The Fortran Automatic Coding System for the IBM 704 (October 15, 1956), the first Programmer's Reference Manual for Fortran
Open Directory Fortran
Fortran (previously FORTRAN) is a general-purpose, procedural, imperative programming language that is especially suited to numeric computation and scientific computing. Originally developed by IBM in the 1950s for scientific and engineering applications, Fortran came to dominate this area of programming early on and has been in continual use for over half a century in computationally intensive areas such as climate modeling, Finite Element Analysis, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), computational physics, financial computing, and computational chemistry.
Fortran (a portmanteau derived from The IBM Mathematical Formula Translating System) encompasses a lineage of versions, each of which evolved to add extensions to the language while retaining compatibility with previous versions. Successive versions have added support for processing of character-based data (FORTRAN 77), array programming, module-based programming and object-based programming (Fortran 90 / 95), and object-oriented and generic programming (Fortran 2003).
The legacy of FORTRAN
Since Fortran has been in use for more than fifty years, there is a vast body of Fortran in daily use throughout the scientific and engineering communities. It is the primary language for some of the most intensive supercomputing tasks, such as weather and climate modeling, computational fluid dynamics, computational chemistry, quantum chromodynamics, simulations of long-term solar system dynamics, high-fidelity evolution artificial satellite orbits, and simulation of automobile crash dynamics. Indeed, one finds that even today, half a century later, floating-point benchmarks to gauge the performance of new computer processors are still written in Fortran.