Altair’s RapidMiner Platform Gets a Performance Upgrade through Innovative Market Acquisition of Cambridge Semantics

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By James Iversen | 2Q 2024 | IN-7347

On April 18, Altair acquired Cambridge Semantics to integrate semantic networks and knowledge graphs into the RapidMiner platform. The combination of Cambridge Semantics technology with RapidMiner will allow for more comprehensive generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) responses, along with further data visualization techniques for manufacturers.

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Altair Acquires Cambridge Semantics, Bolstering RapidMiner Capabilities


Altair, provider of simulation and High-Power Computing (HPC) technologies completed its acquisition of data fabric provider Cambridge Semantics for an undisclosed amount on April 18. Altair will combine Cambridge Semantics’ data analytics expertise with RapidMiner, a suite of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered solutions that include AI Cloud, Hub, and Studio. Cambridge Semantics will enable RapidMiner to add semantic networks in the form of knowledge graphs for clear and concise data representation. Semantic networks are a critical method of data visualization that incorporates links and nodes to connect datapoints with rationale and relationships. The key strength of semantic knowledge graphs is to display linguistic information that is not easily digestible into usable datasets. Pairing this capability with generative AI through RapidMiner will allow Altair to extract insights from complex datasets with more precision and strengthen the reliability of written responses through accurate data relations.

Knowledge Graphs and Generative AI Go Hand in Hand


By merging RapidMiner with Cambridge Semantics' knowledge graph technology, manufacturers can create robust data analytics systems that use trusted generative AI responses. Generative AI struggles with connecting datasets when operating relationships are not clearly established. While connecting two ideas or thought streams is a core feature of Large Language Models (LLMs), the question of “is this answer correct?” will always be a concern. With the addition of knowledge graphs, generative AI can instantly understand the underlying link between datapoints and assess if this connection warrants further insight and analysis. The overall benefit of adding semantic knowledge graphs to the RapidMiner platform is to reduce black box answers stemming from misidentifying or misinterpreting how datasets can be consolidated and utilized in conjunction.

On the commercial side, Altair will gain access to Cambridge Semantics' existing clientele in notable areas such as government, defense, and life sciences, while Cambridge Semantics will leverage Altair's wider portfolio through the Altair Units model of payment, which allows companies to license software on demand. This wider market penetration will accelerate the adoption of knowledge graph technology in the data analytics market with competitors likely to follow suit with comparable solution offerings.

Altair's Inorganic Growth Strategy Is Paying Off


The acquisition of Cambridge Semantics in April should not come as a surprise, given that Altair routinely acquires new businesses as a growth strategy. A month before purchasing Cambridge Semantics, Altair acquired Research in Flight (Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software) and purchased OmniQuest (structural analysis software) 6 months ago. Altogether, Altair has made 30+ acquisitions since its founding and integrates purchased technology solutions into existing Altair offerings. Altair has used this strategy to bolster capabilities in its HyperWorks and HPCWorks platforms to great effect. It is clear that Altair has a determined go-to-market strategy for solutions and RapidMiner will be following the same trajectory. Although RapidMiner is still a relatively new addition to the Altair portfolio (acquired at the end of 2022), it is fair to say that more acquisitions that enable enhanced data contextualization and generative AI effectiveness will take place over the next few years. Altair already deploys generative AI in multiple services such as Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE), simulation, and design, so the addition to RapidMiner can be seen as a logical extension.

Altair continues to lead in innovation in the manufacturing data analytics space (see ABI Research’s Manufacturing Data Analytics competitive assessment), outperforming competition from Cognite, Crosser, and Sight Machine. In the manufacturing data analytics market, generative AI is not a stranger to the vendors offering Cognite AI, generative AI through Azure, and Factory Copilot, respectively. What is unique about Altair’s positioning is the speed at which the company responds to market changes through acquisitions. Currently, the prevailing deployment method of generative AI is through in-house developments or partnerships. Altair has found a middle ground that provides the customizability of in-house development with the assurance of partnership through acquisitions that more vendors should look to replicate.