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Twitter buys artificial intelligence startup Whetlab

Through the acquisition of Whetlab, developed by researchers at Harvard, Toronto, and Sherbrooke universities, Twitter can step up its machine learning efforts.

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 -- which is a type of artificial intelligence in which algorithms are used to detect patterns and make predictions -- it is not exactly known how (or if all) the Whetlab team members will be incorporated into Twitter.

Each of these colored lines repreeents a hypothesis about what the "true" dashed line. It's part of how Whetlab helps organizations make a decision about what to do next. Whetlab

"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."

Whetlab's tech could be used to help Twitter figure out what users are posting and why, to target ads or to improve content recommendation, TechCrunch said. That could be key as Twitter has been working hard to convince investors and analysts about the future of its stock. Just last week, embattled Twitter CEO Dick Costolo announced he was stepping down. Co-founder Jack Dorsey is the interim CEO.

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.

This story was first posted as "Twitter tapping into machine learning with Whetlab buy," on ZDNet.