Fortran (formerly FORTRAN, derived from Formula Translating System) is a general-purpose, imperative programming language that is especially suited to numeric computation and scientific computing. Originally developed by IBM in the 1950s for scientific and engineering applications, Fortran came to dominate this area of programming early on and has been in continuous use for over half a century in computationally intensive areas such as numerical weather prediction, finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics, computational physics and computational chemistry. It is a popular language for high-performance computing and is used for programs that benchmark and rank the world's fastest supercomputers.
Acronym for formula translator, FORTRAN is the oldest high-level programming language. Designed by John Backus for IBM in the late 1950s, it is still popular today, particularly for scientific applications that require extensive mathematical computations.
The two most common versions of FORTRAN are FORTRAN IV and FORTRAN 77. FORTRAN IV was approved as a USASI standard in 1966. FORTRAN 77 is a version of FORTRAN that was approved by ANSI in 1978 (they had expected to approve it in 1977, hence the name). FORTRAN 77 includes a number of features not available in older versions of FORTRAN. A new ISO and ANSI standard for FORTRAN, called FORTRAN-90, was developed in the early 90s.