Fortran 90 permits a programmer to arrange things so that the same name can be used to invoke different procedures, the meaning of an intrinsic operator can be extended so that it has programmer-defined meaning(s) in addition to its intrinsic meanings, and the meaning of the equal sign (=) can also be extended so that it has programmer-defined meaning(s) in addition to its intrinsic meanings. There are similar capabilities in Ada and C++, and the term “overloading” is frequently used in discussing such capabilities. But in addition to supporting the overloading of intrinsic operators, Fortran 90 permits the programmer to define new operators, a capability not currently available in other popular languages. The remainder of this section will introduce overloading and programmer-defined operators as implemented in Fortran 90, and the rest of the chapter will discuss the details.
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