Anyscale co-founders Robert Nishihara, Ion Stoica and Philipp Moritz

Grad students, Databricks founder tackle programming challenge

A new distributed-computing startup spun off of research at Berkeley's RISELab has stealth launched with $20.6 million in series A funding. Called Anyscale, it was co-founded by graduate students Robert Nishihara and Philipp Moritz, along with computer sciences professor Ion Stoica, who directs RISELab and also co-founded Databricks. While the team was working on an open source project called Ray, they had to keep building their own tools and infrastructure to run their algorithms, and it occurred to them that these would be useful to many others. "Building and programming distributed applications is incredibly hard," says Nishihara, Anyscale's CEO. "It requires a lot of expertise. This is a problem we ran into...We thought there had to be a better way." Professor Stoica says the goal is to make this as easy as programming your own laptop. "This is where Ray is coming in and why we built it and what we built it for -- to make it easy for developers to not only develop new applications but modify the existing application from one machine to thousands of machines."

Topics: Berkeley Engineering in the News, EECS, Computing, Research