Procedural computer programming language developed for numerical analysis by John W. Backus and others at IBM in 1957. The name derives from FORmula TRANslation. For many years it was the most widely used high-level language for scientific and engineering computations. Though other languages, such as various versions of C, are now popular for such uses, FORTRAN is still the language of choice for numerical analysis. It has been revised several times and now includes capabilities for handling structured data, dynamic (on-the-fly) data allocation, recursions (procedures that call themselves), and other features.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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