(j3.2006) (SC22WG5.4192) WG5 Las Vegas Feb-2010/J3 m191 minutes 10-144

Bill Long longb
Tue Feb 23 16:55:50 EST 2010

Van Snyder wrote:

> As far as I can tell, the C++ version will need 20 work years per year
> for the indefinite future.  This isn't quite the factor of six greater
> than the historic staff of 7.5 that Les Hatton predicted, but it is a
> factor of 13 more than the current staff of 1.5 for the Fortran program.
> The C++ replacement is definitely neither a reduction in ownership cost
> nor an improvement in reliability.  But we might be stuck with it.

Thanks for writing down the C++ costs story - a useful reference.

> The only way to make Fortran attractive to young people is to keep it on
> a track to becoming and remaining a modern language, or, better yet, to
> offer unique features aimed at reducing the cost and increasing the
> reliability of engineering and scientific computing that aren't offered
> by any other significantly-used language.  If we stop development now,
> even if only for a ten-year hiatus, the perception of Fortran as an
> irrelevant fossil will only be re-enforced.

As Malcolm has already noted, past predictions of a "maintenance only" 
update of Fortran have always turned out to be substance-free.  If the 
goal is to get coders under the age of 50 (arbitrary dividing line) 
interested in Fortran, then I think that enabling OOP and making Fortran 
a natively parallel language are both winners. At least that's been my 
experience so far.  Somehow, I don't think that a physical units 
facility has comparable sex appeal.  I'm not arguing that the facility 
is useless, just that it doesn't have a strong correlation to "make 
Fortran attractive to young people".    I'm sure there will be a wish 
list for the next revision that is too long, and we (WG5) will have to 
make choices, as always.


Bill Long                                           longb at cray.com
Fortran Technical Support    &                 voice: 651-605-9024
Bioinformatics Software Development            fax:   651-605-9142
Cray Inc./Cray Plaza, Suite 210/380 Jackson St./St. Paul, MN 55101

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