Supercomputing

Supercomputers get help with Fortran

The Fortran language, a relic of the punchcard era of programming, is still in wide use in science and research. The national laboratories and the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration are accommodating the legacy code with an open-source Fortran compiler to help integrate the programming language into a larger pool of computer languages in supercomputers.

NNSA, Lawrence Livermore, Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories unveiled an agreement on Nov. 13 with NVIDIA's PGI software to create an open-source Fortran compiler designed for integration with the Lawrence Livermore's larger code compiler infrastructure.

The Fortran front-end module created through the project will harness the PGI Fortran compiler, which the lab said has been used in high performance computing systems for more than a quarter century.

Fortan was developed in the 1950s, but versatility and usefulness in scientific computing keeps it in business. It's applications include computer simulations for national security, medicine, energy, climate and basic science missions.

The multi-year Fortran project will produce an open source code in late 2016 that other computer scientists and facilities can use to build their own compilers. The Fortran compiler will be integrated with a larger compiler infrastructure (dubbed LLVM and formerly known as "Low Level Virtual Machine"), which provides support for a variety of commonly used programming languages.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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