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What is the full form of FORTRAN

FORTRAN: FORmula TRANslation

FORTRAN stands for Formula Translation. It is the first high-level programming language developed by John Backus in 1957. It was basically designed to write programs for high-performance computing and is mainly suited for numeric computing, scientific computing, and scientific applications that involve extensive mathematical computations. The main motive behind its design was to translate math formulas into code.

FORTRAN full form


Before the invention of FORTRAN, programmers used assembly/machine code to develop a program that was excessively difficult and time-consuming. This led to the invention of FORTRAN, which was simple to learn, machine-independent, makes mathematical calculations easy and is suitable for all types of applications. Since it was so easier to code, programmers were able to write their programs 500% faster in FORTRAN than the earlier ones.

FORTRAN IV and FORTRAN 77 are the most common versions of FORTRAN. FORTRAN IV became a USASI standard in 1966, and FORTRAN 77 was approved by ANSI in 1978. In the early 1990s, a new ISO and ANSI standard for FORTRAN called FORTRAN 90, was developed.


Some of the key features of this language are as follows:

  • Simple language: Easy to learn and understand.
  • Machine independent: A program can be transported from one machine to another machine.
  • Expresses complex mathematical functions: It offers various natural ways to express complex mathematical functions.
  • Efficient execution: Only around 20% decrease in efficiency as compared to assembly or machine code.
  • Storage allocation: It allows programmers to control the allocation of storage.
  • Freedom in code layout: The programmers don't need to lay out code in rigidly defined columns, unlike assembly or machine language.


  • FORTRAN 66
  • FORTRAN 77
  • FORTRAN 90
  • FORTRAN 95
  • FORTRAN 2003
  • FORTRAN 2008
  • FORTRAN 2015


  • Number crunching: Easy to solve algebraic problems.
  • Numeric computing
  • Scientific computing

FORTRAN's Syntax and Layout

A computer language created expressly for computations in science and engineering is called FORTRAN, which stands for FORmula TRANslation. It has a unique syntax and structure that makes numerical computations effective. The essential components of FORTRAN, including commands and subroutines, data types and variables, arrays and matrices, and control structures, will be discussed in this part.

Subroutines and Statements

Programs written in FORTRAN are made up of a series of statements that are carried out in order. Every sentence carries out a certain activity or process. A FORTRAN statement's syntax normally consists of an operation code, one or more operands, and a statement label (optional).

Take the following FORTRAN statement as an illustration:

In this statement, "Hello, World!" is the operand, "PRINT" is the operation code, and "100" is the statement label.

Subroutines are reusable sections of FORTRAN code that carry out particular tasks. They can be called from other areas of the program and are specified using the SUBROUTINE keyword. Subroutines aid in code organization and encourage modularity.

Variables and Data Types

To store various sorts of data, FORTRAN offers a number of distinct data types. Integers, real numbers, and characters are common data types. Each type of data has a defined accuracy and range.

Fortran uses variables to hold values of various data kinds. The DIMENSION or INTEGER keyword, the variable name, and the data type are used to declare them. The assignment operator = can be used to assign values to variables.

For instance:

Age is an integer variable, temperature is a real variable with an initial value of 98.6, and the name is a character variable with a length of 20 characters in the code sample above.

Matrices and Arrays

For the efficient storing and manipulation of several data components of the same kind, FORTRAN supports arrays and matrices. Matrix arrays are two-dimensional arrays. However, arrays might contain one or more dimensions.

Indexes are used to access array items. The indices rise consecutively, starting at 1 for the first element. Assignment statements and mathematical operations can be used to access or change an array's elements.

For instance:

grades(1) = 85.0

grades(2) = 92.5

grades(3) = 78.3

This bit of code declares a grades array with three items. Indexes are used to access the elements and set values to them.

Control Systems

Program flow can be changed in FORTRAN using control structures depending on predetermined circumstances or criteria. IF-THEN-ELSE and DO loops are the two control structures that are most often utilized.

The IF-THEN-ELSE expression enables the execution of code under conditions. The code included within the THEN block is performed if a specific condition is true. Otherwise, the ELSE block's code is carried out.

Iterative loops or DO loops repeat a sequence of statements until a given condition is satisfied or a predetermined number of times. This makes it possible to carry out repetitious duties effectively.

For instance,

The IF-THEN-ELSE statement in the code snippet above determines whether x is greater than 0 and produces the appropriate message. The numerals 1 through 10 are printed by the DO loop.

Finally, FORTRAN provides a defined syntax that makes it possible to accomplish engineering and scientific computations quickly. The building blocks of a program are statements and subroutines, and the handling of data is made easier by data types, variables, arrays, and matrices. Code can run based on circumstances or recurring activities thanks to control structures. It is essential to comprehend FORTRAN's structure and syntax in order to write efficient programs in this domain-specific language.

