[Beowulf] Fortran is Awesome

Joe Landman joe.landman at gmail.com
Thu Nov 29 07:37:30 PST 2018

On 11/29/18 10:22 AM, Stu Midgley wrote:
>     But yeah, C can do anything Fortran can do, and then some. People do
>     not write operating systems in Fortran for a reason. 
> I've written a fortran-like scripting language (and the bones of a 
> basic compiler) in Fortran...  everything you can do in C you can do 
> in Fortran.
> People often use the lack of pointers as a reason to NOT use Fortran, 
> which is rubbish.  Just allocate the whole address space and go to 
> town with your own pointers. Which... if you really think about it is 
> all that C does. In theory the concept of a SIGSEG is only an OS 
> limitation on C.  You "can" in theory just allocate any address you 
> want without allocation and pre-allocation.

VMS comes to mind as a Fortran programmable OS.  I seem to remember 
other grad students ... er ... patching things ... with negative array 
indexes on Vaxen.  Though that's a while ago, and I might be suffering 

I wrote a command like argument processor for my fortran code like 
30-ish years ago (eek!) so I could at least pass arguments in "easily".  
I remember that was one of the things that caused me to look at C 

I love the "lets allocate all of memory and work in this giant 
heap-o-stuff" approach in Fortran.  Works great, until you have a 
routine with a slightly different view of how the memory is mapped.  
Then you get C-like pointer aliasing problems.  And debugging issues.  
Yeah, one giant heap, a memory map and a debugger.  Fun times (I had 
done quite a bit of that spelunking in the past).  I'd much rather leave 
the days of huge global common blocks alone.

Modern fortran appears to be much better at allocation and management of 
memory than C (where it is absolutely explicit). Likely it is far 
smarter on layouts as well, with various NUMA and heterogeneous 
processing systems.

> -- 
> Dr Stuart Midgley
> sdm900 at gmail.com <mailto:sdm900 at gmail.com>
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Joe Landman
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