Twitter Inc Buys Whetlab, A Machine Learning Start-Up

Twitter announced on Thursday that it had bought machine learning start-up Whetlab without revealing the terms of the deal. However, post-acquisition, Twitter will have access to both Whetlab’s technology and its team.

How will Twitter use Whetlab?

Neither party revealed much on how Whetlab is going to contribute to Twitter. However, Whetlab claims that its technology, “can have a great impact by accelerating Twitter’s internal machine learning efforts.” A report from the VentureBeat, citing a source aware of the situation, said that Twitter will utilize the Whetlab’s technology as an internal service to beef up its current machine learning efforts.

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Whetlab’s acquisition by Twitter is interesting, but not very surprising. Now, the micro-blogging company can easily use the technology to learn more about its users by tracking how, when and what they tweet. This could help the social platform to more effectively guard against abuse and spam, re-prioritizing new features for users and businesses, present ads in a better way, and in general, assist with the optimum utilization of engineering resources.

Along with the technology, the micro-blogging site is also likely interested in the five-person team at Whetlab, given their extensive machine learning expertise with expertise in deep learning and artificial intelligence. Team members including Ryan Adams, Hugo Larochelle, Jasper Snoek, Kevin Swersky and Alex Wiltschko will be absorbed by Twitter, where they will focus on accelerating Twitter’s current machine learning efforts.

Whetlab closes for public

Whetlab researchers designed technology at Harvard, Toronto and Sherbrooke universities that allows a machine to automatically ‘learn better and faster”. In other words, the technology made it easier and simpler for the companies to train a machine learning system.

Whetlab, on its official website, notes that their patent-pending system offers an alternative to hiring experts to design and tailor a machine learning system in-house. Whetlab boasts that it can do a better job than today’s human experts, as its technology had “outperformed the top machine learning researchers in configuring systems for the hardest cutting-edge problems.”

After the acquisition, Whetlab is not taking any new signups for its closed data. Further, the service will be closed to the public from July 15, 2015. Existing users can download their past data, which will be available through website, and can then use other systems, like Spearmint, SMAC, or HyperOpt, for example, Whetlab notes.