Intel Fortran Compiler

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Intel Fortran Compiler
Developer(s) Intel
Stable release
17.0 (XE 2017) / March 4, 2016[1]
Operating system Linux, OS X and Windows
Type Compiler
License Proprietary, Freeware[2]

Intel Fortran Compiler, also known as IFORT, is a group of Fortran compilers from Intel for Windows, Linux, and OS X.


The compilers generate code for IA-32 and Intel 64 processors and certain non-Intel but compatible processors, such as certain AMD processors. A specific release of the compiler (11.1) remains available for development of Linux-based applications for IA-64 (Itanium 2) processors. On Windows, it is known as Intel Visual Fortran. On Linux and OS X, it is known as Intel Fortran.

The latest release of the compiler continues to support the Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor and Intel Architecture instruction-set capabilities by means of automatic vectorization, which can enable applications to use SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE4 and AVX SIMD instructions. Use of such instructions through the compiler can lead to improved application performance in some applications as run on IA-32 and Intel 64 architectures, compared to applications built with compilers that do not support these instructions.

Intel Fortran also continues support for OpenMP 4.0, automatic parallelization for symmetric multiprocessing, almost all of the Fortran 2003 standard and much of the Fortran 2008 standard including Coarray Fortran, user-defined I/O, BLOCK and submodules. For more information on Fortran standards, a number or resources are available, such as the Wikipedia Fortran entry or the Fortran 2008 wiki page. When used with Intel cluster tools (see the "Description of Packaging" below) the compiler can also automatically generate Message Passing Interface calls for distributed memory multiprocessing from OpenMP directives.


Intel compilers are optimized to computer systems using processors that support Intel architectures. They are designed to minimize stalls and to produce code that executes in the fewest possible number of cycles. Intel Fortran Compilers support three separate high-level techniques for optimizing the compiled program: interprocedural optimization (IPO), profile-guided optimization (PGO), and other high-level optimizations (HLO). They also support a directives-based approach to application offloading to Intel coprocessors, such as the Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor.

Interprocedural optimization applies typical compiler optimizations (such as constant propagation) but uses a broader scope that may include multiple procedures, multiple files, or the entire program.[3]

Regarding profile-guided optimization,the compiler generates a dataset of performance-related information from using the application with representative workloads, which it then analyzes to find which parts of the application are executed more and less frequently. The compiler uses these data to organize application execution to optimize performance based on how the application is actually used. This is in contrast to IPO which optimizes applications according to the logical flow of the application independent of workloads. The two can be combined to provide workload-based optimizations within which the logical-flow is optimized. Thus, all optimizations can benefit from profile-guided feedback because they are less reliant on heuristics when making compilation decisions.

High-level optimizations are optimizations performed on a version of the program that more closely represents the source code. This includes loop interchange, loop fusion, loop unrolling, loop distribution, data prefetch, and more.[4]

Standards support[edit]

The Intel Fortran compiler supports all of the features of the Fortran 90, Fortran 95, Fortran 2003 standards and most of Fortran 2008. It also supports some draft Fortran 2015 features. Additionally, it supports various extensions found in VAX Fortran and Compaq Visual Fortran.

A partial list of items from the Fortran 2003 standard supported by Intel Fortran:

  • Parameterized derived tpes
  • User-defined derived type I/O
  • Enumerators
  • Type extension and type-bound procedures
  • FINAL routines and GENERIC, OPERATOR, and ASSIGNMENT overloading in type-bound procedures
  • Polymorphic data and the CLASS declaration
  • Allocatable scalar variables (not deferred-length character)
  • SOURCE= keyword for ALLOCATE
  • ASSOCIATE construct
  • DO CONCURRENT construct
  • PROCEDURE declaration and procedure pointers
  • CONTIGUOUS attribute
  • Structure constructors with component names and default initialization
  • Array constructors with type and character length specifications
  • PUBLIC types with PRIVATE components and PRIVATE types with PUBLIC components
  • A file can be opened for stream access (ACCESS='STREAM')
  • BIND attribute and ISO_C_BINDING intrinsic module
  • ASYNCHRONOUS attribute
  • VALUE attribute
  • FLUSH statement
  • WAIT statement
  • IMPORT statement
  • Allocatable components of derived types, allocatable dummy arguments, and allocatable function results
  • VOLATILE attribute
  • Names of length up to 63 characters
  • Statements up to 256 lines

A partial list of items from the Fortran 2008 standard supported by Intel Fortran:

  • Coarrays
  • Submodules
  • The BLOCK construct to allow dynamic scoping
  • CRITICAL construct
  • The Fortran 2008 standard specifies a maximum rank of 15; the maximum array rank has been raised to 31 dimensions in Intel Fortran
  • A generic interface may have the same name as a derived type
  • Bounds specification and bounds remapping list on a pointer assignment
  • NEWUNIT= specifier in OPEN
  • A CONTAINS section can be empty
  • Coarrays can be specified in ALLOCATABLE, ALLOCATE, and TARGET statements
  • MOLD keyword in ALLOCATE
  • DO CONCURRENT statement
  • ERROR STOP statement

Fortran 2015, currently a draft version, includes further interoperability between Fortran and C. Intel Fortran supports draft Fortran 2015 as of version 16.0.


