IBM is making a big play for big data, expanding on the $300 million bet it made last year on Apache Spark.
It’s meant to be a collaborative environment for application-building – particularly in R, the one-letter programming language for statistical computing.
Spark is an open source project and an alternative to MapReduce, the engine that powers Hadoop. (Spark can also run on Hadoop or on Apache Mesos, the open source container orchestration platform.)
Spark is relatively new, but it picked up momentum quickly last year, leading IBM to declare big plans for offering the analytics engine via IBM Cloud on an as-a-service basis.
Data scientists are the audience IBM hopes to entice with the Data Science Experience. This whole realm of big data and analytics has become a major thrust for Big Blue. The company acquired The Weather Channel’s data and analytics platforms last fall. And while it’s not part of today’s announcement, the Watson artificial intelligence platform, now being applied to big data, has become the face of the company (in TV commercials, anyway).