Fortran and Docker: How to Combine Legacy Code with Cutting-Edge Components


When you think about Fortran, you might conjure up images of punch cards, mainframes, and engineers from the past. You might not think about fast-running web-based tools or modern architecture. But here at Urban, Fortran still has a place alongside cutting edge tools.

In this post, I’ll walk you behind the scenes to share the benefits of Fortran and how we combine it with other, “modern” technologies, such as containers, to provide greater flexibility, portability, and scaling without the pain of re-writing the model.

Why Fortran?

Organizations with long institutional memory, like Urban, often have many complex models in older programming languages that would be time-consuming to rewrite in a more “modern” language (e.g., Python). These models are frequently referred to as legacy systems. When these systems are stable, well-documented and still actively developed, there is no reason to read the word “legacy” as a pejorative.

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