Description of packaging[edit]

The Intel Fortran compiler is available as part of the Intel Parallel Studio XE 2016 suite, which focuses on development of parallelism models in application software. It also includes Intel C++, Intel Math Kernel Library, Intel Integrated Performance Primitives, Intel Data Analytics Acceleration Library and performance analysis tools such as Intel VTune Amplifier and Intel Inspector. There are three forms of Parallel Studio XE: Composer, Professional, and Cluster. The Composer Edition includes the C++ and/or Fortran compilers, the performance libraries, and parallel models support. The Professional Edition adds the analysis tools that assist in debugging and tuning parallel applications. The Cluster Edition adds support for development of software for computer clusters. It includes all of the above plus a standards-based MPI Library, MPI communications profiling and analysis tool, MPI error checking and tuning tools, and cluster checker.

History since 2003[edit]

Compiler version Release date Major new features
Intel Fortran Compiler 8.0 December 15, 2003 Precompiled headers, code-coverage tools.
Intel Fortran Compiler 8.1 September, 2004 AMD64 architecture (for Linux).
Intel Fortran Compiler 9.0 June 14, 2005 AMD64 architecture (for Windows), software-based speculative pre-computation (SSP) optimization, improved loop optimization reports.
Intel Fortran Compiler 10.0 June 5, 2007 Improved parallelizer and vectorizer, Streaming SIMD Extensions 4 (SSE4), new and enhanced optimization reports for advanced loop transformations, new optimized exception handling implementation.
Intel Fortran Compiler 10.1 November 7, 2007 New OpenMP* compatibility runtime library. To use the new libraries, you need to use the new option "-Qopenmp /Qopenmp-lib:compat" on Windows, and "-openmp -openmp-lib:compat" on Linux. This version of the Intel compiler supports more intrinsics from Microsoft Visual Studio 2005. VS2008 support - command line only in this release.
Intel Fortran Compiler 11.0 November 2008 More Fortran 2003 support. Support for OpenMP 3.0. Source Checker for static memory/parallel diagnostics. Commercial licenses for Windows version include Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Premier Partner Edition.
Intel Fortran Compiler 11.1 June 23, 2009 Support for latest Intel SSE, AVX and AES instructions. More Fortran 2003 support. Support for latest Intel MKL release (included in compiler products). Commercial licenses for Windows version include Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Shell and libraries.
Intel Fortran Composer XE 2011 up to Update 5 (compiler 12.0) November 7, 2010 Coarray Fortran, additional 2003 (FINAL subroutines, GENERIC keyword,) and 2008 (Coarrays, CODIMENSION, SYNC ALL, SYNC IMAGES, SYNC MEMORY, CRITICAL, LOCK, ERROR STOP, ALLOCATE/DEALLOCATE)
Intel Fortran Composer XE 2011 Update 6 and above (compiler 12.1) September 8, 2011 OpenMP 3.1, additional 2003 (ALLOCATE with SOURCE=, polymorphic source) and 2008 standards support, Windows version ships with Visual Studio 2010 Shell.
Intel Fortran Composer XE 2013 (compiler 13.0) September 5, 2012 Linux-based support for Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors, support for Microsoft Visual Studio 12 (Desktop), support for gcc 4.7, support for Intel AVX 2 instructions, updates to existing functionality focused on delivering improved application performance. Continued availability of the Visual Studio 2010 Shell for Windows versions.
Intel Fortran Composer XE 2013 SP1 (compiler 14.0) July 31, 2013 User-Defined Derived Type I/O; OpenMP directives, clauses and procedures; coarrays ; Microsoft Visual Studio parallel build support
Intel Fortran Composer XE 2013 SP1 Update 1 (compiler 14.0.1) October 18, 2013 Japanese localization of 14.0; Windows 8.1 and Xcode 5.0 support
Intel Fortran Composer XE 2015 (compiler 15.0) August 5, 2014 Full support for Fortran 2003; BLOCK from Fortran 2008; EXECUTE_COMMAND_LINE from Fortran 2008; New optimization report annotates the source from within Visual Studio[5]
Intel Fortran Composer XE 2015 Update 1 (compiler 15.0.1) October 30, 2014 AVX-512 support; Japanese localization; MIN/MAX Reductions in SIMD Loop Directive
Intel Fortran Compiler 16.0, part of Intel Parallel Studio XE 2016 August 25, 2015 Submodules from Fortran 2008, enhanced interoperability of Fortran with C from draft Fortran 2015, OpenMP 4.1 extensions


The Intel compiler provides debugging information that is standard for the common debuggers (DWARF 2 on Linux, similar to gdb, and COFF for Windows). The flags to compile with debugging information are /Zi on Windows and -g on Linux. Debugging is done on Windows using the Visual Studio debugger, and on Linux using gdb.

While the Intel compiler can generate a gprof-compatible profiling output, Intel also provides a kernel-level, system-wide statistical profiler as a separate product called VTune. VTune features an easy-to-use GUI (integrated into Visual Studio for Windows, Eclipse for Linux) as well as a command-line interface. In addition to the VTune profiler, there is Intel Advisor that specializes in vectorization optimization and tools for threading design and prototyping.

Intel also offers a tool for memory and threading error detection called Intel Inspector XE. Regarding memory errors, it helps detect memory leaks, memory corruption, allocation/de-allocation of API mismatches and inconsistent memory API usage. Regarding threading errors, it helps detect data races (both heap and stack), deadlocks and thread and synch API errors.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Intel Fortran Compiler 17.0 Release Notes". 
  2. ^ "No Cost Options for Intel Parallel Studio XE, Support yourself, Royalty-Free". 
  3. ^ Intel compiler documentation. Select the Fortran compiler of choice and search for Profile-Guided Optimization.
  4. ^ The Software Optimization Cookbook, High-Performance Recipes for IA-32 Platforms, Richard Gerber, Aart J.C. Bik, Kevin B. Smith, and Xinmin Tian, Intel Press, 2006
  5. ^ "Intel Visual Fortran 15 now available". 

External links[edit]