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Fortran, formerly written in all caps (FORTRAN), is a programming language designed for numeric computation and scientific computing. First introduced in 1954, Fortran is the oldest programming language and is still widely used. Its applications are found in the scientific fields, particularly numerical weather prediction, computational fluid dynamics and computational physics. Fortran is also quite popular in high-performance computing and is used in program benchmarking and ranking the world's fastest supercomputers.
Some of the characteristics making Fortran suitable for scientists include:
Today, despite having competition from languages like C and C++, Fortran is still extensively used to perform floating-point benchmark tests on new computer processors. Over the years, a vast collection of code has been written with Fortran in many scientific and engineering machines, allowing the language to persist.
Fortran has evolved over time. Starting off as a purely procedural programming language, it now supports object-oriented features like type extension and inheritance, polymorphism and dynamic type allocation.