I am writing a Fortran function that needs to receive two vectors of reals, and as an output, returns a vector. The function could be for example the sum of the two vectors:

function sumtwovectors( n, v1, v2 )

implicit none
real(kind=8), dimension(100000)             :: sumtwovectors
integer, intent(in)                         :: n
real(kind=8), dimension(100000), intent(in) :: v1, v2

integer :: i

if (n .gt. 100000) then
    sumtwovectors(:) = -99

do i = 1, n
    sumtwovectors(i) = v1(i) + v2(i)


end function sumtwovectors

which is then compiled without error into a dll with

gfortran -c sumtwovectors.f90 -o sumtwovectors.o
gfortran -shared -mrtd -o test.dll sumtwovectors.o

This dll should be NET-compatible, so I load it into Mathematica ( path contains the path where the dll is stored):

sumtwovectors = DefineDLLFunction["sumtovectors_", path, "double[]", {"short*", "double[]", "double[]"}]

but when I run this, I have an error:

sumtwovectors[3, {1, 3, 2}, {3, 4, 5}]

NET::netexcptn: A .NET exception occurred: System.Runtime.InteropServices.MarshalDirectiveException: Impossible de marshaler 'return value' : Combinaison de types managés/non managés non valide.
à Wolfram.NETLink.DynamicDLLNamespace.DLLWrapper1.sumtovectors_(Int16& , Double[] , Double[] ).
  1. How can I make this work in Mathematica? I tried enclosing the two list into MakeNETObject[] but to no avail.
  2. Instead of having a maximum size (1000000), could it work with no defined maximum size?

2 Answers 2


I'm not familiar with .NET interface for WM, but your problem can be solved with LibraryLink. With LibraryLink it is possible to create a shared lib which can be loaded with LibraryFunctionLoad[] or, perhaps, this lib can be accessed with .NET interface.

Fortran has interoperability with C. While it is possible to call Fortran functions with <name>_, the modern way is to use the intrinsic iso_c_binding module.

You want to interface a function that returns an array. It's OK in Fortran, but C functions do not return arrays. A solution is to use a subroutine in Fortran and a void function in C.

Create funs.f90, test.c, test.f90 and interface.cpp in your notebook directory (see files contents below or download all files forum.tar.gz)

(* set directory *)
SetDirectory[NotebookDirectory[]] ;

You can define your Fortran procedures in a module.

(* fortran module *)
module funs
  use, intrinsic :: iso_c_binding, only : ik => c_int, rk => c_double
  implicit none
  public :: ik
  public :: rk
  public :: vsum
  ! void vsum(int, double*, double*, double*) ;
  pure subroutine vsum(n, v1, v2, v3) bind(c, name = "vsum")
    integer(ik), value, intent(in) :: n
    real(rk), dimension(n), intent(in) :: v1
    real(rk), dimension(n), intent(in) :: v2
    real(rk), dimension(n), intent(out) :: v3
    v3 = v1 + v2
  end subroutine vsum
end module funs

Note, array dims are set by the input arg n. Array length n also has value keyword which allows to pass it by value in C.

(* compile fortran module *)
Run["gfortran -c -std=f2008 -O3 funs.f90"]
(* 0 *)

Here is a test Fortran program that uses this module.

(* fortran test program *)
program test
  use funs
  implicit none
  integer(ik), parameter :: n = 16_ik
  real(rk), dimension(n) :: v1, v2, v3
  integer(ik) :: i
  v1 = real([(i, i = 1_ik, n, 1_ik)], rk)
  v2 = v1
  call vsum(n, v1, v2, v3)
  do i = 1_ik, n, 1_ik
    write(*,*) v3(i)
  end do
end program test
(* compile and run fortran test program *)
Run["gfortran -c -std=f2008 -O3 test.f90"]
Run["gfortran -o test -std=f2008 -O3 funs.o test.o"]
ImportString[RunProcess["./test", "StandardOutput"],"List"]

Here is a test C program that uses this module.

(* c test program *)
#include <stdio.h>
void vsum(int, double*, double*, double*) ;
int main(){
  int n = 16 ;
  double x[n], y[n], z[n] ;
  for(int i = 0 ; i < n ; i++){
    x[i] = (double) i + 1 ;
    y[i] = (double) i + 1;
    z[i] = 0.0 ;
  vsum(n, x, y, z) ;
  for(int i = 0 ; i < n ; i++){
    printf("%lf\n",z[i]) ;
  return 0 ;
(* compile and run c test program *)
Run["gcc -c -std=c99 -O3 test.c"]
Run["gcc -o test -std=c99 -O3 funs.o test.o"]
ImportString[RunProcess["./test", "StandardOutput"],"List"]

For LibraryLink you need to define a wrapper.

