ITLApplied  Computational Mathematics Division
MCSD Highlights
Attractive Image NIST

OpenGL Adopts NIST Fortran 90 Binding

March 1998

The Fortran 90 bindings for the OpenGL graphics library developed by William Mitchell of ITL's Mathematical and Computational Sciences Division have been approved by the OpenGL Architecture Review Board (ARB) as the official OpenGL Fortran 90 interface. The bindings have also been endorsed by X3J3, the U.S. Fortran Standards Committee.

OpenGL is a software interface for applications to generate interactive 2D and 3D computer graphics. OpenGL is designed to be independent of operating system, window system, and hardware operations, and is supported by many vendors, with products for computing platforms from PCs to supercomputers. The ARB is the governing board of OpenGL, and consists of members from a variety of companies with penGL products including Digital Equipment, Evans & Sutherland, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Intergraph, Microsoft and Silicon Graphics.

Adoption of the OpenGL Fortran 90 bindings represents a significant development for scientific visualization in the Fortran community. Until now there has never been an industry standard for generating graphics from Fortran programs; instead, only proprietary libraries that support a limited number of systems have been available. With the new bindings, a Fortran programmer can write standard-conforming graphics applications that will be portable over most computing platforms.

In conjunction with this work, Mitchell has developed f90gl, a public domain reference implementation of the Fortran 90 bindings ( Since its initial release over a year ago, it has been downloaded approximately 1200 times. With the standardization of the bindings, it is anticipated that the rate will increase, and that vendors will use f90gl as the basis for their products. Several vendors have already expressed such interest, including Absoft, Avid Technology, Imagine1, Lahey Computer Systems, NASoftware, and Salford Software.

(bullet) William F. Mitchell (NIST/MCSD/MSG)
See also:
(bullet) Fortran Interface for OpenGL and GLUT

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Last updated: 2011-01-12.