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Language Systems FORTRAN 3.3

Performance test & FORTRAN to C conversion

By Jörg Langowski, MacTech Magazine Regular Contributing Author

Note: Source code files accompanying article are located on MacTech CD-ROM or source code disks.

Since Absoft has just brought out a new Fortran compiler (see July column, MacFORTRAN 3.2), the competition wasn’t sleeping: as I told you in my last column, Language Systems has brought out version 3.3 of their Fortran. It’s now installed (I got it the day I sent off the last column) and here are the Benchmark figures. Note: All benchmark tests were run at optimization level 3 for the LS Fortran compiler and at level -O (i.e. basic optimizations but no loop unrolling and subroutine folding) for the Absoft compiler. First, the results of the Linpack program for LS Fortran 3.3:

Linpack performance, single precision

LSF 3.3 MacIIx 0.125 MFlops

Q700, 68030 code 1.33 MFlops

Q700, 68040 code 1.33 MFlops

These performances are exactly the same as for version 3.0.1. It is interesting that it makes no difference at all whether 68030 or 68040 code is generated; it seems that the Absoft compiler is still making better use of the 68040 specifics. For example, Absoft MacFortran v3.3 runs the same code at 1.30 MFlops on a Quadra 700 when 68030 code is generated (thus at the same speed as LS Fortran) and at 1.61 MFlops for native 68040 code, i.e. 25% faster.

Language Systems has added a faster transcendental function library for the 68040, however. Since the Linpack does not use transcendental functions, this feature is not tested. Another known program, the Savage benchmark, tests accuracy and speed of some built-in math functions (see listing). The results, comparing the latest versions of the LS and Absoft compilers:

Savage Benchmark (execution times and results)

LSF 3.3 MacIIx 3.60 s 2500.000

Q700, 68030 code 3.02 s 2500.000

Q700, 68040 code 1.80 s 2500.000

Absoft MacIIx 3.52 s 2499.886

extended precision 3.65 s 2500.000

Q700, 68030 code 3.23 s 2499.886

Q700, 68040 code 1.37 s 2477.244

Q700, double precision

68040 code 1.43 s 2500.000

One thing that is immediately evident is the shabby performance of the 68040 on 68030 code; the Quadra 700 is no faster here than a Mac IIx! But this comes as no surprise: the 68040 FPU has no transcendental functions and EXP, LOG, etc. must be emulated in software. The 68040 math libraries of both LS and Absoft Fortran are much faster than the Apple emulation. For Absoft on the 68040, you have to take care that you compile with the ‘double precision transcendentals’ option, on the 68040, or with the extended precision option on the 68030, otherwise precision really breaks down. On the 68030, two compilers have identical performance speed- and precision-wise on the Savage benchmark. On the 68040, Absoft again has the speed edge over LS Fortran by about 30%.

So it is fair to say that Absoft’s compiler still produces the fastest-running Fortran code for the 68040; however, when you port programs from other systems, you should be very careful in checking the numerical accuracy against known results. Or play it safe in any case by using default double or extended precision, which doesn’t slow down execution too much.

To save the honor of the Macintosh, one should say that on so-called ‘bigger’ systems you have similar problems: for instance, on a VAX or on a Silicon Graphics workstation you have to declare A double precision to get the correct answer of 2500.000.

It seems at the moment that the Fortran compilers for the Macintosh are at a stage where they have converged to their respective limits of performance, and both are very similar speed- and precision-wise except for Absoft’s higher speed on a 68040. On the other hand, LS Fortran is still the only compiler that creates code to run on systems without an FPU. I guess what one should expect next from Language Systems is that they work on their Macintosh interface, for instance it would be nice to have multiple output windows connected to Fortran units.

Fortran to C

For those of you who have inherited some thousand lines of Fortran code and want to port it to the Mac, there may still be another way to go than using one of those excellent Fortran compilers. Even though Fortran is much better than its reputation with some people (you just have to look at the code provided by Language Systems of Absoft for full Macintosh applications), you might prefer to put in the work of converting your whole program into C, or C++. It is true that you may can gain a lot in readability and maintainability this way; but that mountain of work rewriting the code

Well, if you want to give up your Fortran nostalgia and like the fast compile/test cycle that Think C offers (there is no Think Fortran), here is a program for you: f2c, a public domain Fortran-to-C translator that has been around on Unix systems for quite a while. Some time ago, Basil Duval from Switzerland took the time to convert this program to Think C and put the result into the public domain Info-Mac archives at Stanford. His README file explains what he did:

“IMPORTANT--- This file and the others are available via anonymous ftp on

f2c Conversion on the MAC

Basil P. Duval Jan 1992, EPFL/CRPP Bassenges 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

(This software is submitted free of change and may not be sold)



This note describes a port of f2c to the THINK C Mac environment. The program f2c and the libraries libI77 and libF77 were converted and fortran programs have been successfully translated and linked to form working applications. In this first port, the default THINK C standard "Glass Window" screen is used to perform user input and output.

