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February 8, 2016

Anaconda Platform Gets Boost From Intel

George Leopold

The latest version of the Anaconda open source analytics platform incorporates Intel Corp.’s math kernel library (MKL) to significantly boost performance. Version 2.5 extends Anaconda capabilities rolled out last fall.

Along with the Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) library, Continuum Analytics said the 2.5 version of its Python-based platform also is bundled with Microsoft R Open, a leading enterprise R language distribution. The latter is dubbed the “R-Essentials” package.

Anaconda is designed to ease installation and maintenance of open source Python environments.

Continuum Analytics, Austin, Texas, said Monday (Feb. 8) that support for both Intel MKL and Microsoft R Open, accelerates Anaconda 2.5 for math-intensive analytics by as much as seven times. The open platform is also touted as easily connected to the larger data science ecosystem that includes Python, the scientific package that runs with it, NumPy, and SciPy, the open source library of scientific tools.

The company claims more than 2.25 million Anaconda downloads annually. It started as an open source project that grew to more than 2 million users. Last fall, Continuum Anaytics rolled out “paid on premise” and cloud subscription versions of the open source Anaconda platform. The initial version offered MKL “optimizations,” GPU and multi-core functions, updates to open source packages, including Jupyter, pandas and scikit-learn as well as its R Essentials packages designed to leverage R on Python.

Continuum Analytics and Intel stressed that the addition of MKL to Anaconda would boost analytics performance while retaining Python’s ease of use. The Python programming language is designed to make it easier for developers to integrate analytics and other systems.

In November, Continuum Analytics announced that Anaconda would run on Advanced Micro Devices’ (NASDAQ: AMD) accelerated processing units. The combination targets advanced analytic workloads “where communication overhead has previously made GPU acceleration challenging,” the partners said.

Anaconda 2.5 is available now. The Anaconda R-Essentials package with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) R Open will be available on February 25.

Last week, Continuum Analytics announced that Matt Roberts was joining the company as vice president of product engineering overseeing the company’s software development operations. Roberts previously served as vice president of product development at SocialWare where he was was responsible for expanding its product development organization.

Investors General Catalyst and BuildGroup are backing Continuum Analytics.

Industry analytics note that Python is being widely deployed by developers to create statistical analytics workflows in areas like finance, oil and gas exploration as well as physics research. It also is seen as an emerging language for artificial intelligence engines. For example, a native integration for Python introduced in January by Pentaho Labs, the Hitachi Group unit, is intended to help organizations apply domain expertise as a way to improve predictive analytics and machine learning algorithms.

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