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Cloudera acquires Fast Forward Labs to bring AI closer to open source

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Cloudera Fast Forward Labs

Cloudera has announced the acquisition of Fast Forward Labs, a startup in the emerging field of applied research on machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). The new deal is aimed at advancing the present expertise of the US company and blend open source with machine learning and AI practices.

“This merger adds outstanding talent to Cloudera’s already-deep bench,” said Mike Olson, chief strategy officer, Cloudera, in a statement.

Fast Forward Labs provides organisations with an applied research programme that helps them to step into the space of data science and machine learning. The company highlights the practical applications of the newly developed technologies and “addresses capability gaps” to let enterprise customers pick the best options. These are the avenues that are vital for Cloudera to enhance its software, support, service and training models that are mainly driven by Apache Hadoop and other Apache-licensed open source projects.

“We’re delighted to join forces with a company that drives progress in the foundational technologies our work relies on. By joining Cloudera, we will be able to bring the opportunities discovered in our research of life in new ways, at the scale of the Cloudera platform,” writes Hilary Mason, CEO and co-founder, Fast Forward Labs, in a blog post.

As a result of the acquisition, Mason will now serve as the vice president of research at Cloudera. The Palo, Alto, Calif.-headquartered company will also add developer talent from Fast Forward Labs to make its products future-proof to some extent.

However, Cloudera and Fast Forward Labs didn’t announce any details about their joint operations as a single entity. “Each of us has a solid customer base that can benefit from the products we offer together,” affirms Olson, without revealing any particular benefits to customers.

The deal, as Mason highlighted in her post, will not bring any significant changes for the existing clients of Fast Forward Labs. Moreover, its ongoing research and advisory services will continue to be available.