The all-singing and dancing elephant

Cloudera snap up machine learning startup Myrrix

Chris Mayer
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The Hadoop vendor have made their first acquisition, bringing the one-year old London company (and its founder) into the fold.

Cloudera has made its first purchase, snapping

up the London machine learning startup Myrrix, as well as its
founder.

Details of the acquisition were announced

in a blogpost on Tuesday
, where Myrrix
founder Sean Owen explained that he would be joining the Hadoop
vendor as Director of Data Science in London, as well as bringing
some of the technology behind his company with him.

Myrrix was created 12 months ago, intending to
commercialise machine learning by using Apache Hadoop and Apache
Mahout, a side project devoted to providing free scalable data
mining algorithms.

Prior to this, Owen created Taste in
2005, an open source project that contains implementations for
basic recommender systems. This then merged into Apache Mahout
three years later. Myrrix takes the Recommender API from Mahout and
integrates it into distributed implementations.

Although some of Myrrix’s IP will transfer
across to Cloudera, Owen doesn’t disclose just how the technology
will be used. He added that there were “no new products to
announce” with his time being spent on “figuring out how to
incorporate the technology into CDH in just the right
way.”

Though not a new area of expertise, there’s
undeniably a renewed interest in machine learning, with

a flurry of startups spawning in recent months

to tap into the gold mine. Owen believes this reignition is
down to the growth of Hadoop and cheap hardware and data
storage.

“With cheap disks and CPUs, and mature
open-source databases and computation frameworks, startups and even
individuals can afford to run terribly complex computations over
terabytes,” he explained, before adding that machine learning isn’t
just conducted by the big companies alone anymore, but the
data-savvy ones.

As customers look to explore more data-intensive
operations, Cloudera recognises the importance of adding more
strings to the proverbial bow, other than offering a finely-tuned
Hadoop distribution. Launching interactive SQL query engine

Impala last October
demonstrated their
intentions to bolster the platform, so it will be interesting to
see how Myrrix fits into the wider picture.

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