The first compiler for FORTRAN, which stands for FORmula TRANslator, was developed by John Backus and his colleagues at IBM in 1957. As one might guess from its name , FORTRAN is often used for programming scientific applications involving heavy use of mathematical formulas. Early FORTRAN programmers, lacking much of the programming theory that is well-known by any first year computer science student today, made heavy use of "goto" statements to control execution flow in their code. Of course old habits are hard to break. Even after Edsger Diijkstra wrote about the harmful effects of the "goto" statement in 1968, starting the structured programming trend, many FORTRAN programmers continued to write their code with "goto" statements.
Despite its simplicity and lack of modern syntax, FORTRAN continues to make up a large percentage of the code in production today. Outside of scientific programming applications, little code is developed today in FORTRAN but its huge installed base continues to make it an often- encountered language in legacy applications. Because of its structure, FORTRAN is well suited for the development of scientific programs and the optimization thereof. FORTRAN does not contain pointers and thus many compile-time optimizations are simplified. Furthermore, many FORTRAN scientific function libraries have been highly optimized over many years of progressive tuning.
FORTRAN has, of course, been modernized over the years. The last two FORTRAN language standards, FORTRAN 90 and FORTRAN 95, have modernized the language with the inclusion of several new features. To date, however, the FORTRAN 77 standard remains the most widely used dialect of the language.