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photo: Google's new deep learning architectures

Google researchers have developed new methods for analyzing language using deep learning techniques. They’ve also open sourced an implementation of their work so any researchers can experiment with it. It could be the first of many deep learning tools designed for mass consumption. Read more »

In Brief

When it comes to data, soccer is the new baseball. The latest issue of the Economist has an article breaking down English Premiere League soccer players using data, and a subsequent blog post includes an interactive tool from machine learning startup Ayasdi that lets readers explore the data. Earlier this week, Disney researchers presented their analysis of an entire year’s worth of ball-position data for a professional soccer league and how that can affect the outcome of games.

On The Web

Almost anything you want to know about how Netflix is scaling its streaming API to support a growing number of users. devices and geographies. No matter how many times I read (or write) about it, I’m still impressed by what Netflix is able to do using an entirely cloud-based infrastructure.

In Brief

A Chicago-based startup called AvantCredit has raised a $20 million series B round for its personal loan service that uses machine learning algorithms to assess credit-worthiness. AvantCredit closed a $34 million Series A round earlier this year. It’s taking a page out of the ZestFinance playbook — lending to underserved markets at rates less usurious than traditional payday-loan providers — although that company now acts only as an underwriter rather than an actual lender.

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In Brief

Looker, a Santa Cruz, Calif.-based business intelligence startup, has raised a $16 million series A round from Redpoint Ventures and First Round Capital. In an age of data tools targeting lay users, Looker is taking a different approach by trying to empower smart data analysts with its custom modeling language. The company closed a $1.7 million seed round in March.

In Brief

Predictive analytics specialist NICE has acquired Causata, a marketing analytics startup built around a core of big data and machine learning technologies. Causata should bolster NICE’s customer-engagement platform that helps companies better understand their customers. The four-year-old Causata has raised $23 million in venture capital, all from Accel Partners.

On The Web

Curt Monash has some interesting data points on Hortonworks and the Hadoop market from its point of view — competitive landscape, cluster size, hardware setups, etc. Also word that Eric Baldeschwieler is doing “his own thing.”

Researchers have simulated 1 second of real brain activity, on a network equivalent to 1 percent of an actual brain’s neural network, using the world’s fourth-fastest supercomputer. The results aren’t revolutionary just yet, but they do hint at what will be possible as computing power increases. Read more »

In Brief

NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander gave a contentious opening keynote at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference on Wednesday. Alexander defended the NSA’s activities, while some in the crowd hurled accusations of lying at him. Here are the links to a video of his keynote as well as his presentation slides. (Fair warning, the servers seem a bit bogged down.)

Gen. Keith Alexander

Gen. Keith Alexander

Image: Black Hat USA 2013

In Brief

Red Hat Enterprise Linux has some advanced identity management features, and now it has extended them to popular NoSQL database MongoDB. According to a 10gen press release, “IT departments now have access to centralized user, password and certificate management, and are empowered to provide secure MongoDB deployments that are tightly integrated into their back office infrastructure.”

On The Web

Mona Chalabi tried to dig up some numbers about online abuse (in light of the recent Twitter rape-threat controversy) and found them hard to come by. Even in an age of over-sharing on social media, it’s hard to quantify some problems without access to sophisticated algorithms and people willing to spends lots of time on them.

In Brief

GridGain Systems has raised a $10 million series B investment round for its suite of in-memory computing technology. In-memory databases are popular because of their low latency, but GridGain actually offers a whole line of other use-specific products, including for high-performance computing and Hadoop. Almaz Capital led the round, with participation from existing investor RTP Ventures.

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