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Early and highly influential programming language designed by IBM in the 1950's, by now primarily used in numerical and scientific computing but on top of the usual inertia and the wide availability of libraries. FORTRAN can produce numerical code that is significantly faster that what you can expect from languages like C and Pascal and I/O speed, especially registered I/O is in a whole different league to CPL class languages like C and C++. While Fortran was a major influence on the European Algol languages in the late 1950's, things have essentially turned around 180 degrees with all FORTRAN standards since the early 70's being heavily influenced by structured Algol derivatives like Pascal and Modula-2.

Classic FORTRAN is always spelled all caps, Fortran 90 and later however are expected to be formatted as other nouns. We tend to use the older conventions here since only a couple of F90 OS/2 implementations showed up and they did not sell well so the bulk of OS/2 programming has traditionally been done in classic FORTRAN.


Developed primarily by John Backus then working from the IBM headquarters on Madison Avenue in New York City, USA and formally introduced as an optional software for the IBM 704 computer in April 1957 even though IBM had shipped versions in 1956. The basic idea behind FORTRAN was for it to resemble common algebra notation as much as possible.

Source code snippets, archives and collections

Small programs or routines that you can integrate into your own programs or study to learn from, but are not delivered in library form.


  • T. Ellis, et al: FORTRAN 77 Programming: with an Introduction to the FORTRAN 90 Standard - 1990, ISBN 0-201-41638-7
  • Bertrand Meyer: "Principles of Package Design" - Communications of the ACM 25(7): 419-428 (1982)



Fortran 2008
Standards bodies
  • Fortran Standards Committee homepage - The home of FORTRAN standardisation since 1966, although usually credited to ANSI the standard is actually developed by "National Committee for Information Technology Standards" (NCITS) nowadays known as "InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards " (INCITS), despite having no presence outside the USA.