(Bloomberg News) -- International Business Machines Corp. will invest “hundreds of millions a year” into a free data analytics technology, according to Beth Smith, general manager of the company’s analytics division.

The move, announced by the company Monday, follows the hiring of about 20 people for a new technology center in San Francisco to improve and extend a University of California at Berkeley-developed free software project named Spark, which lets people analyze large amounts of data more rapidly than with other technologies such as Hadoop. Bloomberg reported the creation of the technology center last week.

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