There are many computer languages which are normally used fordevelopment of modern software. The term computer language may be defined as theformal language into which programs on any computer are written. Thisdefinition given for any particular language may also consist of the syntax togetherwith the semantics. Syntax happens to be a set of rules that govern the generationof a language in any machine and is also the main section that defines the language.
Semantics or logic for that matter happens to be the second factor that definesthe language (Ford &Joseph, 1982). There are also many of these computerlanguages that are available for use, but it’s only very few that are used withinmodern times or in the fifth generation of computer programming. FORTRAN is acomputer language that has very distinctive together with interesting featuresand these have been able to separate it in comparison to the other languages. Application of FORTRANFORTRAN is compiler meaning it is basically a programminglanguage that is convertible into object code (represents the binary). The objectcode can be used by the computer or simply put; it now becomes a program thatthe compute can be able to understand. FORTRAN is normally used in creation ofprograms that control the computer using simpler means in place of informationthat any computer understands (Griffiths& Smith, 1991).
FORTRAN is also among the first high-level computer programminglanguages that were developed. FORTRAN (an acronym that stands for the systemof FORmula TRANslation) was designed at IBM by Backus John by the year 1954, therebybecoming a landmark within the then computing industry. Metcalf (1985) says that this language was also developed at a time when the computers werestill having smaller memories meaning that the computers were very slow indoing the work they were commanded to do.
The computers used to ran on veryprimitive systems of operation. At such a time, the essence of making a computerprogramming language for running a machine in code seemed to be impossible thereforeFORTRAN happened to make the use of a language assembly. The FORTRAN computer programming language can be used tocreate many programs that are important in running several important equipmentsuch as the nuclear reactors or water supply systems using less time ascompared to weeks. The success achieved by the language of FORTRAN was indeed phenomenalsince it brought about a notable ability for the separation of already compiledprogram modules (Ford & Joseph, 1982).
The FORTRAN language also has significant features such asbeing very simple to grasp or learn as one of the main objectivesduring the FORTRAN language design was to be able to write a certain language whichcould be easier to learn or even be able to understand with ease. Metcalf(1985) says that it also makes the machinebeing programmed to be independent as it tries to allow an easierways of transporting a certain program that may be coming from one of the machinesin the system to another in the same system or in another different system.Forinstance, aprogram being designed by FORTRAN has an inputtogether with an output to be used in another machine. Consider an assignmentstatement that is being used in calculation of different values to be used asexpressions or even for storing results after these computations. This issimple because the FORTRAN program can assignthem onto variables.
An example is a projectile which has been launched from acertain initial height that is at HGHT0 having an initial velocity (vertical) atVELOC0 together with acceleration (vertical) at ACCEL. The equations generatedfor this above situation is given as:”HGHT= 0.5 * TIME * ACCEL ** 2 + VELOC0 * TIME + HGHT0″And then”VELOC= ACCEL * TIME + VELOC0″If the height isgiven as HGHT while vertical velocity for the situation is given as VELOC, forany TIME in the same situation after the projectile is launched.
The programruns in the system as shown below, thereby assigning a value of 9.807 (in m/sec2as units) to the ACCEL of the projectile being 150.0 (m) at a height, HGHT0 ofabout100.0 (in m/sec) and a velocity, VELOCO given a time of 5.0 sec. Thecomputation is done by the program as follows.
“PROGRAM PROJEC************************************************************************* This program calculates thevelocity and height of a projectile ** given its initial height, initialvelocity, and constant ** acceleration. Variables used are: ** HGHT0 : initial height ** HGHT : height at any time ** VELOC0 : initial vertical velocity ** VELOC : vertical velocity at any time ** ACCEL : vertical acceleration ** TIME : time elapsed since projectile waslaunched ** ** Input: none ** Output: none ************************************************************************* REAL HGHT0, HGHT, VELOC0, VELOC,ACCEL, TIME ACCEL = -9.807 HGHT0 = 150.0 VELOC0 = 100.0 TIME = 5.0 HGHT = 0.
5 * ACCEL * TIME ** 2 + VELOC0 * TIME + HGHT0 VELOC = ACCEL * TIME + VELOC0 END” FORTRAN also has many natural ways of expressing any given mathematicalfunctions as it happens to permit even the severely complex functions inmathematics to be given as expressions that are simpler and also similarly to theones used as algebraic notations that are regular. It also happens to be a language that is much of problem orientated as itsolves the problem at hand in a clear fashion (Griffiths & Smith, 1991).It does all this by remaining closer tothe hardware as it exploits any available hardware for that matter.
FORTRANalso manages to attain an efficientexecution of data in any system as there is an approximate decreaseof about 20% in its efficiency when compared to the general assembly or eventhe code of the machine in use. It also has the ability of controlling the storage allocation (especially at thetime when there was limited memory space to operate at using this programminglanguage (Nyhoff & Sanford, 1997). FORTRAN also provides input or output statementsthat are of two types. The first one has an explicit specification of the formatfor the data presentation at the input while the output also has a preciseformat for display (Griffiths & Smith, 1991). The second type has predetermined formats thatare also standard so as to be able to match items within the input or the outputlist of the compiler. For instance, there is a program such asPRINT *, output-listThis impliesthat the output-list happens to be the single expression that depicts the list forexpressions and then it is separated by the comma.
Such expressions could beregarded as constants, or even variables, or even formulae.Such astatement may be applied in another form as follows:PRINT *Thisimplies that there is no any output list being used. Its purpose is to displaysvarious values with items from output list and every PRINT statement happens toproduce some newer lines in form of output. Omission of the output listgenerates a line that is totally blank.
ConclusionThelanguage of FORTRAN can be used in a wider applications variety such as number crunching because of itsgeneral algebraic form in the expression of complex functions of mathematicsthereby helping in execution of programs in the least time possible. FORTRAN happensto be easier to use and it is also more efficient in processing of various mathematicalequations that can be applied in execution of a program. It also helps in solving of scientific, ormathematical and even engineering procedures using the rapid crunchingof number.