With IBM pouring millions of dollars into the emerging field of cognitive computing, Intel got in on the act Monday by announcing its acquisition of Saffron.

The startup company has developed a technology that “ingests data from disparate sources and automatically connects the dots to help businesses of all kinds improve decision-making,” Intel said in a blog post.

It sounds like data analytics, but Saffron claims its “natural intelligence platform” can uncover connections without needing to be programmed with models and rules. It says its technology “learns” incrementally based on patterns it finds in the data.

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