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In Brief

Context Relevant, a Seattle-based startup that promises to create accurate predictive models in a hurry, even across large datasets, has raised a $21 million series B round of venture capital. Formation 8 led the round, which also included existing investors Madrona Venture Group, Bloomberg Beta and Vulcan Capital, and several angels and strategic investors. Context Relevant’s technology includes specialized algorithms for functions such as fraud detection and behavioral analysis, then automatically analyzes data against them and generates models that can added to applications without recoding.

In Brief

6Sense, a startup using machine learning to help companies predict who’ll buy their products, launched on Monday along with $12 million in venture capital from Battery Ventures and Venrock. The company claims it uses behavioral data to predict when customers are in the market to buy, and it focuses on each part of the sales cycle. Sales and marketing have become major use cases for machine learning, with a growing numbers of startups trying to help business know which customers to target, when and how.

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In Brief

Eric Baldeschwieler, the founding CEO of Hortonworks and former Yahoo VP who led the company’s Hadoop development efforts, is now a strategic adviser to Hadoop startup DataTorrent. The company, which won the Structure Data Readers’ Choice award for infrastructure startups, sells stream-processing software designed to run in Hadoop environments (on top of YARN). Baldeschwieler also advises the white-hot Apache Spark startup Databricks. He left Hortonworks, where he was most recently CTO, in August 2013.

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photo: U.S. Air Force / Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder

An Australian company called Aerospace Concepts is partnering with Lockheed Martin to perform research on its quantum computer that could result in the world’s first quantum computing software company. Aerospace Concepts specializes in complex system design, a presumably strong use case for quantum computing. Read more »

In Brief

Data analytics and visualization specialist Tableau Software announced its first-quarter financial results on Monday, touting $74.6 million in revenue and an 86 percent increase over the same period a year earlier. Tableau isn’t the biggest player in the business intelligence and data analysis world, but it’s probably the fastest growing one — especially among public companies. In 2013, Tableau’s revenues grew 82 percent to $232 million; an 82 percent increase for 2014 would put Tableau’s annual revenue at more than $422 million.

Andrew Higginbotham, SVP of CenturyLink Cloud.
photo: CenturyLink

On our Structure Show podcast, CenturyLink’s VP of cloud explains why he thinks the company be the first telco to really make a dent in the cloud computing market by leveraging its network assets and offering an enterprise cloud that also caters to developers. Read more »

In Brief

Aviso, a startup from Zuora co-founder K.V. Rao and former JPMorgan Chase head quant Andrew Abrahams, launched on Wednesday with a new service for applying risk-analysis methods to corporate revenue. The company has raised $8 million in series A venture capital from Shasta Ventures, First Round Capital, Cowboy Ventures and Bloomberg Beta. In an interview, Rao explained that companies — like investment banks — should use machine learning to constantly analyze their corporate data and external data in order to spot potential shortfalls. That some people still use Excel as their primary tool for this, Rao said, “is a little appalling.”

In Brief

A startup called Pepperdata launched on Tuesday along with $5 million in series A venture capital from Signia Venture Partners and Webb Investment Network. The company, which was co-founded by two Yahoo and Microsoft veterans, says its technology sits above the Hadoop cluster and monitors the resource usage of each running task. Cluster management is very important, but Pepperdata’s challenge will be proving its approach is good enough to justify paying a third party rather than using existing vendor software (including from Cloudera) or open source projects such as Apache Ambari and Apache Mesos.

As a new brain-like computing architecture out of Stanford demonstrates, we’re on the cusp of powerful, but fundamentally different ways of doing computing. However, whether they’re embedded in devices or packed together in supercomputers, programming these new types of systems will take some re-education. Read more »

Mark Shuttleworth. Source: Canonical
photo: Canonical

Canonical founder and space traveler Mark Shuttleworth came on the Structure Show this week to discuss Ubuntu’s role as the operating system of choice for cloud computing. As OpenStack takes precedence over the operating system, he argues, Red Hat’s licensing can’t last. Read more »

On The Web

This is a good explainer from MIT Technology Review of how Microsoft’s Cortana works. As we noted yesterday, and last year, Bing has strategic value to beyond just search revenue. It’s a great place to gather data that can help train other machine learning systems, and a great testbed for new types of features.

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photo: Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon researchers have created an application that visualizes tabular data and lets users analyze it using hand gestures. It’s not the first attempt to rethink analytics for a mobile world, but it’s interesting and a sign of things to come. Read more »

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