Fortran to Common Lisp

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Welcome to f2cl - a Fortran to Common Lisp Translator

Contained in this directory are source code files and some documentation. The translator is written in Common Lisp making installation simple.


If this has been extracted as a part of CLOCC, the way to build f2cl is to simply run "make system" from a shell, as is usual with CLOCC packages.

A second method is to use defsystem from CLOCC. Then load f2cl.system, and then finally run (mk:oos "f2cl" :compile).

A third method is to use asdf. You can load f2cl.asd and run (asdf:oos 'asdf:load-op :f2cl).

Finally, a fourth method, if you have none of the above, is to manually run everything as follows:

  1. Start your favorite Common Lisp implementation use the function compile-file to compile each of the source files:

  2. Load up all of the files

    (load "f2cl0.l")
    (load "f2cl1.l")
    (load "f2cl2.l")
    (load "f2cl3.l")
    (load "f2cl4.l")
    (load "f2cl5.l")
    (load "f2cl6.l")
    (load "f2cl7.l")
    (load "macros.l")

to load all the compiled files.


Converting Fortran Code

To use f2cl:

(f2cl:f2cl "<path>/fortran.f")

will convert the file <path>/fortran.f to Lisp code and places the result in the file <path>/fortran.lisp.


(f2cl:f2cl-compile "<path>/fortran.f")

will also run compile-file on the Lisp file so you can load it directly into your lisp.

For those anxious to use the translator without studying the documentation here is a short list of restrictions that may result in obscure errors:

  • input code is assumed to be valid Fortran 77
  • no tabs are permitted in the source,
  • $comments should only be turned on if the Fortran code has comments exclusively within subroutines,
  • linebreaks must occur within whitespace,
  • spaces are required to separate symbols.

Note also that an intermediate file called "prep.tmp" is produced by the preprocessing stage of the translation.


These are the options available to f2cl:f2cl and f2cl:f2cl-compile

    File to contain Lisp code

    Verbose output. Default = NIL. Mostly for debugging.

    Prune unused labels. Default = NIL.

    Include Fortran comments in the Lisp output. Default = NIL

    Variables in DATA statements are automatically SAVE'd. Default = T.

Declarations of array sizes are relaxed in formal parameters to functions. That is, any array length declarations (except lower limits) are ignored if possible, like old Fortran used to. Default = T.

:COERCE-ASSIGNS If T or :ALWAYS, all assignment statements automatically coerce the RHS to the appropriate type for the assignment. If NIL or :NEVER, coercion never happens. If :AS-NEEDED, f2cl applies coercion if it thinks it is needed. Default = :AS-NEEDED.

The extension to use for the output file, if needed. Defaults to DEFAULT-LISP-EXTENSION or "lisp".

:KEEP-TEMP-FILE If T, the temporary file is not deleted. This is mostly for debugging f2cl. Default = NIL.

:ARRAY-TYPE The type of array f2cl should use. Should be :simple-array or :array. For some compilers, there can be significant speed up if the array can be declared as simple-arrays. But this is incompatible with array-slicing, so care must be used if you choose :simple-array. Default = :array.

:ARRAY-SLICING When non-NIL, f2cl assumes that, whenever we do an array reference in a call to a subroutine or function, we are really passing a subarray to the routine instead of just the single value, unless f2cl knows the function takes a scalar arg that is not modified. Default = T.

:PACKAGE A string or symbol specifying what package the resulting code should be in. (Basically puts a (in-package

) at the top.) Default is COMMON-LISP-USER.

:DECLAIM Declaim compilation options (Basically puts a (declaim ) at the top.) Default is none.

:DECLARE-COMMON When non-NIL, any structures definitions for common blocks are defined when converting this file. Otherwise, the structures for the common blocks are expected to be defined elsewhere. This should be used only once for one subprogram that will be used to define the common block. See below for more information. Default is NIL.

Float format to use when printing the result. Default is READ-DEFAULT-FLOAT-FORMAT

:COMMON-AS-ARRAY Instead of defining a common block as a structure with the same slot names as variables in the common block, the common block is defined as a set of arrays. The actual common block variables are defined as offsets into these arrays. For more information see below. This mimics the memory layout of how Fortran treats common blocks. Default = NIL.