Applications of FORTRAN in Science, Engineering, and the Real World

For many years, FORTRAN has been utilized extensively in engineering and scientific research. It is appropriate for a variety of scientific areas, including physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering, because of its capacity to tackle challenging mathematical computations and numerical simulations. To create computational models, analyze data, and resolve challenging mathematical problems, scientists and engineers employ FORTRAN.

Climate and Weather Prediction

Modeling of the weather and climate mainly relies on sophisticated mathematical simulations. For creating weather and climate prediction models, FORTRAN is a preferred choice due to its effective numerical computation capabilities. Scientists can mimic atmospheric conditions, predict weather patterns, and research climate change with this technology. For climate simulations and weather forecasting, FORTRAN-based models are still widely used by research organizations and weather forecasting organizations.

To solve difficult mathematical equations and model physical systems, FORTRAN has been extensively utilized in computer physics. It enables researchers to simulate and examine physical phenomena, including astrophysics, fluid dynamics, and quantum mechanics. FORTRAN is a prominent language for computational physics research due to its performance and capacity for handling large-scale simulations.

Economic and Financial Modeling

Finance and economics have found a use for FORTRAN, notably in modeling quantitative finance and economics. Financial institutions create algorithms and models in FORTRAN to evaluate financial markets, improve investing approaches, and assess risk. It is suitable for difficult financial calculations due to its resilience and effective numerical computations.

The Impact of FORTRAN's Influence and Legacy on the Development of Programming Languages

The evolution of programming languages has been significantly influenced by FORTRAN. One of the earliest high-level programming languages, it introduced a number of ideas that are now commonplace in contemporary programming. Fortran invented ideas like loops, subroutines, and control structures, which other programming languages embraced and improved.

The Future of FORTRAN in Specialized Domains

Despite the introduction of more modern programming languages, FORTRAN is still useful in a few specialized fields. FORTRAN is still widely used in sectors that rely on numerical computations, scientific simulations, and legacy codebases. Due to its consistency, efficiency, and wide range of libraries, it continues to be the language of choice for many scientific and technical applications.

Contributions to and Significance in History

One of the first high-level programming languages, FORTRAN is notable in programming history. Its invention of it cleared the door for the evolution of computational science and programming. FORTRAN established ideas and principles that have affected other programming languages as well as the field of scientific computing.

FORTRAN's Issues and Limitations

Complications for Novices

For newcomers, FORTRAN's syntax and programming approach might be confusing. It is difficult for beginning programmers to understand due to its inflexible structure and lack of features seen in current languages. When compared to more contemporary programming languages, FORTRAN's learning curve may be more pronounced.

Absence of Features of Modern Language

Some contemporary language characteristics seen in more recent programming languages are absent from FORTRAN. It might not have built-in support for complex text manipulation, dynamic memory allocation, or object-oriented programming. Its adaptability in some areas may be constrained by this constraint.

Upkeep of Legacy Codebases

Updating and maintaining ancient FORTRAN codebases can be difficult as technology advances. Many businesses still use FORTRAN code that was created decades ago, and making sure that old codebases are compatible with contemporary systems and platforms may be a considerable undertaking.

The Prospects for FORTRAN

Updates and the Fortran Standardization Committee

The FORTRAN standard is still being maintained and updated by the Fortran Standardization Committee, which is made up of specialists from both business and academia. Fortran 2003, Fortran 2008, and Fortran 2018 are recent examples of new versions that have been produced to overcome language restrictions and provide contemporary functionality.

Using open-source software

Open-source FORTRAN implementations like GNU Fortran (gfortran) and Flang offer chances for community-driven growth and maintenance. By guaranteeing FORTRAN's compatibility with contemporary operating systems and platforms, these implementations add to the language's durability and accessibility.

The use of hybrid methods and interoperability

The requirement for compatibility across various programming languages and systems grows as computer technologies develop. For specialized jobs, hybrid techniques that combine FORTRAN with other languages like C, C++, or Python allow for the best of each language. This encourages compatibility and easy integration in contexts with several languages.

In conclusion, FORTRAN has cemented its position as an essential language for computations in science and engineering. Applications include engineering and scientific research, as well as financial modeling, computational physics, and weather forecasting. FORTRAN continues to have a considerable impact and legacy in the development of programming languages, despite difficulties, including difficulty for beginners and a lack of current language features. The Fortran Standardization Committee's initiatives, open-source implementations, and hybrid strategies, which guarantee FORTRAN's ongoing relevance and flexibility in a changing technological environment, are crucial to the language's future.

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