Issue 41, 18 November 2004

In this issue:

For more information about any of the articles featured in this issue, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Top Story - Celebrating 50 Years of Fortran

It's 50 years since John Backus's team produced the very first Fortran compiler. In honour of this anniversary we've asked Malcolm Cohen, Principal Technical Consultant and leader of Fortran compiler development at NAG, to write a two articles with a historical perspective.

The opening paragraph of "Fortran: A few historical details" is featured below.

In 1954 computing history was made when an IBM team lead by John Backus produced Fortran, the first high-level programming language. Because its competition was with assembly languages, efficiency was a primary concern and so the first compiler was an optimising compiler. This focus on efficiency has continued throughout Fortran's history.

To read the article in its entirety follow this link. In the next edition of NAGNews we will feature Malcolm's second article entitled "A Personal History of the NAGWare Fortran compiler".

NAG Colloquium & AGM 2004 - "Computational Software in the 21st Century"

The NAG Colloquium & Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held at the University of Oxford Computing Laboratory on 10th December 2004. This years colloquium is entitled "Computational Software in the 21st Century" and will feature presentations covering current advances in software development and how software will be used and developed in the future.

It will begin by briefly tracing the evolution of computational software, in the form of libraries and packages. It will then speculate on future trends in several areas of computation and discuss potential user and provider scenarios including subjects such as computational services via the web, interface design and grid-enabled software.

We are delighted that Mr Alan Scowcroft, Senior Quantitative Analyst with UBS is our guest speaker. He will talk on present and future mathematical models in the finance industry.

As in previous years, the NAG AGM will follow in the afternoon.

General Information - Mathematics On The NET

The EU-funded Mathematics On The NET (MONET) project which finished earlier this year has just received its final review by external experts who awarded it the maximum possible grading of "excellent". The project developed a framework for describing mathematical web services. These may be used by the deployer of a service to advertise its capabilities, and by a potential client to describe the functionality which he or she requires. A software agent called a broker mediates between the two by discovering which services might potentially meet these needs, and by helping the client to invoke one or more of them.

MONET's service description and discovery mechanism is based on the new Web Ontology Language (OWL) from W3C. This is envisaged as a fundamental technology for building future "semantic webs". Extensions of the existing worldwide web where information is encoded using mechanisms which allow it to be manipulated by software (such as the MONET broker) in a semantically-meaningful way. The software infrastructure, including the broker and a number of prototype web services, was implemented using emerging web standards such as SOAP and WSDL.

As well as managing MONET, NAG played a leading role in the design and implementation of the OWL ontologies, and implemented and deployed a number of web services based on its world-famous mathematical library. Future work in this area may look at its application to e-Science, and to the rapid assembly of large-scale, distributed applications in HPC. Further information about MONET may be found on the project web site.

Tips & Hints - NAGWare f95 Compiler

The NAGWare f95 Compiler already supports some new language features from Fortran 2003. Even before the next standard is complete, we have been able to add a number of stable Fortran 2003 features to the compiler, these are:

  • The PROTECTED, VALUE and VOLATILE attributes.
  • Pointer rank remapping.
  • ISO Technical Report 15580 - Exception handling, and ISO Technical Report 15581 - Enhanced data type facilities. Further details can be found here.
  • Object-oriented programming support:
    • extensible types
    • polymorphic variables
    • type selection
    • typed allocation

For further details, please see

Events - RISK Management, Geneva

  • RISK Management, Geneva
    NAG is delighted to be present at the 11th annual Risk Management Forum in Geneva from 7th December through to 10th December.

    We will be available to discuss how our numerical and statistical components are used in many of the worlds banks and financial institutions and to present new technological advances in NAG's numerical libraries.

    To find out more about this prestigious event visit the organiser's web site.

Product News - New Implementations

NAG is committed to offering new implementations of its broad range of numerical and statistical software, compilers and tools. Since the last edition of NAGNews platform availability has increased for the the NAG C and Parallel Libraries, NAG Data Mining & Cleaning Components (DMC), and the NAGWare f95 Compiler.

The NAG C Library, Mark 7 is now also available for the following platform:

  • Intel-64 Linux64 using the gcc v 3.2.3 Compiler

The NAG Parallel Library, Release 3 is now also available for the following platform:

  • Intel-64 Linux64 using the NAGWare f95 Compiler

The NAG DMC, Release 2.0 is now available for the following platform:

  • HP Alpha Tru64 using the Tru64 C Compiler

The NAGWare f95 Compiler, Release 5.0 is now also available for the following platforms:

  • Intel-64 Linux64

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