Targeting HPC and AI, ARM Acquires Tools Vendor Allinea

By Doug Black

December 16, 2016

Allinea Software, whose cross-platform development and performance analysis tools are used by 80 percent of the world’s top 25 supercomputers, has been acquired by ARM Ltd., which said the move strengthens its HPC offering for both scientific and business computing by extending its portfolio of development tools for the HPC, machine learning and data analytics markets.

The acquisition could signal broadening acceptance of alternative processors used in advanced scale computing environments. While ARM processors are typically used in mobile devices because of their smaller size, reduced complexity and lower power consumption, the architecture is being aggressively pushed into server markets by ARM processor vendors, such as Applied Micro, Cavium, and Qualcomm.

“It’s self-evident that HPC – and, more widely, parallel and distributed computing – is at a fascinating, exciting point,” said Allinea Founder and CEO David Lecomber in a blog post, noting that his organization will integrate with the ARM HPC compiler and libraries engineering teams within ARM’s Development Solutions Group. “Today we can see that the reach of ‘our kind of computing’ is no longer the preserve of scientific research.”

Allinea tools support multiple CPU architectures used in HPC environments, and its customers include the US Department of Energy, NASA, supercomputing national labs and universities, and private companies using HPC systems for scientific computation. The tools help developers deal with systems ranging from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of cores. The product suite includes the developer tool suite Allinea Forge, which incorporates an application debugger called Allinea DDT and a performance analyzer called Allinea MAP, and an analysis tool for system owners, users and administrators called Allinea Performance Reports.

ARM said the acquisition reflects the company’s long-term growth strategy in HPC and builds on ARM’s recent success with Fujitsu’s 64-bit ARMv8-A powered Post K supercomputer, and the launch of the ARMv8-A Scalable Vector Extension. It follows the announcement that ARMv8-A will be the first alternative architecture with support for the OpenHPC, the Intel-led consortium of the Linux Foundation, and the release of ARM Performance Libraries for software development and portability to ARMv8-A server platforms.

“Writing and deploying software that exploits the ever increasing computing power of clusters and supercomputers is a demanding challenge – it needs to run fast, and run right, and that’s exactly what our suite of tools is designed to enable,” said Lecomber. “As part of ARM, we’ll continue to work with the HPC community, our customers and our partners to advance the development of our cross-platform technology, and take advantage of product synergies between ARM’s compilers, libraries and advisory tools and our existing and future debugging and analysis tools.”

“As systems and servers grow in complexity, developers in HPC are facing new challenges that require advanced tools designed to enable them to continue to innovate,” said Javier Orensanz, general manager, development solutions group, ARM. “Allinea’s ability to debug and analyze many-node systems is unique, and with this acquisition we are ensuring that this capability remains available to the whole ARM ecosystem, and to the other CPU architectures prevalent in HPC, as well as in future applications, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced data analytics.”

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