UW AMath High Performance Scientific Computing
AMath 483/583 Class Notes
Spring Quarter, 2013

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Python and Fortran

In this class we will use both Python and Fortran. Why these two?

  • They are different types of languages that allow illustrating the difference between interperted vs. compiled languages, object oriented vs. procedural languages, etc.
  • Each is very useful for certain common tasks in scientific computing. They can easily be combined to take advantage of the best of both worlds.
  • Many scientific programs are written in one of these languages so you should be familiar with them.
  • Both are freely available and students can set up laptops and desktops to use them beyond this class.

Learning two new languages in a quarter along with the many other topics we will be covering may seem overwhelming, but in many ways it makes sense to learn them together. By comparing features in the two languages it may help clarify what the essential concepts are, and what is truly different about the languages vs. simply different syntax or choices of convention.

We will not be writing extensive programs from scratch in this class. Instead, many homework sets will require making relatively small changes to Python of Fortran programs that have been provided as templates. This obviously isn’t enough to become an expert programmer in either language, but the goal in this course is to get you started down that path.

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