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Cloudera has acquired a company and its founder to help it develop expertise in machine learning.

The acquisition was announced by the company on Tuesday when Sean Owen, founder of machine-learning company Myrrix, announced that he would be joining Cloudera as its Director of Data Science in London, and the Myrrix technology would be going over as well.

"Sean developed the open source clustering classification functionality within the Apache Mahout project," Charles Zedlewski, vice president of Product for Cloudera, tells us. "It's probably the most popular feature or model within the [Mahout] library."

Apache Mahout is a Hadoop component for machine learning and data mining.

Zedlewski described Cloudera's acquisition of the one-year old Myrrix as an "acqui-hire," and said the company was "most interested in Sean's expertise and abilities."

Though some of Myrrix's IP will go over to Cloudera, Owen will likely work on developing tools to make it easier for other companies to build predictive analytics engines on top of Cloudera's set of Hadoop technologies and services.

"We're not going to be a BI company," Zedlewski said, before saying "predictive analytics is one of the most popular use cases that our customers have for our software, for our platform."

He insisted that Cloudera does not have ambitions to become an application creator, and will instead stick to its traditional business of developing, maintaining, and extending the Hadoop codebase. However, Zedlewski indicated that the company hopes to develop stronger links with partners to help companies standardize on its platform, then develop applications on top of that.

Owen gave some further color on the acquisition in a blog post, where he acknowledged the difficulty Hadoop users can encounter when dealing with the software.

"There is still so much to be done from these beginnings before learning on Hadoop is as accessible as it can be," he wrote. "After all, in the early days, Hadoop itself was a ball of source code that only adventurous specialists could effectively embrace. However, Cloudera has shown how to extend it, package it, support it and make it far more accessible to a much bigger audience. The same will happen for applications like Big Learning." ®

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