MathGroup Archive 2001

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Re: PS.

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg29608] Re: PS.
  • From: "Orestis Vantzos" <atelesforos at>
  • Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 05:27:58 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: National Technical University of Athens, Greece
  • References: <9guo4t$nt8$> <9h1b0v$rki$> <9hc899$40j$>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

That's the whole point! Mathematical computing is locked into a loop, using
FORTRAN just because you use FORTRAN! Not because it offers any actual
advantage, or any other sane reason, but just because its use is so
Someone should have taken the initiative and translated all major FORTRAN
libraries into C (or C++ or Mathematica) when the volume of FORTRAN code was
still manageable. Now it just keeps getting harder (and more necessary).
I tried once to translate a (small) FORTRAN routine into C. I printed 5
pages of code, glued it together and started tracing the goto's. After 3
hours of hopeless cutting and pasting, I gave up and wrote the whole thing
in Mathematica.
Senior members of the mathematical community still consider FORTRAN a viable
solution to mathematical computing. This has the following effects:
a) Computer algebra systems are not adopted ...(the "why buy Mathematica,
when you have FORTAN?" argument)
b) Young researchers are forced to implement new techniques in FORTRAN, just
so that their supervisors can understand their code...
c) ...which reinforces the choke-hold FORTRAN has on mathematics.
d) Young mathematicians are introduced to Scientific Computation with the
use of FORTRAN, which makes thinking in other paradigms (such as
rules-programming or list-programming or even OOP) more difficult.
So, "FORTRAN is dead, stop looting the corpse"!

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