Facebook has just agreed to acquire certain assets and hire some employees of UK software verification developer Monoidics. Pending closing conditions, Monoidics’ engineers and tech staff will join Facebook’s London office. Facebook will apply the Monoidics automatic formal verification and analysis software to its mobile development process to scan for bugs.
The Monoidics team writes: “In 2009 we started this company with the goal of making the best automatic formal verification and analysis software in the industry. We’ve gone from theoretical ideas in logics of programs all the way to a company with a world-class engineering team, real customers and an office right in the midst of London’s Silicon Roundabout. It’s been incredible journey. . . we’ve loved every minute of it.” But now its techies are going to continue their mission at Facebook, though the rest of team isn’t coming along. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Facebooker Phillip Su explains, “We have always focused on hiring smart, talented engineers — and in this acquisition, we found many. Their entrepreneurial spirit and desire to make an impact make them great additions to Facebook. We can’t wait to have them here!” As for exactly why Monoidics will be doing with Facebook, the company tells me, “They produce some of the best automatic formal verification and analysis software—code that checks other code for bugs—in the industry, which we will apply to our mobile app development to keep a high quality bar.”
Monoidics’ Infer Static Analyzer helps developers deliver bug-free code with a focus on memory safety and security. It turns bug detection into a mathematical algorithm, generating a correctness proof that guarantees software has no memory leaks or illegal pointer references. It works on all sizes of apps, and can recognize what parts of a piece of software have been updated so it doesn’t redundantly re-scan approved code. Meanwhile, Monoidics’ X-Ray system can visualize software to highlight areas of risk so bug-crushing teams know what to investigate. Monoidics clients included ARM semiconductor, Airbus and Mitsubishi Electric.
Facebook recently moved to a scheduled release cycle where it pushes out iOS and Android updates every month or two months. It also recently launched an Android beta program to let users help it test potential features. All this fast shipping means Facebook could risk pushing out buggy apps. Monoidics could make sure that doesn’t happen.