Using Converted Code

Once you've converted the code, you do not need to load up all of f2cl to use the converted code. In fact, you only need f2cl0.l and macros.l to define the necessary packages and functions used by the converted code. Actually, you really only need the defpackage for f2cl-lib in f2cl0.l.


For a more detailed list of issues and notes, see src/NOTES.

We highlight just a few issues here.

o Block data statements.

In Fortran, block data statments are used to initialize common
blocks.  Since Fortran executables are loaded and run just once,
this is not a problem.  However, in Lisp, this might not be true,
and you may want to run the main program many times.  Thus, it is
up to you to run the block data initializer at the right time, as
needed.  f2cl cannot know when and where to call the initializer.

o Common blocks.

F2cl converts common blocks to structures.  However, common blocks
may be referenced in several different files, so the user must
tell f2cl when to define the structure.  Use the :declare-common
parameter to tell f2cl to define the structure. This should be
done exactly once for each common block that is defined.  This
should also be done for the first file that is compiled and
loaded, so that subsequent files know about the definition.

In addition, there is another option, :common-as-array.  This
changes how f2cl handles common blocks.   A rather common use of
common blocks has the same common block using different variable
names.  For example, one routine might have

    COMMON /foo/ a(10), b, i(4)

and another might say

    COMMON /foo/ b(9), c, d, j(2), k(2)

In Fortran, this is perfectly acceptable.  Normally, f2cl expects
all common blocks to use the same variable names, and then f2cl
creates a structure for the common block using the variable names
as the names of the slots.  However, for a case like the above,
f2cl gets confused.  Hence, :common-as-array.  We treat the common
block as an array of memory.  So this gets converted into a
structure somewhat like

    (defstruct foo
      (part-0 (make-array 11 :element-type 'real))
      (part-1 (make-array 4 :element-type 'integer4)))

(In a more general case, we group all contiguous variables of the
same type into one array.  f2cl and Lisp cannot handle the case
where a real and integer value are allocated to the same piece of

Then in the individual routines, symbol-macrolets are used to
create accessors for the various definitions.  Hence, for the
second version, we would do something like

        (b (make-array 9 :displaced-to 
                       (foo-part-0 *foo*)
                       :diplaced-offset 0))
        (c (aref (foo-part-0 *foo*) 9))
        (d (aref (foo-part-0 *foo*) 10))
        (j (make-array 2 :displaced-to
                       (foo-part-1 *foo*)
                       :displaced-offset 0))
        (k (make-array 2 :displaced-to
                       (foo-part-1 *foo*)
                       :displaced-offset 2))

Thus, we access the right parts of the common block, independent
of the name.  Note that this has a performance impact since we
used displaced arrays.

o Conversion order.

While not necessary, f2cl can do a significantly better job in
generating code if the functions are compiled in the correct
order.  This means any function, F, that is called by another
function, G,  should compiled first.  In this way, f2cl can
determine the calling conventions for F, and generate the
appropriate call for F in G.  This is important if F takes an
array argument and G passes a slice of an array to F, or
conversely if F takes a simple variable, and G calls F with an
array reference.  

If this is not done, the user may have to modify either the
Fortran code or the resulting Lisp code to pass arguments

F2cl cannot always determine whether a slice of an array should be
used or just the single element.

See also the file src/NOTES which contains a change log. But there are also various notes about about restrictions and enhancements on various features supported by f2cl.


The translator was written by Kevin Broughan and Diane Koorey Willcock at the University of Waikato. Reports should be sent to kab@waikato.ac.nz and should include examples of Fortran code which fails to translate or which translates incorrectly.

Major changes have be written by Raymond Toy and the entire translator is now part of CLOCC, with permission from Kevin Broughan. Send bug reports and other comments to http://clocc.sourceforge.net.

The code is also placed under the GPL, by permission of Kevin Broughan. The exception is macros.l which is released under the LGPL so that it can be incorporated into other packages.