ne of the oldest guards of programming language, created in 1954 with a commercial release in 1957, Fortran was started as IBM’s mathematical translation system — aka FORmula TRANslation for its 704 computer. Designed by a team led by computer scientist John Backus, Fortran was developed to work on computably heavy applications like astrophysics or weather prediction.

Traditionally, programmers and developers used to program in machine assembly code in binary, which was not only difficult but extremely time-consuming to debug the code. Thus, Fortran was developed as the first high-level language using a compiler, which was simple to learn and suitable for several applications. Being independent of computer hardware and enabling rapid programming, it marked a significant milestone in the history of computer programming. It also became the preferred language for programming in the late 1950s.


Fortran code on a punched card in the 1950s

Fortran has been the first language standardised by the American National Standards Institute, thus making it suitable for all sorts of significant investments like high-performance computing software. With that being said, over the years, Fortran has also undergone several updates and advancements to compete with the more contemporary languages of the current date. However, with more emerging languages coming up, Fortran started getting replaced in the academic circles. In fact, despite being groundbreaking at one point, Fortran is hardly being talked about or used in the industry today and doesn’t even land on the list of the top programming languages to learn in the current times. This raises an interesting question — now 66 years down the line, is Fortran dead in 2020?

Also Read: Why Should You Learn Python For Data Science?

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66 Years of Fortran — Dead or Alive?
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