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photo: Chris Coleman, School of Computing, University of Utah

The National Science Foundation is giving a combined $20 million to two projects that are building cloud computing testbeds for scientists. They’ll features a wide variety of processor, storage and networking options so researchers can test their workloads against new architectures. Read more »

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A company called FarmLink has raised $40 million in equity capital to further its business of analyzing sensor data to determine how much food a field can ideally yield. It’s just the latest in a string of investments at the intersection of agriculture and data. Read more »

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In Brief

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon have created a new programming language called Wyvern that lets developers write web applications using the right language for the job, such as SQL for database queries or JavaScript for interactive content. Wyvern uses context from the types of data being manipulated to understand which language is being used in any given part of the code. Wyvern could help eliminate scripting and SQL injection attacks, the researchers note in a press release. However, they add, “Wyvern is not yet fully engineered … but is an open source project that is ready for experimental use by early adopters.”

In Brief

Splice Machine, a San Francisco-based startup promising to turn HBase into a relational database that can even handle transactional workloads, has added $3 million to its series B round of venture capital. Correlation Ventures led the latest cash infusion, which is in addition to the $15 million that Interwest Partners and Mohr Davidow Ventures invested into Splice Machine in February. The SQL-on-Hadoop space hasn’t been too good to startups (see, e.g., the fates of Hadapt, Drawn to Scale and even Karmasphere) but perhaps Splice Machine, which has the advantage operating in a more-mature Hadoop market, will be an exception.

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photo: Palantir

Palantir has a customer base that pays for results, but the company nonetheless attributes puts a lot of effort into user experience. In June, it re-architected its database simplicity in mind; on Thursday, it acquired a startup doing drag-and-drop mobile app development. Read more »

In Brief

A Cambridge, Massachusetts, startup called Nara has released a service the company claims use “deep learning artificial intelligence” to improve online personalization. Essentially, the technology works by scouring customer databases and the web, identifying attributes and connecting the dots between them. Nara’s team has some chops in neuroscience and computer science, but it’s difficult to tell if Nara is actually doing deep learning as it’s usually defined or something based more on mimicking the human brain. Regardless the technology, though, personalization and recommendation systems are currently a major focus of many machine learning efforts both commercial and open source.

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