Facebook To Buy British Software Quality Specialist Monoidics

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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Mathematical approach could help improve Facebook’s mobile apps

Monoidics, the software analysis start-up headquartered minutes from London’s Silicon Roundabout, has announced that “certain” assets of the company are being acquired by Facebook.

Monoidics develops automatic formal verification software based on mathematical analysis and academic research. The technology will be used to improve the code quality of Facebook’s mobile apps, which are infamous for their high rate of crashes.

The exact terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. After closing the deal, Monoidics technical team will be moving to Facebook’s offices in London.

The scientists

Founded in 2009 by Italian scientist and entrepreneur Dr Dino Di Stefano, Monoidics aims to improve software quality by focusing on serious computer science. In a nutshell, the company creates tools to analyse complex applications and assess whether they are likely to crash.

The team at MonoidicsIts management team is staffed almost exclusively with PhD holders, and products are used by customers in the automotive, telecommunications, aerospace, medical, and defence industries. In just four years, Monoidics has expanded internationally, with additional offices in Seattle and Tokyo.

Last year, Di Stefano was named as the winner of the British Computer Society’s Roger Needham award for distinguished contributions to computer science. Soon afterwards, he told Information Age that Monoidics could become a part of a bigger company in order to grow.

“We have always looked for ways we could do even more, and when we met members of Facebook’s engineering team, we realized how much we have in common: a relentless focus on quality, a desire to move fast and try new things, and a passion for making an impact,” says a post on the Monoidics website.

“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,” wrote Philip Su, director of Facebook’s London engineering office.

Facebook is expected to use the acquired technology to improve mobile apps on various platforms, especially important now that it has moved to a more frequent release schedule.

Earlier this week, Facebook boasted about a big jump in mobile usage across the UK, suggesting the summer months see members using their smartphones more for social networking. It said users open the Facebook mobile app 10 to 15 times per day while sharing 4.75 billion content items daily (as of May 2013).

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