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6/5/2007
07:14 PM
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Google Acquires Multicore Programming Startup PeakStream

PeakStream launched last September with $17 million in Series B funding and is helmed by executives from Nvidia, Sun Microsystems, and VMware.

Google on Tuesday said it has acquired a startup called PeakStream that specializes in software programming tools for high-performance, multicore, and parallel processors.

In an e-mail statement, Google said, "We believe the PeakStream team's broad technical expertise can help build products and features that will benefit our users. We look forward to providing them with additional resources as they continue developing high-performance applications for modern multicore systems."

A Google spokesperson declined to detail the price.

PeakStream's Web site was down most of Tuesday afternoon, possibly a consequence of the acquisition news. A company spokesperson wasn't immediately available to comment on the purchase.

PeakStream advertises that it "makes it easy to program new high-performance, multicore, and parallel processors and convert them into radically powerful computing engines for computationally intense applications."

The fledgling company launched last September with $17 million in Series B funding, helmed by executives from graphics chipmaker Nvidia, Sun Microsystems, and VMware.

It's not known what immediate plans Google has for PeakStream, but programming software for multiple cores or multiple threads is widely viewed as more difficult than single-core or single-threaded programming.

In a press release last month, Faisal Saied, senior research scientist for information technology at Purdue University, warned that multicore chips weren't being fully utilized because of lack of programming expertise.

"High-performance computing experts have learned to deal with this, but they are a fraction of the programmers," said Saied. "In the future, you won't be able to get a computer that's not multicore, and as multicore chips become ubiquitous, all programmers will have to learn new tricks."

In an interview just prior to Google Developer Day last week, Chris DiBona, open-source program manager for Google, acknowledged that multicore programming isn't for everyone.

"A lot of developers are in fact pretty well served by concentrating on what a single thread of execution looks like, because when you start introducing multiple threads, it can add a level of complexity to your code that's pretty daunting," DiBona said. "And some developers aren't going to get a lot of benefit from taking advantage of an extra core or an extra CPU."

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