For scientific and high performance computing Algol was considered, and possibly is still considered by some, to be a more powerful language than Fortran. For the same algorithm encoded in both languages and using the same data, which of the two languages executed programs the fastest?
My experience has been if you want to do intensive number crunching, such as might be used for, say, weather forecasting, use Fortran. In the past that used to be FORTRAN 77, now it's modern Fortran (90, onward ...).
I know some software packages used by the mining industry, originally written in FORTRAN 77 in the 1980s and 1990s were later rewritten using C, just to get them "modernized". Apparently computational speeds were reasonably similar.
Physicists and those involved with the cosmic sciences have need of high speed computer processing and they still use Fortran, whether it be old FORTRAN 77 or modern Fortran 90/95/03/08 ...
To moderize, some use C++, but FORTRAN/Fortran is still part of their software toolkit and will be for some time, irrespective of implementation.
Python, which is the darling of computer scientists, is usually about 100 times slower, but that is the nature of interpreted code. Python is unsuited for heavy numerical computation, ...
In my reading, a number of people have commented how Algol was so much better or preferred than FORTRAN.
- I. D. Hill, FORTRAN versus Algol
- Josef Illes, My comments on FORTRAN versus Algol
- A Brief Description and Comparison of Programming Languages FORTRAN , ALGOL , COBOL , and LISP 1 . 5
This then begs the question, for a given implementation, was Algol faster than FORTRAN?