Today, the 2012 ACM Software System Award has been awarded to Vikram Adve, Evan Cheng and Chris Lattner:
For designing and implementing LLVM, a persistent, language-independent program representation that enables code analysis and transformation, including compile time, link time and run time optimizations, for arbitrary languages. Since its open source release in 2003, LLVM has become widely used in both commercial products and for computer science research.
LLVM (full award citation) is a persistent, language-independent program representation based on static single assignment (SSA) form that enables code analysis and transformation, including compile time, link time and run time optimisations, for arbitrary programming languages.
Due to its open, clean and flexible design and easy to use architecture and programming interfaces, LLVM has replaced GCC as the infrastructure of choice for doing research on program translation, optimisation and analysis. Researchers have used it for projects as diverse as building link-time interprocedural optimisers, just-in-time compilers, secure browser extensions, language virtual machines, static analysis tools, automatic vectorisation, GPU programming, software verification, hardware synthesis tools, embedded code generators and numerous language implementations.
In the years since its release, LLVM has been incorporated into commercial products by Apple, Adobe, AMD, Arxan, AutoESL, Cray, Google, Intel, National Instruments, nVidia, REAL Software, XMOS and many more. LLVM has replaced GCC as the primary compiler in the latest OS X and iOS systems. LLVM has also had significant commercial impact by enabling the design and implementation of powerful graphics languages like OpenCL and Renderscript. Every commercial implementation of OpenCL (e.g. from AMD, Apple, Intel and nVidia) is based on LLVM. All recent Android devices ship with LLVM to compile graphics code written in Renderscript.