Functional programming for modern Fortran
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Functional programming for modern Fortran.

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Getting started

git clone
cd functional-fortran
mkdir build
cd build
cmake ..

Start using functional-fortran in your code by including the module:

use mod_functional

Why functional-fortran?

While not designed as a purely functional programming language, modern Fortran goes a long way by letting the programmer use pure functions to encourage good functional discipline, express code in mathematical form, and minimize bug-prone mutable state. This library provides a set of commonly used tools in functional programming, with the purpose to help Fortran programmers be less imperative and more functional.

What's included?

The following functions are provided:

  • arange - returns a regularly spaced array
  • complement - returns a set complement of two arrays
  • empty - returns an empty array
  • filter - filters an array using a logical input function
  • foldl - recursively left-folds an array using an input function
  • foldr - recursively right-folds an array using an input function
  • foldt - recursively tree-folds an array using an input function
  • head - returns the first element of an array
  • init - returns everything but the last element
  • insert - inserts an element into an array, out-of-bound safe
  • intersection - returns a set intersection of two arrays
  • iterfold - iteratively reduces an array using an input function
  • last - returns the last element of an array
  • limit - limits a scalar or array by given lower and upper bounds
  • map - maps an array with an input function
  • set - returns a set given input array
  • reverse - returns array in reverse order
  • sort - recursive quicksort using binary tree pivot
  • split - returns first or second half of an array
  • subscript - out-of-bound safe implementation of vector subscript
  • tail - returns everything but the first element
  • unfold - unfolds an array with an input function
  • union - returns a set union of two arrays

All of the above functions are compatible with the standard Fortran 2008 kinds: int8, int16, int32, int64, real32, real64, real128, complex(real32), complex(real64), and complex(real128).

Further, these functions (and their corresponding operators) are compatible with character strings: complement, empty, head, init, intersection, insert, last, reverse, set, sort, split, tail, and union.

Functions that operate on one or two arguments are also available as unary or binary operators, respectively. These are: .complement., .head., .init., .intersection., .last., .reverse., .set., .sort., .tail., and .union..

Example usage

Array functions

arange is used to generate evenly spaced arrays, given start and end values as input arguments:

           1           2           3           4           5

arange works with real numbers as well:

   1.00000000       2.00000000       3.00000000       4.00000000       5.00000000    

Third argument to arange (optional) is the increment, which defaults to 1 if not given:

           1           4           7          10          13

Negative increments work as expected:

           3           2           1 

We can use floating-point increments:

   1.00000000       1.10000002       1.20000005       1.29999995       1.39999998       1.50000000    

If start is greater than end and increment is positive, arange returns an empty array:


Use empty to generate a zero-length array of any Fortran standard kind:


which may be useful to initialize accumulators, for example see the implementation of set intersection in this library.

head returns the first element of the array:


tail returns everything but the first element of the array:

           2           3

Similarly, last returns the last element of the array:


init returns everything but the last element of the array:

           1           2

Subscript an array at specific indices:

           3           4

Unlike Fortran 2008 vector subscript, the subscript function is out-of-bounds safe, i.e. subscripting out of bounds returns an empty array:


We can prepend, append, or insert an element into an array using insert:

! insert a 5 at position 0 to prepend:
           5           1           2           3

! insert a 5 at position 4 to append:
           1           2           3           5

! insert a 2 at position 2:
           1           2           3           4

split can be used to return first or second half of an array:

! return first half of the array
           1           2

! return second half of the array
           3           4           5

The above is useful for recursive binary tree searching or sorting, for example, see the implementation of sort in this library.

sort returns a sorted array in ascending order:

real,dimension(5) :: x
call random_number(x)
   0.997559547      0.566824675      0.965915322      0.747927666      0.367390871    
   0.367390871      0.566824675      0.747927666      0.965915322      0.997559547    

Use reverse to sort in descending order:

   0.997559547      0.965915322      0.747927666      0.566824675      0.367390871    

The limit function can be used to contrain a value of a scalar or an array within a lower and upper limit, for example:

! limit a scalar (5) within bounds 1 and 4

! flipping the bounds works just as well

limit also works on arrays:

           1           1           2           3           3

More functional: map, filter, fold, unfold

map has the same functionality as pure elemental functions, but can be used to apply recursive functions to arrays, for example:

pure recursive integer function fibonacci(n) result(fib)
  integer,intent(in) :: n
  if(n == 0)then
    fib = 0
  elseif(n == 1)then
    fib = 1
    fib = fibonacci(n-1)+fibonacci(n-2)
endfunction fibonacci

        1597           5         233       17711

filter returns array elements that satisfy a logical filtering function. For example, we can define a function that returns .true. when input is an even number, and use this function to filter an array:

pure logical function even(x)
  integer,intent(in) :: x
  even = .false.
  if(mod(x,2) == 0)even = .true.
endfunction even

           2           4

Functions can be chained together into pretty one-liners:

           2           8          34

functional-fortran also provides left-, right-, and tree-fold functions, foldl, foldr, and foldt, respectively. These functions recursively consume an array using a user-defined function, and return a resulting scalar. For simple examples of sum and product functions using folds, we can define the following addition and multiplication functions that operate on scalars:

pure real function add(x,y)
  real,intent(in) :: x,y
  add = x+y
endfunction add

pure real function mult(x,y)
  real,intent(in) :: x,y
  mult = x*y
endfunction mult

We can then calculate the sum and product of an array by "folding" the input using the above-defined functions and a start value (second argument to fold*):

! left-fold an array using add to compute array sum

! left-fold an array using mult to compute array product

The above is a trivial example that re-invents Fortran intrinsics as a proof of concept. Intrinsic functions should of course be used whenever possible.

foldl, foldr, and foldt return the same result if the user-defined function is associative. See the Wikipedia page on fold for more information. iterfold is an iterative (non-recursive) implementation of foldl that is provided for reference.

Opposite to fold*, unfold can be used to generate an array based on a start value x, and a function f, such that the resulting array equals [x, f(x), f(f(x)), f(f(f(x))), ... ]. For example:

pure real function multpt1(x)
  real,intent(in) :: x
  multpt1 = 1.1*x
endfunction multpt1

   1.00000000       1.10000002       1.21000004       1.33100009       1.46410012 

Set functions: set, union, intersection, complement

Function set returns all unique elements of an input array:

           1           2           3

Common functions that operate on sets, union, intersection, and complement, are also available:

! unique elements that are found in either array
           1           2           3           4

! unique elements that are found in both arrays

! unique elements that are found first but not in second array


Please submit a bug report or a request for new feature here.

Further reading