Cloud tool to look for parallelism in C

Eindhoven-based startup Vector Fabrics has launched the first of a series of tools designed to ease the job of making sequential C code run across multiple processors. The first tool analyses code to look for possible ways to split up the code and find potential obstacles.

“What we developed is a deeper technology of which the analyst tool is the first coming up above the water,” said Mike Beunder, CEO of Vector Fabrics. “It looks at the patterns of communication in sequential applications, recognising whether a thread can be split off and run on another processor.”

The vfAnalyst tool performs both static and dynamic analyses, using test vectors to assess program behaviour. Later tools will perform the job of transforming the code itself and doing more extensive reworking. The second tool will appear later in the year, focusing initially on x86-based software and will take into account the impact of caching and interprocessor-communications overhead.

The company has taken a similar approach to Critical Blue in charging a monthly subscription but users do not download the tool itself. Instead, they use a Flash-based interface to access software that runs on Internet servers.

Beunder said the company chose to adopt cloud computing as the host for the tool because “the products that we will release down the line will require a lot of CPU muscle”.

Although the standard tool runs on Amazon’s cloud-computing server farm, Vector Fabrics will offer the option of setting up ‘private clouds’ for organisations that have policies that, for security reasons, do not allow code to be transferred to shared servers.

Beunder said the company formed around “three technical guys coming from diverse directions but encountering each other in different projects at Philips Research and NXP”.

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