View Full Version : [FORTRAN] Worth Learning?

elbarto_87

November 19th, 2008, 11:26 AM

As I continue to work on my thesis on matrix structural analysis, I have been finding a number of older text books that have program functions to perform similar operations all writen in Fortran. I have been working in Matlab so far, and am wondering if I should consider incorporating some Fortran code for 2 reasons:

1) I have read reports about Fortran being a lot faster than Matlab, but I cannot compare the 2 as I have no experience in Fortran.

2) My lecturer has a lot of his own work written in Fortran which I am able to incorporate if I choose to.

Fortran seems like it was such a popular language, but in todays age it seams to be almost forgotten in terms of a language for engineering applications taught at a university level. I think it was on this site that I read that it is still used on super computers so I would have thought it would be a little more popular at a university level.

I just wanted to see what people on this forum had to say bout Fortran.

Thanks, Elbarto

samjh

November 19th, 2008, 11:33 AM

Fortran is still a popular language for mathematics, so if you're into that field, then it might be a useful thing to know. The fact you've already encountered a lot of Fortran in your work should be a good indicator of its usefulness.

elbarto_87

November 19th, 2008, 11:38 AM

Yes I am sure Fortran is a very useful language, but my query is that why have languages such as Matlab become so much more popular. Is it because development time in matlab etc is alot faster than Fortran, and is there a big enough speed difference between Fortran and Matlab to warrant the time invested in writing some commands in Fortran?

pmdw

November 19th, 2008, 11:38 AM

Hi

The last time I did any work in fortran was for y2k

on some library files. AFAIK the files are still being

used. All I know is it paid well :)

samjh

November 19th, 2008, 12:50 PM

Yes I am sure Fortran is a very useful language, but my query is that why have languages such as Matlab become so much more popular. Is it because development time in matlab etc is alot faster than Fortran, and is there a big enough speed difference between Fortran and Matlab to warrant the time invested in writing some commands in Fortran?

Matlab is good for tasks that are not performance-critical.

I'm not a mathematician and have only limited experience with Matlab. My impressions at the time was that it was easy to use, but relatively slow compared to "real" programming tools.

I don't know Fortran, but from what I've observed, it is used for situations involving extremely large data sets or very complex algorithms, such as simulations (eg. weather, economics, fluid dynamics).

Claus7

November 25th, 2008, 03:00 PM

Hello,

let me contribute to this discussion with the following point of views, which I say in advance that are completely subjective:

Fortran is ideal for mathematical calculations. Maybe its the best language for someone who wants something close to "what I'm thinking I can write it down almost exactly as I thought it".

If you use matrixes and/or you want very nice graphical support matlab is the choise for you. Yet, it is cumputationaly costly.

For physics and mathematics fortran is an ideal tool. It doesn't take my by surprise that you find code written in fortran. It was and is used a lot by scientific community AFAIK.

Some times you see what your environment chooses to work with, and you have to adapt to it, so as to be able to communicate better, e.g. your supervisor.

Mostly it has to do with what you want a language to do for you. There is no one that will cover all your needs perfectly.

So it is worth learning? The choise is completely yours!

Regards!

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