Twitter snaps up deep learning firm Madbits

The microblogging platform has acquired Madbits, a startup focused on computer vision and dynamic search technology.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer
cred zdnet
Credit: ZDNet

Twitter has acquired deep learning and dynamic computing startup Madbits.

Announced on 28 July, the deep learning computer startup's co-founders Clement Farabet and Louis-Alexandre Etezad-Heydari -- former students of Facebook AI Lab director Yann LeCun --  revealed that Twitter had acquired the firm for an undisclosed amount, as first reported by Gigaom.

Madbits said:

"Today, after a tremendous year of development and iterations, we are excited to announce that we are joining Twitter.

Over this past year, we’ve built visual intelligence technology that automatically understands, organizes and extracts relevant information from raw media. Understanding the content of an image, whether or not there are tags associated with that image, is a complex challenge. We developed our technology based on deep learning, an approach to statistical machine learning that involves stacking simple projections to form powerful hierarchical models of a signal.

We prototyped and tested about ten different applications, and as we’ve prepared to launch publicly, we’ve decided to bring the technology to Twitter, a company that shares our ambitions and vision and will help us scale this technology.

We are excited to join the folks at Twitter to merge our efforts and see this technology grow to its full potential."

On the startup's LinkedIn profile, the New York-based firm describes itself as a tech startup which focuses on "building new user experiences in the media space," and in particular, surrounding photos and videos. Madbits also states that the team is "primarily interested in the task of image search, and the creation of intelligent, dynamic image sets, to automatically organize large databases of images."

It is unsurprising that Twitter would wish to snap up a company that develops specialist image search and catalogue technology, as the company may be able to better monetize the rapid influx of images uploaded every day to the platform -- especially as Twitter's latest revenue report leaves much to be desired.

On Tuesday, Twitter reported poor second quarter earnings. The microblogging platform delivered a net loss of $145 million, or 24 cents per share, while Wall Street analysts expected a loss of a penny per share on revenue of $283.07 million.

Google, Yahoo and Dropbox have also made recent acquisitions in these fields. In January, Google acquired UK artificial intelligence firm DeepMind, which specializes in algorithms and machine-based learning protocols for e-commerce software, simulations and games, for $400 million.

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