Version converted

The version taken from the server the 9 jan 1992 and has the 30 december 1991 time stamp.


The main problem with the port from UNIX to the Mac has been the 32k limit on global variables present up to version 5 of THINK C. Version 4 of THINK C allows string variables to be placed in a separate section. by simply requesting this option in the project options, the global variables were reduced from 56k to 31.6k which is acceptable in the Mac environment. Thus the program could be linked and tested. This enabled other problems of the port to surface. The main problem is due to the confusion with short and long integers. Up to THINK C 4, short was always defined as 2 bytes. In particular this causes several bugs when using the "strn..." functions which expect a (long) integer and as the code arrived were only given a 2 byte (short). The last problem was to provide a simple user interface. THINK C provides a console library which emulates the UNIX style command line via the "ccommand" routine which has been used to provide a rudimentary, but serviceable, interface. A list of the files that were changed is provided and the details of each change are provided at the end of this note.

(details omitted-JL)

Enclosed is a complete translation of the source using THINK C 5.02 together with a test file temp.f and a test project. The application has been compiled and linked for a Mac with 68030 and 68882 FPU unit but with the projects this could easily be changed. I spend the time since you mailed me getting the latest version of the f2c and putting in the bits needed to make it fly on the Mac, and so this version is labelled May 1992.

Good luck. The C source code is not supposed to be easy to edit, but it does get you quite a long way from the Fortran.

Basil Duval 2 June 1992

PS:Language Systems Fortran together with MPW 3.2 is a great combination if you decide to stay in fortran. THINK C is however a great environment for the Mac....”

The ready-to-use f2c application will be on the source code disk; for space reasons we cannot distribute the full system. If you have Internet access, you can however get the files via ftp either from the address given in the README file (see above), or from the Info-Mac archives at The conversion of the Savage benchmark is enclosed as an example in Listing 2. Of course you could have done this better by hand - however when you’re dealing with 4000 lines of code, that’s another story. I’ll try my hands on one of the big programs I have here until the next column and tell you my experiences - but first I have to get familiar with Think C, which I have never seriously used, believe it or not. Until then.

Listing 1: Savage Benchmark
CSECNDS is a real*4 function that returns 
Cseconds and fractional seconds.  The value is
Cmodified by subtracting the supplied argument.
CIt acts as in the VMS FORTRAN Manual.
 real*4 SECNDS
 real*4 time
 write(*,*) 'Starting '
 time = SECNDS(0.0)
 DO 200 J=1,10
 DO 100 I=1,2499
 time = SECNDS(time)
 WRITE (*,10) A
10 FORMAT(' A=',F17.12)
 write(*,*) time,' seconds'
 real time
 n = LONG(362)
 SECNDS = FLOAT(n)/60.0 - time
Listing 2: Savage Benchmark, converted to C by the f2c translator

/*  -- translated by f2c (version of 23 May 1992  14:18:33).
   You must link the resulting object file with the libraries:
 -lF77 -lI77 -lm -lc   (in that order)

#include "f2c.h"

/* Table of constant values */

static integer c__9 = 9;
static integer c__1 = 1;
static real c_b4 = (float)0.;
static integer c__4 = 4;

/* !MP inlines.f */
/* Main program */ MAIN__()
    /* Format strings */
    static char fmt_10[] = "(\002 A=\002,f17.12)";

    /* Builtin functions */
    integer s_wsle(), do_lio(), e_wsle();
    double sqrt(), log(), exp(), atan(), tan();
    integer s_wsfe(), do_fio(), e_wsfe();

    /* Local variables */
    static real time, a;
    static integer i, j;
    extern doublereal secnds_();

    /* Fortran I/O blocks */
    static cilist io___1 = { 0, 6, 0, 0, 0 };
    static cilist io___6 = { 0, 6, 0, fmt_10, 0 };
    static cilist io___7 = { 0, 6, 0, 0, 0 };

/* SECNDS is a real*4 function that returns */
/* seconds and fractional seconds.  The value is */
/* modified by subtracting the supplied argument. */
/* It acts as in the VMS FORTRAN Manual. */

    do_lio(&c__9, &c__1, "Starting\311", 9L);
    time = secnds_(&c_b4);
    for (j = 1; j <= 10; ++j) {
      a = (float)1.;
      for (i = 1; i <= 2499; ++i) {
        a = tan(atan(exp(log(sqrt(a * a))))) + (float)1.;
/* L100: */
/* L200: */
    time = secnds_(&time);
    do_fio(&c__1, (char *)&a, (ftnlen)sizeof(real));
    do_lio(&c__4, &c__1, (char *)&time, (ftnlen)sizeof(real));
    do_lio(&c__9, &c__1, " seconds", 8L);
} /* MAIN__ */


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