Fortran vs Python - Newbie Question

Beliavsky beliavsky at aol.com
Tue Mar 27 02:36:01 CEST 2007


On Mar 26, 10:31 am, "Carl Banks" <pavlovevide... at gmail.com> wrote:

<snip>

> > You can write programs in Python that do usefully complicated things,
> > and you can get them to work in a reasonable time. Fortran can't do
> > this, for anything more than the trivial. "Classic" Fortran tasks of
> > the past are now seen as trivial. OK, so they did it to a lot of data,
> > but they really didn't do anything very complex to it.
>
> You couldn't be more incorrect.  I have run some very old (pre-Fortran
> 77) programs that are very far from trivial.
>
> > You can also write Python that other people can read and maintain. You
> > can't do this in Fortran, without a truly insane amount of trouble.
>
> This is a lie.  I've seen some Fortran code that was hellspawned, and
> some that was clear as glass.  The latter came about without a "truly
> insane amount of trouble".

I quite agree with you. People have written big, mission-critical
programs to run nuclear reactors and design planes in Fortran 66 and
77, although I hoped that they ran static analysis programs such as
FTNCHEK to verify them. Fortran 90 and later versions has modules,
whose use allows the compiler to check types in procedure calls. I
used Fortran 77 in my physics PhD program and find that I am much more
productive in Fortran 95 now, making fewer errors not caught at
compile time. The operations on arrays and array sections in Fortran
90+
help one to write number-crunching code that is "clear as glass".




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