Lecture notes for 1989 MTU Summer Youth Program Exploration 109
01 JUL 1989 sat - last revised 08 JUL 1989 sat MONDAY: Dr. Phil's FORTRAN Confessions of a Computational Physicist versus Computer Science Is FORTRAN Dead, Dying or Out of Date? (NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) CS people keep trying to tell the world that FORTRAN, or BASIC or COBOL or whatever, is dead, and that everything will be written in C or Modula-2 or C++. Well, they said the same thing about APL, Pascal, PL-1 (IBM anyway), and FORTRAN is still here. Other comments : These are serious comments. (1) Working with computers can be VERY frustrating. The damned things either do EXACTLY what we tell them to do (rather than what we THOUGHT we told them to do. --or-- they fail in mystifyingly horrible ways that are too numerous and too unbelievable to do anything but generate great war stories with other computer users. (2) I know what I am doing, BUT.... I was called in last week to work this Exploration. The lab assistants were hired at noon on Thursday. I have only spent maybe 2 hours using the set-up we will be using, which means that there could be trouble. I did not choose the FORTRAN compilier we will be using (WATFOR-77). I would not have used this compilier if I had had a choice. I feel my job is to teach you standard FORTRAN-77, and this compilier has a lot of non-standard stuff in it. (3) If you have trouble ... First, check for typos. The best thing you can do to help your computing is learn to touch type and to proofread quickly. Second, look to see if you followed the rules. The computer will try to tell you what is wrong, but sometimes it is not very informative, or misleads you. Third, some lovely direction that I have given you may not work in the PC Lab because of the network or because of WATFOR-77. Therefore, it is important to listen in the lab, in case I have to revise some directions. You may be used to having teachers that seem infallible. This is much more unstructured and tailored to your needs. And I wish to quickly correct any errors. (4) Many things will not be clear as I talk about them However, they may make a LOT more sense when you actually sit down and try them. It's just that it's a heckuva lot easier to talk to 23 people in a classroom like this, rather than shouting to everyone while they go running off in all directions.