[Beowulf] A start in Parallel Programming?

Peter St. John peter.st.john at gmail.com
Tue Mar 13 13:35:05 PDT 2007

On 3/13/07, Lombard, David N <dnlombar at ichips.intel.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 13, 2007 at 12:33:50PM -0500, Peter St. John wrote:
> > Brown Dai-Sensei-Sama,
> >
> [deletia]
> >
> > Re: FORTRAN, for awhile there we didn't really compile it, but translate
> it
> > to C and then invoke the C compiler. That gets you the beauty of the
> > libraries and the efficiency of very sharply maintained C compilers, at
> the
> > same time.
> Hmm, FORTRAN was around long before C was even a gleam in Dennis' eyes ;)

Well sure; I learned FORTRAN myself only in 75, but it's from the 50's, and
Ken wrote B in the late 60's (to extend your "gleam in the eye" metaphor
beyond bearability, I'd say that Dennis carred the project to term). Nice
thing about B is that the formal definition fits in 2 pages.

So by "for awhile" I meant long ago (e.g. f77) but not **that** long ago.

>            Is there a good extant FORTRAN compiler? I wonder why, fortran
> is
> > easy to express in C (unlike conceptually variant languages, like APL or
> > LISP).
> Actually, outstanding Fortran compilers are available today.  As for why,
> "expressable in another language" shouldn't be confused in any way, shape,
> or
> form with "performs well another language."

I had thought that after some point (say, f77) the practical thing was to
translate fortran to C and use the C compiler, just because compiler writers
love C, adopted it hugely, and write great compilers. Apparently I was

But do we want to advise Kyle to learn FORTRAN? granted (as others have
pointed out) FORTRAN (and I"m glad somebody capitalizes it the old way as I
do) forces some discipline particularly apropos to computational efficiency,
but libraries have been written to do that. If I wanted to multiply
matrices, I wouldn't write my own with arrays of pointers, but would
download a library. Unless I needed to tweak some minute thing; then yeah,
I'd write it like FORTRAN, but I'd write it in C.

> David N. Lombard, Intel, Irvine, CA
> I do not speak for Intel Corporation; all comments are strictly my own.

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