Major Machine Learning Investment in Kx Technology

19 September 2017

FD (AIM:FDP.L, ESM:FDP.I) announces a range of initiatives to put machine learning (ML) capabilities at the heart of future development for the Group’s Kx technology, in direct response to increasing interest from current and potential customers. The measures announced today will accelerate delivery of pipeline opportunities in software and consulting and provide access to an increased pool of ML specialists to help increase traction in this rapidly growing area.

Machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence (AI) that allows computer systems to use algorithms to adapt to enable better outcomes, based on data rather than explicit programming. Kx technology, incorporating the market-leading in memory time series database kdb+, is able to rapidly process vast quantities of data using less computing resource than competing technologies and is therefore ideally placed to enable adoption of ML across multiple industries and use cases. IDC estimates that the market for ML-related technology will increase from $12.5 billion in 2017 to more than $46 billion in 2020.

The Group has already received considerable interest from existing and potential customers in areas such as Capital Markets, IIOT, Retail and Digital Marketing with a view to harnessing the power of Kx for ML purposes.  The Group is in the process of recruiting a team of ML experts with extensive commercial experience of implementing AI solutions in finance and other industries and who have worked with teams including Deepmind.

These ML experts will be supplemented by additional Kx senior technical resources to exploit this exciting commercial opportunity. It is expected that, as part of the development effort, interfaces will be created to enable Kx to accelerate processing and deliver real-time capabilities to ML applications developed using other technologies. The initiative will be led by Mark Sykes, a member of the Group’s executive committee.

To meet the expected demand for ML and AI consultancy the Group has signed an agreement with Brainpool, a specialist consultancy with 130 ML engineers working across commercial and academic institutions. These specialists have domain expertise in a variety of industries. Brainpool’s consultants will receive training in the core Kx technology and will be able to work as part of Kx project teams assembled to deliver the benefits of ML to the Group’s customers.

Peter Bebbington, Chief Technical Officer of Brainpool, commented: “Machine learning is a key part of the drive to introduce artificial intelligence into enterprises to deliver automation, maximise efficiencies and generate value. Our agreement with FD will support the proliferation of Kx, an important enabling technology, to enable this transformation.”

Brian Conlon, Chief Executive Officer of Kx, commented: “The interest from current and potential customers in using Kx for machine learning reinforces our belief that our technology has a major enabling role to play in supporting the development of ML and AI technology. The measures we have announced today will allow Kx to power real-time, mission critical ML applications and support our drive to position Kx across multiple industries.”


For further information please contact:

First Derivatives plc

Brian Conlon, Chief Executive Officer
Graham Ferguson, Chief Financial Officer
Ian Mitchell, Head of Investor Relations

+44(0)28 3025 2242

Investec Bank plc (Nominated Adviser and Broker)

Carlton Nelson
Sebastian Lawrence

+44 (0)20 7597 4000
Goodbody (ESM Adviser and Broker)

Linda Hickey
Finbarr Griffin

+353 1 667 0420
FTI Consulting

Matt Dixon
Dwight Burden
Darius Alexander
Niamh Fogarty

+44 (0)20 3727 1000

About Kx

Kx is a division of FD, a global technology provider with 20 years of experience working with some of the world’s largest finance, technology, retail, pharma, manufacturing and energy institutions. Kx technology, incorporating the kdb+ time-series database, is a leader in high-performance, in-memory computing, streaming analytics and operational intelligence. Kx delivers the best possible performance and flexibility for high-volume, data-intensive analytics and applications across multiple industries. The Group operates from 14 offices across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific, including its headquarters in Newry, and employs more than 1,800 people worldwide.