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see programming languageprogramming language,
syntax, grammar, and symbols or words used to give instructions to a computer. Development of Low-Level Languages

All computers operate by following machine language programs, a long sequence of instructions called machine code that is
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a programming language; more precisely, a family of such languages that evolved from the original version developed in 1957 in the USA under the supervision of J. W. Backus. The name derives from “formula translation,” referring to the translation of programs written in FORTRAN into machine language. FORTRAN contains statements for assignment, conditions, cyclic operation, subroutines, storage allocation, and real and complex variables, which may have logical, integer, real, or complex values; it also includes highly developed statements for input-output. FORTRAN is the most widely used programming language for scientific and engineering calculations. The language’s specifications are fixed in several national and international standards.


Pervin, Iu. A. Osnovy FORTRANa, Moscow, 1972.
Germain, C. Programmirovanie na IBM/360, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1973. (Translated from English.)
Fortran (programming textbook). Kiev, 1976.
American Standard FORTRAN: Approved March 7, 1966. New York, 1966.


(computer science)
A family of procedure-oriented languages used mostly for scientific or algebraic applications; derived from formula translation.


(Formula Translation) The first and, for a long time, the most widely used programming language for numerical and scientific applications. The original versions lacked recursive procedures and block structure and had a line-oriented syntax in which certain columns had special significance.

There have been a great many versions.

The name is often written "FORTRAN", harking back to the days before computers were taught about lower case, but ANSI decreed, in about 1985 via the ANSI FORTRAN Technical Committee TC, that it should be "Fortran".

See also: Fortrash.


(FORmula TRANslator) The first high-level programming language and compiler, developed in 1954 by IBM. It was originally designed to express mathematical formulas, and although it has been used for business applications, it is primarily used for scientific, engineering and mathematical problems. FORTRAN IV is an ANSI standard, but FORTRAN V has various proprietary versions. The following FORTRAN example converts Fahrenheit to Celsius:

   write(6,*) 'Enter Fahrenheit '
   read(5,*) XFAHR
   XCENT = (XFAHR - 32) * 5 / 9
   write(6,*) 'Celsius is ', XCENT
References in periodicals archive ?
HAMBURG, June 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Portland Group(R), a wholly-owned subsidiary of STMicroelectronics and a leading supplier of compilers for high-performance computing (HPC), today announced an agreement with NVIDIA under which the two companies plan to develop new Fortran language support for CUDA GPUs.
PVF also supports CUDA Fortran language extensions.
6 /PRNewswire/ -- Digital Equipment Corporation (NYSE: DEC) today unveiled a comprehensive software suite for the fast growing massively parallel computing segment, including the first mainstream development tool and a new Fortran language compiler.
A high-performance version of the FORTRAN language, it is seen as a critical component in stimulating growth in scientific and technical application program development for these systems.
SunSoft also introduced SunSoft Performance WorkShop for Fortran 90 which supports the new Fortran language standard and includes a new SPARC(R) optimized performance library.
SunSoft and CraySoft are working together to produce a Fortran language system that is compatible across both Sun Microsystems and Cray Research SPARC systems running the Solaris operating environment, including the Cray Superserver 6400 series.