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MathGroup Archive 2005

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Re: Proposal to get Stephen to Improve the lot ofSpace Shuttle Programmers

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg60405] Re: Proposal to get Stephen to Improve the lot ofSpace Shuttle Programmers
  • From: Bill Rowe <readnewsciv at earthlink.net>
  • Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2005 05:16:25 -0400 (EDT)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

On 9/14/05 at 3:27 AM, davidannetts at aapt.net.au (David Annetts)
wrote:

>>Can I get a conversation started about this topic? Will a tool to
>>convert FORTRAN to mathematica code be useful?

>I'd suggest that a tool going the other way (ie Mathematica to F95,
>F2K or some variety of c++) would be far more useful than a tool to
>convert Fortran code to Mathematica.  In this way, we might combine
>rapid application development (Mathematica) with vastly superior
>execution speed (pretty much any compiled language).

I agree compiled applications will generally have superior performance to Mathematica. And this will be particularly true of any FORTRAN code that is converted to Mathematica code in the simplest most straight forward way, i.e., the resulting Mathematica code is procedural and closely mimics the original FORTRAN code.

However when you conclude

>In summary, no, I don't think your tool would be particularly
>useful.

I disagree.

There is an obvious use for such a tool. There exists quite a bit of useful FORTRAN code in various texts and other places. And I for one, do not have ready access to a FORTRAN compiler. So, having a tool that would convert FORTRAN to Mathematica would allow me to take advantage of that code in a fairly straight forward manner even if the execution speed were less than optimum. Additionally, since I have a high familiarity with Mathematica as a consequence of using it nearly daily, this would give me a better starting point to get something with acceptable performance than the original FORTRAN code. It has been far too long since I have programmed anything in FORTRAN for me to regard myself as a competent FORTRAN programmer.

So despite the performance issue that will be there, I believe a tool to automate conversion of FORTRAN to Mathematica code would be useful.
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