Re: Some Department of Commerce weather alert systems use Fortran
I have copies of three Global Circulation Models and fragments of a fourth.
I also have some Radio Astronomy codes. All of these are written in Fortran.
Since modern Fortran is a modular free-format programming language with
good support for structured programming, user-defined types, even OOP,
overloading, pointers, and bindings for MPI and OpenACC,
with compilers that are good at vectorising and some compilers that even
compile traditional code into GPU code, if you have a problem that needs
lots of number-crunching you would have to have a very good reason to use
something else. Price is not the issue: gfortran is free and good. Tools are
not the issue: there are static checkers and things that plug into Eclipse.
There are quite a few people learning Fortran.
Unfortunately, most of them seem to be hard-science PhD students with no
knowledge of software engineering and no sense of taste, so the code is
often, um, not as good as it could be. But that's really not Fortran's fault.
Fortran makes it quite easy to write clean maintainable code. It also makes
it easy to make a real mess, although in that area it still cannot compete
A fair comparison would be to things like R, NumPy/SciPy, Matlab, Octave, or Julia,
all of which can link in Fortran modules, so that you can get the best of both worlds.
The COBOL standard has been revised less often than the Fortran standard, but
it *has* been modernised, and there is a GnuCOBOL compiler (formerly OpenCOBOL)
that has caught up with much of COBOL 2014. Considering that the less you touch
an existing program, the fewer bugs you introduce, there's an economic case to be
made for paying someone to learn COBOL -- which is not particularly hard -- rather
than rewriting. Again, there is more COBOL support for Eclipse than you might