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Scala & Akka Creators Launch Typesafe Company for Multicore and Cloud Architectures

by Mirko Stocker on May 12, 2011 |

Martin Odersky, creator of the Scala programming language, and Jonas Bonér, the creator of Akka, launched their new company Typesafe with $3 million in Series A financing led by Greylock Partners. From the press release:

The company also introduced the open source Typesafe Stack, which integrates the most recent releases of the Scala programming language, Akka middleware and developer tools to simplify and accelerate software development with Scala.

"The previous generation application architecture came from sequential computing and it is running out of steam. This shows in the middleware stack, too," said Odersky. "With Typesafe, we're introducing a modern software architecture that is designed for parallel and distributed computing, bringing huge advantages in scalability and reliability. Moreover, Typesafe is committed to ensuring Scala is 100 percent interoperable with existing Java investments in the enterprise."

Simultaneously to the announcement, Scala 2.9 and Akka 1.1 were also released today. Scala 2.9 introduces parallel collections, which turn ordinary collections like arrays, vectors, and maps into parallel ones that automatically distribute their work on multiple processors. Akka is "the platform for the next generation event-driven, scalable and fault-tolerant architectures on the JVM".

Like Erlang, Akka uses the actor model and a let it crash / embrace failure model. Actors and "Software Transactional Memory [..] raise the abstraction level and provide a better platform to build correct concurrent and scalable applications" (more about Akka on InfoQ).

Scala and Akka will remain available as open source software, with Typesafe providing commercial support:

The Typesafe Stack is backed by Typesafe co-founders Odersky and Jonas Bonér, creators of Scala and Akka, respectively, and their team of engineers who are key contributors to those projects. Typesafe now offers optional commercial support and maintenance through the Typesafe Subscription. The company also provides documentation, training and consulting services to help extend the use and productivity of Scala in the Java ecosystem, protecting billions of dollars in investments that enterprise companies have made in Java technology and talent over the last two decades.

Typesafe's advisory board contains two well-known individuals of the Java community: Java's father James Gosling and the concurrency expert Doug Lea.

InfoQ had the chance to talk to Martin Odersky to learn more about his plans: Last year, you launched the Scala Solutions company, so why start a new company?

Scala Solutions (the Scala company) joined forces with Scalable Solutions from Sweden (the Akka company). Scala Solutions is a wholly owned subsidiary of Typesafe.

InfoQ: In January, the Scala team at EPFL won a €2.3 million European Research Grant. How is this related to Typesafe?

The grant is for the EPFL Scala team, which collaborates closely with Stanford university on the next generation of parallel domain specific languages that will be embedded in Scala. The Typesafe company plans to develop key pieces of that research for enterprise usage once they are mature enough.

InfoQ: The Scala IDE for Eclipse has recently made huge progress, will Typesafe continue to invest into the IDE and other tools?

Absolutely. We recognize that first-class development environments are essential, and will increase further the resources we invest in this area. Typesafe will also support of SBT and work on a tight integration with the Eclipse IDE.

Find out more about Typesafe on their new website, where you can also download the Typesafe stack, and follow them on Twitter.

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