FORTRAN 77 is a high-level programming language designed specifically for scientific and engineering applications. It is a standardized version of the original FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslator) language, which was introduced in 1957. FORTRAN 77, developed in 1977, includes additional features, such as better looping mechanisms and improved I/O capabilities, while maintaining the efficiency and ease of use of its predecessor.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “FORTRAN 77” would be:F – FoxtrotO – OscarR – RomeoT – TangoR – RomeoA – AlphaN – November7 – Seven7 – Seven

Key Takeaways

  1. FORTRAN 77 is a high-level programming language introduced in 1978, specifically designed for scientific and engineering computations.
  2. It builds upon its predecessor, FORTRAN 66, by incorporating new features like improved looping structures, better error detection, and more efficient use of memory.
  3. Despite being an older language, FORTRAN 77 remains relevant as its efficient use of processing power and compact syntax make it popular in high-performance computing and legacy systems.


FORTRAN 77, an acronym for FORmula TRANslation 77, is important because it marked a significant milestone in the development of programming languages and computer technology.

As the successor of earlier FORTRAN versions, FORTRAN 77 introduced several key improvements, including better formatting and control structures that made it more user-friendly and versatile.

This language was widely adopted by scientists, engineers, and researchers for its ability to express complex mathematical computations effectively and efficiently.

Notably, FORTRAN 77 laid the foundation for several modern high-performance computing applications, as well as facilitated the standardization of programming practices, setting the stage for the evolution of more advanced programming languages.


FORTRAN 77, a version of the FORTRAN programming language, was specifically designed to cater to scientific and engineering tasks. As an acronym for FORmula TRANslation, its primary purpose was to facilitate complex mathematical computations and numerical analysis for a wide range of applications, such as weather forecasting, structural analysis, computational fluid dynamics, and nuclear energy research.

Its extensive library of built-in functions and high-level declaration of data structures, coupled with its ability to optimize performance on large-scale hardware systems, allowed scientists and engineers to solve intricate problems with increased precision, ultimately fostering innovations in these fields. By utilizing the array and loop constructs innate to the FORTRAN programming language, users could efficiently tackle the challenges of multi-dimensional data sets and high-performance computing tasks.

Over the years, FORTRAN 77 has played a significant role in shaping the modern software landscape, with numerous legacy codes in key disciplines still utilizing its functionality to this day. Thus, the purpose of FORTRAN 77 in advancing scientific research and engineering solutions is not only evident through its historical significance, but also continues to impact contemporary developments across various domains.

Examples of FORTRAN 77

FORTRAN 77, also known as Fortran 77, is a version of the high-level programming language FORTRAN that was widely used in scientific and engineering applications during the late 20th century. Here are three real-world examples of FORTRAN 77 in use:

Weather forecasting models: FORTRAN 77 was heavily used in the development of weather forecasting models due to its efficiency in handling complex mathematical computations. The European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) developed their general circulation model using FORTRAN 77, and this model continues to serve as a basis for many modern weather forecasting systems.

Aerospace engineering: FORTRAN 77 was widely used in aerospace engineering, particularly by organizations like NASA. The Space Shuttle’s on-board flight software was developed using FORTRAN 77, as were many simulation and analysis tools critical to the design and testing of spacecraft. Additionally, FORTRAN 77 played a crucial role in the development of structural analysis software, like NASTRAN, which is still used for aerospace engineering projects even today.

Atomic and nuclear simulations: FORTRAN 77 has been a popular choice for developing atomic and nuclear simulation applications due to its proficiency in handling heavy mathematical operations. For instance, the Los Alamos National Laboratory used FORTRAN 77 for their LASNEX code, which simulates inertial confinement fusion experiments. The code assists researchers in exploring various aspects of nuclear fusion and related plasma physics.While newer versions of Fortran have largely replaced FORTRAN 77 in current applications, the older version remains an essential part of the history of scientific and engineering computing.

Frequently Asked Questions about FORTRAN 77

What is FORTRAN 77?

FORTRAN 77 is a programming language and a revision of the FORTRAN language, released in 1977. It is widely used for numerical and scientific computing and is known for its simplicity, efficiency, and readability.

What are the major features of FORTRAN 77 compared to earlier versions?

FORTRAN 77 introduced several new features compared to its predecessors, such as IF-THEN-ELSE constructs and explicit DO loops, improved I/O handling, and more structured programming constructs.

Is FORTRAN 77 still in use today?

While newer versions of FORTRAN, such as Fortran 90 and Fortran 95, have largely replaced FORTRAN 77 in modern programming, there are still some legacy systems and applications that rely on FORTRAN 77 code. However, most new development in scientific programming has moved to more contemporary language versions or alternatives like Python and Julia.

Can I learn FORTRAN 77 as a beginner programmer?

Yes, you can learn FORTRAN 77 as a beginner programmer, although it might not be the most practical choice for new programmers. While learning FORTRAN 77 will give you a solid foundation in programming concepts, it is an older language that may not be as relevant for modern applications. There are other languages, such as Python and C++, that may be more useful for beginners looking to learn a versatile and in-demand programming language.

What are some resources for learning FORTRAN 77?

There are various online resources, tutorials, and books available for learning FORTRAN 77. Some popular options include:

– FORTRAN 77 textbooks or programming guides
– Online tutorials or video courses specifically covering FORTRAN 77
– Forums or online communities where experienced FORTRAN programmers can provide guidance and support.

Related Technology Terms

  • Compiled Language
  • Procedural Programming
  • Numerical Analysis
  • Legacy Code
  • Scientific Computing

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