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April 19, 2024

Altair Bolsters Analytics Offering with Cambridge Semantics Buy

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Altair Engineering will soon fortify its end-to-end data science offering with the acquisition of Cambridge Semantics and its semantic graph database. Terms of the deal, which was announced yesterday, were not disclosed.

Cambridge Semantics was founded in 2007 by a group of researchers from IBM’s Advanced Technology Internet Group with the goal of using emerging semantic Web technologies to make data more searchable and easier to query.

From its headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts, the company developed a graph database dubbed Anzo that was based on emerging Resource Description Framework (RDF) technology, which uses semantic triples to link similar objects.

Over the years, the Anzo graph database was adopted by a number of organizations across financial services, government, healthcare, life sciences, and manufacturing, including Merck, Lilly, Novartis, Credit Suite, Bosch, and the FDA, according to its website. In 2016, the company acquired SPARQL City, which developed an in-memory graph query engine.

Joining Altair Engineering was a “natural transition” for Cambridge Semantics, as it will help to accelerate the pace of adoption of its technology, said Charles Pieper, Cambridge Semantics’ chairman and CEO.

“Bringing Cambridge Semantics to Altair’s broad customer base through the Altair Units business model–and integrating it into Altair RapidMiner–is an exciting prospect for us and for our customers,” Pieper said in a press release.

Altair intends to merge Anzo with RapidMiner, its end-to-end data science offering. In addition to the capability to develop machine learning pipelines, RapidMiner also offered data prep, ETL, MLOps, workload management, and orchestration tools. Anzo will bolster RapidMiner by bringing it new knowledge graph, data governance, data virtualization, and data discovery capabilities.

James Scapa, the founder and CEO of Altair, said knowledge graphs such as Anzo are key pieces of data fabrics, as “they put the right data in the right hands at the right time.

“We believe Cambridge Semantics brings the fastest and most scalable knowledge graphs to organizations who have significant data volumes and deep questions,” Scapa said in the press release. “Additionally, knowledge graphs are critical for successful generative AI applications as they provide the business context necessary to ground generative AI models, eliminate hallucinations, and dramatically improve response quality.”

Altair started out in the mid-1980s as with the creation of HyperWorks, a CAE tools that was widely adopted by the auto industry and other manufacturers. The Troy, Michigan-based company expanded its product set by acquiring other HPC modeling and simulation tools, which today are sold through its HPCWorks unit.

Following an IPO on the Nasdaq in 2017 using the ticker symbol ALTR (not to be confused with the data access and data governance firm ALTR) Altair moved strongly into the big data and analytics space. It acquired a number of companies, including Monarch and its Datawatch product, for $176 million. In 2021, it acquired World Programming, a UK company that developed a compiler and runtime for SAS code. After resolving a lawsuit, Altair began selling the WPS product in 2022.

In September 2022, Altair acquired RapidMiner, the German developer of the open source, Java-based suite of data science and analytics tools that was adopted by more than 1 million data scientists and developers. Altair has since adopted the RapidMiner name to refer to its full suite of 11 big data, analytics, and AI tools.

With the acquisition of Cambridge Semantics, make that 12.

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