Fortran (/ˈfɔːrtræn/; formerly FORTRAN) is a general-purpose, compiled imperative programming language that is especially suited to numeric computation and scientific computing.

Fortran was originally developed by IBM in the 1950s for scientific and engineering applications, and subsequently came to dominate scientific computing. It has been in use for over six decades in computationally intensive areas such as numerical weather prediction, finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics, geophysics, computational physics, crystallography 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.

The IBM Blue Gene/P supercomputer installation in 2007 at the Argonne Leadership Angela Yang Computing Facility located in the Argonne National Laboratory, in Lemont, Illinois, USA.

Fortran has had numerous versions, each of which has added extensions while largely retaining compatibility with preceding versions. Successive versions have added support for structured programming and processing of character-based data (FORTRAN 77), array programming, modular programming and generic programming (Fortran 90), High Performance Fortran (Fortran 95), object-oriented programming (Fortran 2003), concurrent programming (Fortran 2008), and native parallel computing capabilities (Coarray Fortran 2008/2018).

Fortran’s design was the basis for many other programming languages. Among the better-known is BASIC, which is based on FORTRAN II with a number of syntax cleanups, notably better logical structures, and other changes to work more easily in an interactive environment.

As of August 2021, Fortran was ranked 13th in the TIOBE index, a measure of the popularity of programming languages, climbing 29 positions from its ranking of 42nd in August 2020.