OCaml Labs Joins Taridesby Thomas Gazagnaire on Jan 27th, 2022
Today I am incredibly delighted to announce that OCaml Labs, a spinout from the University of Cambridge, is joining Tarides. After successfully collaborating on many OCaml projects over the last four years, this alliance will combine the expertise of both groups and enable us to bring OCaml, one of the most advanced programming languages in the world, into mainstream use. Combining forces will accelerate OCaml development and its broader adoption. Furthermore, it will bring the security, portability, and performance of OCaml to a large spectrum of use-cases: from academic endeavours, such as formal methods and existing threats within cyber-security, to real-world applications for climate change, sustainable agriculture, and even space exploration!
All of OCaml Labs’ existing responsibilities and open-source commitments will migrate over to Tarides, and thanks to how closely the teams already work, business will continue without interruption to continuity or delivery. Gemma Gordon will step up as CEO of Tarides, and I will continue to lead the technological vision and strategy as CTO. As Prof. Anil Madhavapeddy, founder of OCaml Labs and scientific advisor of Tarides, points out, “The cutting edge research we conducted at the University over the past decade has now migrated into mainline OCaml, and so the ongoing curation and development will now happen on a commercially supported basis. I’m excited to continue collaborating on research with Tarides from the University of Cambridge.” Tarides will continue the work started at OCaml Labs and invest in the growth, health, and development of OCaml alongside its wider use-cases.
I am honoured to have the incredible OCaml Labs team - the team who carefully designed and crafted Multicore OCaml - join Tarides. We share a similar view that a common plague affects the ever-growing software industry, namely the bad quality of software and the omnipresence of bugs. However, this is not a fatal flaw. Tools developed by OCaml Labs over the years do not compromise on quality, and they allow dev teams to automatically fix at least 70% of security bugs and 0-days security exploits. Consequently, OCaml is a simple yet powerful language that can respond to the many challenges developers face today. Since Tarides’s inception, we have envisioned a future where all OCaml applications are easily deployable as specialised, secure, and energy-efficient MirageOS unikernels. This alliance is a step further in that direction. Since OCaml is the language used to develop MirageOS, Tarides has continuously developed and maintained parts of the OCaml ecosystem since its creation. Our alliance with OCaml Labs makes this more evident. The MirageOS ecosystem critically depends on OCaml, and the OCaml ecosystem benefits from innovations coming from the MirageOS project. Tarides is therefore fully committed to making the synergy between OCaml and MirageOS a success.
Several exciting projects related to Multicore OCaml are coming to a head this year. The OCaml 5.0 release will support multicore and effects handlers, influencing every aspect of the language and its ecosystem. The update will significantly improve both performance and user experience whilst maintaining existing features that make OCaml the language of choice for building, for instance, verification software tools. Using the teams’ combined experience and zest for innovation, Tarides is looking to the future of the OCaml language and community with excitement. We will continue to push the boundaries of exploration whilst focusing on what's good for the community. Therefore, this alliance will complement the commercial offering of Tarides and contribute to Tarides' mission: empowering developers, communities and organisations to adopt OCaml as their primary programming experience by providing training, expertise, and development services around the OCaml language.
“We are thrilled to be part of an organisation innovating in many areas around operating systems, distributed systems, and security with the Irmin distributed store and the MirageOS unikernel projects,” says Gemma Gordon, CEO of Tarides. “I am incredibly proud of the people OCaml Labs has collaborated with. We have been able to build a sustainable open-source community, with people from various backgrounds all collaborating together. It used to be that people would have to volunteer their time on OCaml, or work in academic research. We have created an additional funded path, one that has increased the diversity and innovation of our community. I’m excited to continue to be part of a group that brings the best minds together to solve the many problems the software industry faces today. I look forward to building a flourishing and sustainable commercial business with existing Tarides partners as well as developing new collaborative opportunities.”
This alliance brings the headcount of Tarides up to 60+ people, all working towards making OCaml the best language for any and every project. Join our team: https://tarides.com/company
OCaml Labs has been at the forefront of innovation in OCaml for nearly a decade. It was founded at the University of Cambridge by Prof. Anil Madhavapeddy in 2012 and developed into a spin-out consultancy company in 2016. OCaml Labs' mission was to push OCaml and functional programming forward as a platform, making it a more effective tool for all users (including large-scale industrial deployments) while at the same time growing the appeal of the language to broaden its applicability and popularity.
OCaml Labs has been instrumental in developing and maintaining the OCaml platform for OCaml usage at an industrial scale. OCaml Labs contributed to the development and maintenance of the opam package management ecosystem and of the OCaml community website, https://ocaml.org/, first launched in 2012. These sites act as hubs for the OCaml community to showcase the state-of-the-art and facilitate innovation. A new and improved version of the site has been released under beta this month. In addition, OCaml Labs' most significant (and technically complex) project, OCaml Multicore, will finally come to fruition this year. Work on this project began in 2014, followed by award-winning papers and presentations in 2020 and the announcement in late 2021 that Multicore will become part of the mainline OCaml compiler.
Tarides is a tech start-up founded in Paris in 2018 by pioneers of programming languages and cloud computing. They develop a software infrastructure platform to deploy secure, distributed applications with strict resource constraints and low-latency performance requirements. This platform builds upon innovative and open-source projects such as MirageOS and Irmin and underpins mission-critical deployments such as Tezos, Citrix XenServer, or Docker for Desktop. In addition, Tarides uses unikernel technologies and applies the research done in programming languages to real-world systems to build safe and performant applications.
Tarides has been part of the Founder program of Station F in 2018. In addition, it got selected in France for the Concours d’Innovation i-Lab, organised by the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation in partnership with Bpifrance. This national contest awards company creation and innovative technologies. Tarides got awarded during the FIC 2020, the leading European cybersecurity event.