The text starts by explaining why learning a programming language is a useful academic exercise, apart from being a life skill, which could be the basis for employment. The concepts learnt to construct a program and the attention to detail needed to have it execute correctly are valuable lessons and instill a clarity of thought not found in many other disciplines.
The reason why FORTRAN is the most used computer language for engineering and scientific computation is explained, as is the ongoing work to create a more capable, standardized language. It is the new standards that come out about every ten years, and followed by a new range of compilers a few years later that have led to the latest FORTRAN 90 standard usage.
Both the previous, FORTRAN 77 and the current FORTRAN 90 source code layout rules are described. This is followed by a first simple program to introduce the essential components of a program. A simple tax calculation is done and the result displayed with the PRINT * command.
The chapter closes with a review of the types of errors that can be made and the process for correcting them.
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