(* library link *)
#include "WolframLibrary.h"
#include "WolframCompileLibrary.h"
DLLEXPORT mint WolframLibrary_getVersion(){ return WolframLibraryVersion ; }
DLLEXPORT int WolframLibrary_initialize(WolframLibraryData libData){ return 0 ; }
extern "C" { void vsum(int, double*, double*, double*) ;}
EXTERN_C DLLEXPORT int vsum_ll(WolframLibraryData libData, mint Argc, MArgument *Args, MArgument Res){
  mint n = MArgument_getInteger(Args[0]) ;
  MTensor v1 = MArgument_getMTensor(Args[1]) ;
  MTensor v2 = MArgument_getMTensor(Args[2]) ;
  MTensor v3 = 0 ;
  libData->MTensor_clone(v1, &v3);
  ) ;
  MArgument_setMTensor(Res,v3) ;
(* create library *)
Needs["CCompilerDriver`"] ;
    {"interface.cpp", "funs.o"},
    "TargetDirectory" -> NotebookDirectory[],
    "CleanIntermediate" -> True,
    "Debug" -> False,
    "CompileOptions" -> "-O3"
] ;

This creates vsum_ll lib with vsum_ll function that calls vsum procedure. You can try to load it with .NET or with LibraryFunctionLoad[].

(* load library *)
Quiet[LibraryFunctionUnload[lib]] ;
ClearAll[lib] ;
lib = LibraryFunctionLoad[
] ;

This function can now be used in WM.

(* test *)
n = 16 ;
v1 = v2 = N[Range[n]] ;

As an extra step, you can wrap it into Compile[], this allows to use listability and also provides some safety.

(* wrapper *)
ClearAll[vsum] ;
vsum = Compile[
    CompilationTarget -> "C",
    CompilationOptions -> {"InlineExternalDefinitions" -> True, "InlineCompiledFunctions" -> True},
    RuntimeOptions -> "Speed",
    Parallelization -> True,
    RuntimeAttributes -> {Listable}
] ;

Test wrapped version and instability.

(* test *)
(* sequential *)
(* listable *)

Unload lib when done.

(* unload *)

You can find more examples of Fortran in WM here or here.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very much for you very complete answer. It was very helpful. However, the complexity of the process (using a C wrapper to a fortran function) is precisely something I wanted to avoid. $\endgroup$ Dec 7, 2020 at 2:46
  • $\begingroup$ "... but C functions do not return arrays" Ahah, I didn't know about this. Modifying the fortran code to have two input vectors and one ouptut vectors should make things easier? $\endgroup$ Dec 7, 2020 at 2:47
  • $\begingroup$ @DenisCousineau, yes, Fortran code is changed (function is replaced by subroutine) to match void C function. The wrapper is for Cpp which is used in LibraryLink, it uses an external C function which in fact is a Fortran sub. Basically, you just need to interface an external C in C#. $\endgroup$
    – I.M.
    Dec 7, 2020 at 6:02
  • $\begingroup$ @DenisCousineau, if you insist on using function in Fortran, you can wrap it in subroutine and then use it in C. Perhaps, this can be done with pointers, but I do not have such experience. $\endgroup$
    – I.M.
    Dec 7, 2020 at 6:04

The comment from I.M. "C functions do not return arrays" made me try a different approach with a subroutine rather than a function.

Let the Fortran subroutine be

subroutine vsum( n, v1, v2, v3 )

implicit none
integer, intent(in)                          :: n
real(kind=8), dimension(100000), intent(in)  :: v1, v2
real(kind=8), dimension(100000), intent(out) :: v3

integer :: i

do i = 1, n
    v3(i) = v1(i) + v2(i)


end subroutine vsum

in which v3 is an ouptut argument that will be used to return the answer. This file is compiled to a dynamically-link library (DLL) with

gfortran -c vsum.f90 -o vsum.o
gfortran -shared - mrtd -o vsum.dll vsum.o

In Mathematica, load and install the NETLink library, define the function, and initialize a container NETres that will receive the result:

sumtwovectors = 
  DefineDLLFunction["vsum_", path <> "vsum.dll", 
   "void", {"short*", "double[]", "double[]", "double[]"}
NETres = MakeNETObject[{0., 0., 0.}];

You are ready to use the function and unpack the NETres container:

sumtwovectors[3, {N[Pi], 10., 1000.}, {100., 100., 100.}, NETres]
  • $\begingroup$ This approach was also mentioned 8 years ago here, though I am not so sure how well supported and robust NETLink is (on Windows, but also on Linux and MacOSX, as Mono). $\endgroup$ Dec 10, 2020 at 0:04

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