The Doctor is IN!

.. testing. testing... Is this thing on? Oh, hi!

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Doctor Fortran 2.0. Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Steve Lionel, and I work for Intel's Developer Products Division. For the past four years, I've been part of Intel's compiler support team, but before that I spent nearly a quarter century in and around Fortran as a compiler and OS developer at DEC, then Compaq and now Intel.

Back in 1997, when we at DEC introduced DIGITAL Visual Fortran (as it was then known). I started a Visual Fortran Newsletter that was e-mailed to DVF users. The newsletter had a lot of technical articles written by members of the Fortran team and some outside contributors. At some point, I started writing a regular column on Fortran language issues, which I called "Doctor Fortran". This ran from May 1998 through the last newsletter in September 2001, a month after the Fortran team was acquired by Intel. (You can read a selection of the articles from past newsletters in the Intel® Visual Fortran Community Forum.)

I had always wanted to continue Doctor Fortran, as I had a lot of fun with this, but never quite found the right medium. When the Intel® Software Network folks first approached me about doing a blog, I initially resisted, as I thought of blogs as full of such fascinating topics such as "what I had for breakfast" and "did you ever wonder why dryer lint is gray?" But I then realized that I had already been blogging, before the word was created. The newsletters did get posted on the web, so that was part of (we)blogging. The feedback element was different, but it was there as I did get e-mail from users in response to columns. So, I accepted, and here we are...

In future columns.. er.. posts (c'mon Steve, get with those newfangled terms!) I'll talk about Fortran past, present and future. I don't have a regular schedule in mind, it will be what interests me when I think of it, but suggestions for topics are always welcome. First up will be a look at Fortran 2003, and then perhaps a look ahead to what is currently being called Fortran 2008.

Notice that this post is in free-form source. It isn't all caps and doen't start in column 7. This is for the enlightenment of those for whom, when I mention Fortran, fondly recall doing something with it in the 1960s and, does anyone still use that? Well, yes, Fortran is very much still being used but today's Fortran is almost unrecognizeable to those who last knew it as FORTRAN IV. More next time...