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Dec 22 2016

ARM Buys HPC Software Firm

For a good while, British chip designers ARM Ltd. have been trying to secure themselves a share of the growing market for HPC processors. So far with limited success – right now, the field belongs to Intel and IBM. But ARM's chances may well increase in the near future, since it has now acquired Allinea Software, a company prominent for its HPC development and performance monitoring tools.

The company's portfolio consists of three products: Allinea DDT, a debugger for the C, C++ and Fortran 90 programming languages; Allinea MAP, an "application profiler" that checks on the performance of HPC Linux code; and Allinea FORGE, the overarching development suite. According to the official press release accompanying the merger, these tools are currently used on 80% of the world's 25 fastest supercomputers, among them systems run by the U.S. Department of Energy, NASA, and various public and private research labs including Japan's RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science, home to Fujitsu's famous K supercomputer. In future, Allinea's team will join forces with ARM's development solutions group, to work on machine learning and data analytics software as well as on code for embedded systems.

Apart from strategic considerations, there may also be a more pragmatic reason for the merger. Back in June, ARM signed a contract with Fujitsu that it would provide the processor platform for Fujitsu's upcoming Post-K supercomputer, which has been in the making for several years and is due to be released at some point in 2020. Joint efforts in hard- and software development may help streamline the transition.

The merger is effective immediately. Financial details were not disclosed.


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