran, and S-Fortran. WATFOR is a version of Fortran that was distributed by the University of Waterloo in the 1960s. A variant of WATFOR is WATFIV. Major implementations of FORTRAN include Absoft, GFortran, G95, IBM XL Fortran, Intel Fortran, Hitachi Fortran, Lahey/Fujitsu Fortran, Numerical Algorithms Group, Open Watcom, PathScale, PGI, Silverfrost, Oracle Solaris Studio, and Visual Fortran.

Over the years, several Fortran compilers have been developed. By 1960, there were more than forty. A compiler is a platform upon with the programming code is organized in order for the computer to be able to understand the instructions. Some of the more common Fortran compilers include GNU gFORTRAN, Intel FORTRAN, and PgFORTRAN.

Topics related to Fortran, Fortran compilers, or other software specifically designed for use in the programming language are appropriate for this category, along with tutorials, guides, and user groups.

 

 

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