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High Performance Fortran

In 1993 the High Performance Fortran Forum, a coalition of many leading industrial and academic groups in the field of parallel processing, established an informal language standard called High Performance Fortran (HPF) [3,4]. It was based on Fortran 90, but extended the set of parallel features, and provided extensive support for computation on distributed memory parallel computers. The standard was supported by a majority of vendors of parallel hardware, including Cray, DEC, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Intel, Maspar, Meiko, nCube, Sun and Thinking Machines. Several companies announced their intention to develop HPF implementations, including hardware vendors DEC, Intel, Maspar, Meiko, Thinking Machines, and compiler vendors ACE, APR, KAI, Lahey, NA Software, Portland and PSR.

Since then several of those companies have gone out of business. With a few notable exceptions (such as Portland) many of those still in business have abandoned their HPF projects. With hindsight the goals of HPF were hugely ambitious--it tried to put too many new ideas into a single language. We consider that although the HPF language as originally defined might never be widely adopted, many of the ideas--for example its standardization of a distributed data model for SPMD computing--remain important. Therefore several ideas from HPF will be presented in detail here.



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Bryan Carpenter 2002-07-12