[J3] A couple more ideas for features

Jeff Hammond jehammond at nvidia.com
Thu Apr 6 20:14:47 UTC 2023

On 6. Apr 2023, at 22.49, Van Snyder via J3 <j3 at mailman.j3-fortran.org> wrote:

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On Thu, 2023-04-06 at 13:53 +0000, Clune, Thomas L. (GSFC-6101) via J3 wrote:
Someone in the NASA community recently reached out to me with a few questions about the standard and potential new features.   After disabusing him of the ones that seemed non starters, I’m left with 2 that I feel obligate to float with the committee.

The first is a request to allow “^” as on operator.   The individual actually wanted to use it for numerical exponentiation, but I considered that to be a small benefit.   But it is true that Fortran has a relative paucity of symbols that can be used as operators, and most of those cannot be repurposed for use with intrinsics.    I suspect with generics, there may even be increased usage of user-defined operators, but admittedly this is purely conjectural.        I know we are frugal with allowing new characters, but maybe others have some solid use cases waiting to throw at this?

My colleagues asked for "\", as in MatLab, so they could define an operator useful to write matrix expressions involving multiplication on the left by a matrix inverse.

Jim Demmel has a famous homework problem in his course at Berkeley where students reverse engineer Matlab \.

I would encourage anyone proposing to add this feature to Fortran to first solve that homework problem and submit a paper to J3 with the results.

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