18 June, 2015

Twitter is diving deeper into machine learning with the acquisition of Whetlab.

The social network confirmed the news in a one sentence Tweet on Wednesday.
Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Whetlab was developed by researchers at Harvard, Toronto, and Sherbrooke universities looking for better solutions for making intelligent predictions.

Run by a five-person team, Whetlab focused on hyperparameter optimization, which the startup explained to mean offering better performance (i.e. suggestions and answers) than human experts could provide in less time and just a few lines of code.

However, beyond the umbrella term of machine learning, it is not exactly known how (or if all) the Whetlab team members will be incorporated into Twitter.

"Over the past year, we have created a technology to make machine learning better and faster for companies, automatically," the Whetlab team wrote on its website on Wednesday. "Twitter is the platform for open communication on the internet and we believe that Whetlab's technology can have a great impact by accelerating Twitter's internal machine learning efforts."
The public-facing Whetlab service will be shutting down on July 15. Existing users have up until that date to download data from previous experiments before it all disappears.

Furthermore, the startup has disabled new signups for its closed beta version -- even for applications already assigned a code.