Fortran (Formula Translation) is a computer language that is extensively used in numerical, scientific computing. While out with the scientific community, Fortran has declined in popularity over the years, it still has strong user base with scientific programmers.
What is Fortran language used for?
Fortran was originally named after the contraction of Formula Translation, highlighting
Fortran’s origins as a language designed specifically for mathematical calculations. Fortran was developed in the early 1950s and the first ever
Fortran program ran in 1954 – making
Fortran fairly unusual among programming languages in that it predates the modern transistor computer – the first Fortran program ran on the IBM 704 vacuum tube computer!
Fortran has outlived several nation states since its conception, and still is in wide use today in a number of specialised scientific communities. Unfortunately
Fortran is often referred to as an ‘outdated’ or ‘legacy’ programming language. I disagree with this description, as although
Fortran has a long history, the language continues to be updated, new features are developed and added to the Fortran language standard, and there is still a strong community behind Fortran.
“The latest Fortran standard was released in 2018, bringing many new features and keeping
Fortran a relevant, highly performant language for contemporary scientific computing challenges.”