(j3.2006) Fortran user interest survey

Van Snyder Van.Snyder
Fri Jul 8 14:13:25 EDT 2016

What Damian is suggesting is much closer to what we did in 2004 than in
2011-2012.  It appears to include even more public outreach than Walt
coordinated on his web site.  If we actually pay attention to what users
want, and consider proposals in plenary instead of vetoing some in
subgroup, the process should be at least as good as what we did in 2004.

On Fri, 2016-07-08 at 10:55 -0700, Damian Rouson wrote:
> All,
> I believe the committee voted to entertain new features no sooner than
> 2017.  I offered to assist with developing a strategic plan to inform
> new feature considerations.  I  A sample table of contents and summary
> from a plan I wrote is available here: http://bit.ly/29ts0Xt.  A
> useful first step is surveying stakeholders. I welcome suggestions for
> survey content and to conduct the survey soon or closer to 2017.
> I suggest including an open-ended question.  Would it also be useful
> to survey interest in broad concepts such as generic programming and
> programming by contract?  Would it be useful to include demonstrations
> of the form such concepts might take?  Would it be useful to have
> links to past papers that committee members plan to propose again?  Do
> we want an optional question on user characteristics such as
> profession, employer, market sector, job title, application domain,
> and platform choice?  I will collect suggested questions and place
> them in a template on SurveyMonkey.com for committee review.
> As I noted earlier, I detect a disconnect between user interests and
> what implementors report hearing from users. For example, several
> vendors say they have not heard interest in coarray Fortran (CAF). Yet
> OpenCoarrays releases have been downloaded a minimum of 936 times in
> the first year of release (http://bit.ly/29nkCez), not including
> repository clones and installations via package management, which
> would probably add several hundred more.  Also, survey data from 110
> respondents over 8 training course sites shows 75% of respondents see
> learning CAF as somewhat or very important prior to attending the
> course (http://bit.ly/29nnjgm).  Anecdotally, short-course attendees
> found CAF of sufficient interest that they suggested moving the CAF
> material from the end to the beginning of the courses.   Similarly,
> although the graduate course I teach at Stanford is focused on
> object-oriented design, I revised it in the most recent offering to
> use CAF features from the first lecture onward and the students gave
> the course strong reviews. Somehow the user interest in at least this
> feature isn?t reaching vendors.
> Lastly, I hope a survey will illuminate user interests and help
> prioritize feature considerations, but I also think it?s important to
> lead.  Technology history is littered with examples of products that
> became very popular even though most users weren?t requesting or even
> conceiving of the product in advance. 
> Best Regards,
> _________________________________
> Damian Rouson, Ph.D., P.E.
> President
> A California public-benefit nonprofit corporation
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