Thursday, 19 March 2009

OCaml at Cilk Arts Ltd.

Cilk is an award-winning language for multithreaded parallel programming based on ANSI C and is the culmination of 15 years of research at MIT in preparation for the shared memory multicore computers that are now ubiquitous. An open source implementation of Cilk is freely available.

We have tried Cilk ourselves and found the solution it provides to be both easy and extremely efficient and it is certainly preferable to cumbersome alternatives like OpenMP. In fact, we were so impressed that we are not only using Cilk to write an experimental parallel garbage collector for our HLVM project but we are also drawing upon the design of Cilk to provide high-level parallel constructs as well.

The group responsible for Cilk founded a spin-off company Cilk Arts Ltd. in 2006 using venture capital. Cilk Arts released their first commercial product, Cilk++, in 2008. The company is now rapidly asserting itself as a major player for shared memory parallel programming.

Interestingly, although the open source implementation of Cilk is written in C, Cilk Arts have been hiring OCaml programmers since 2007 because a "major part" of their code base is written in OCaml.


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