, a company promising to let application developers more easily build so-called “distributed” applications that are behind most AI and machine learning efforts, has raised $20.6 million from investors in a first round of funding.

The company has some credibility off the bat because it’s cofounded by Ion Stoica, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley who played a significant role in building out some successful big data frameworks and tools, including Apache Spark and Databricks.

The new company is based on an — also developed in a lab that Stoica co-directs — that focuses on allowing software developers to more easily write compute-intensive applications by simplifying the hardware decisions made underneath.

Ray’s emergence is significant because it aims to solve

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