TL; DR: Hadean, founded in 2015, is on a mission to solve critical computational issues by leveraging a scientific approach. The company’s fundamental technology, HadeanOS, empowers developers to use distributed cloud-native applications, such as Aether Engine. Partnerships with CCP Games, Microsoft, and the Francis Crick Institute are helping Hadean find its initial product-market fit to eventually solve humanity’s greatest challenges.
If you’re an average tech consumer, you probably take apps such as Spotify, Uber, and Dropbox at face value. You know that they reside on your smartphone, serve a purpose, and — most of the time — do it well.
But underlying all web and mobile applications is a combination of the programming languages, frameworks, and tools developers use to interface with applications. These sets of technologies are known as tech stacks.
And not every tech stack is perfect. Many solutions built on legacy infrastructure are heavily reliant on middleware — sometimes described as the software glue that extends services to apps beyond what the operating system provides.
Middleware can add numerous microservices and containers between applications and bare-metal hardware. Ultimately, this bloats the tech stack and leaves developers with limited scalability, high operating costs, complex orchestration, and reduced performance, among other notable issues.
It’s not a pretty picture — and the folks at Hadean know it. That’s why, in 2015, the company set out to resolve such challenges via HadeanOS, a powerful cloud-native operating system designed for distributed computing that enables the next generation of dynamic and scalable applications.
“The outdated tech stacks that developers have to deal with are heavily overinflated, preventing them from achieving technological breakthroughs,” said Aidan Hobson-Sayers, Vice President of Product at Hadean. “The team at Hadean reduced the overall tech stack from multiple layers to just three, which are the bare metal, HadeanOS, and the application.”
Today, HadeanOS enables developers to use robust cloud applications built upon distributed computing infrastructures. But, ultimately, the foundational technology will serve as a launchpad for addressing broader computational problems in gaming, artificial intelligence, and life sciences.
The Foundational Next-Gen Technology: HadeanOS
The first-principles approach to innovation — used by the likes of Aristotle and Elon Musk — involves taking complex problems and working backward to identify fundamental truths. Reasoning using first principles eliminates existing assumptions, allowing entrepreneurs to tackle issues from unique angles and make giant steps toward disruptive innovation.
In its quest to unlock the opportunities that are held back by limitations of current technology, the Hadean team also leverages first-principle thinking. In developing HadeanOS, for example, the company sought to address what it considered a core technological challenge: programming distributed systems to resolve complex problems in real time.
“With that mission in mind, the early team worked in incubators and accelerator programs,” Aidan said. “For example, we were part of the initial cohort of Entrepreneur First, which has helped kick-start some big names in deep tech.”
With the help of Entrepreneur First and other investors, including Draper Esprit, LVP, and Luminous Ventures, Hadean went on to raise a total of 12.35 million Euros from six funding rounds, allowing the startup team to turn its vision of HadeanOS into reality.
The technology was built upon six core concepts: a distributed process model, no additional levels of abstraction, isolation, flexible deployment, support for all languages, and robust and reliable networking.
The distributed process model, for instance, automatically optimizes resource allocation so that developers don’t have to. Secondly, HadeanOS removes the need for middleware to eliminate performance and reliability issues. Third, it handles processes in complete isolation, reducing the chance of disruption due to other ongoing operations.
HadeanOS also features flexible deployment. Even though it’s designed for distributed computing, it allows developers to use familiar protocols (such as TCP and UDP) if desired.
Support for all languages enables developers to use any code in compliance with Linux ELF. Finally, the operating system boasts high predictability with network primitives optimized for cloud infrastructure.
Partnerships with CCP Games, Microsoft, and the Francis Crick Institute
Hadean is also the force behind Aether Engine, a spatial simulation solution built on top of HadeanOS. By removing outdated technical constraints, the technology frees game developers from DevOps distractions and allows them to create scalable, cloud-native games players can access with any device.
The first-principles approach is at play with Aether Engine as well. Unlike some competitors, the company’s goal is to look at spatial simulation from a different paradigm.
“The difference with Hadean is we’re not just offering the spatial simulation technology, or looking to just add it into the existing tech stack,” Aidan said. “We’re trying to revolutionize it by starting fresh. By doing so, we create a much stronger foundation that allows Hadean to achieve the next generation of compute.”
To further the development of Aether Engine, Hadean has formed partnerships with several industry pioneers, including CCP Games, the Francis Crick Institute, and Microsoft.
The company’s relationship with Microsoft, for instance, began in 2016 when Hadean participated in the Microsoft Accelerator program in London. Hadean later announced that Aether Engine would be powered by Microsoft Azure, allowing its team to tap into Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud, Edge, and Game Stack technologies.
In addition, Aidan told us Hadean is partnering with the Francis Crick Institute to help computational molecular biologists work with complex datasets at scale in an effort to advance biomedical research. Finally, the company’s close ties with CCP Games — the developer of the popular game EVE Online, is helping Hadean demonstrate the power of next-generation game development on the cloud via EVE: Aether Wars.
Demonstrating the Power of Aether Engine
With the help of its partners over the past year, Hadean has successfully showcased the power of its spatial simulation technology — and the opportunity it delivers to businesses.
At the March 2019 Game Developers Conference (GDC) — the most extensive professional gaming event in the industry — Hadean worked with CCP Games to perform a live scalability test using EVE: Aether Wars. Aidan said it was a bold move, to put it mildly.
“We came out, guns blazing, with a technical demo of over 14,000 clients with more than 3,500 people in one single space,” he said. “We took Aether Engine as a really raw piece of technology, and we were able to demonstrate how we can stand up honestly on two feet in an untested situation. There’s only so much prep you can do.”
In August, the company provided developers at CCP Games the opportunity to build a game using the Aether Engine Software Development Kit (SDK). In just eight weeks, a team of seven people from CCP Games was able to build EVE Aether Wars: Phase Two. The resulting demo successfully supported more than 4,000 players spanning more than 120 countries using a single shard.
“The improvements were significant and really noticeable,” Aidan said. “The tick rate went from being OK to a very consistent and sustainable rate of 30Hz, which actually brings it in line with most consoles today, including PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and so on.”
“Finally, our work with CCP Games for EVE Aether Wars: Phase Three demonstrated the equivalent of an early-access MMO built by the game developers themselves,” Aidan said. “Using a coalition of partners including Steam, the game was a clear demonstration of the power of what the engine could achieve in a short space of time offering CCP Games a clear way of delivering their games to market faster, with a flexible tool that offers an overall lower cost of ownership.”
Beyond Gaming: Solving Humanity’s Greatest Challenges
As Hadean looks onward into 2020, the company has plans to lend a hand in solving some of the world’s most pressing issues in a manner similar to its work with the Francis Crick Institute.
“Gaming is a very good entry point for us as a company because the gaming industry tends to have quite low barriers to entry for new tech,” Aidan said. “But it’s just a start for us. Our long-term focus is actually far more about helping solve the world’s issues as a race.”
Three key areas are particularly important to Hadean as an organization: climate change, terminal diseases, and educational inequality.
“Gaming has really allowed us to demonstrate the power of our technology, but we’ve already started to see some real benefits in these areas,” Aidan said.