About the Author

Douglas EadlineDouglas Eadline PhD, is both a practitioner and a chronicler of the Linux Cluster HPC revolution. He has worked with parallel computers since 1988 and is a co-author of the original Beowulf How To document.  Prior to starting and editing the popular http://clustermonkey.net web site in 2005, he served as Editor-in-chief for ClusterWorld Magazine. He is currently Senior HPC Editor for Linux Magazine and a consultant to the HPC industry. Doug holds a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from Lehigh University and has been building, deploying, and using Linux HPC clusters since 1995.

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A blog about making HPC things (kind of) work

Quick what is the following? 900 format (I4,F8.3). If you are confused, you are probably not part of the HPC community. It is a "Format" statement from the Fortran language (no longer needed in new versions). Confused or not, you may be inclined to think Fortran is that old dying language used by old retiring programmers. It is possible that you may not even know much about the language at all! In my experience, I have found many new programmers take an elitist view of Fortran. They normally talk of languages like Python, C++ or Java as "new" modern languages. "Why would anyone use Fortran?" they ask.

My reply is a question. "So are you going to re-write that 750,000 line Fortran program into Java because Java is fashionable today?" I reply. Some silence, then the classic, "Well for new programs, there is ..." To which I respond, "That may be true, but Fortran compilers are pretty darn good at optimizing numeric codes." The conversations about optimization usually head in another directions at that point.

Recently, I have read two surprising (and short) articles on Fortran programming. (Hint, Fortran use is growing not shrinking.) The first article is called "Why Fortran Still Matters" by Steve Lionel of Intel (known as ""Doctor Fortran").

The second is called "Fortran is more popular than ever; Intel makes it FAST" by James Reinders, also of Intel. Take a few moments and check out these articles. Fortran is not going anywhere.