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Predictive analytics startup Predixion hopes to alleviate the data scientist shortage — and boost its sales.

Predixion Software, a Southern California-based provider of predictive analytics tools, has officially launched a program to provide its software free of charge to universities around the world.

In a phone interview with InformationWeek, Predixion Software CEO Simon Arkell said the program has two main goals: To give students hands-on experience in using predictive analytics to develop data models, and to seed businesses with workers who are trained on — or at least familiar with — Predixion’s software.

The software “is cloud-based, so it’s readily accessible by anyone who has Excel and an Internet connection,” said Arkell. “We’re already being used by a number of universities, [where] students learn data mining and predictive analytics without having to be pure data scientists.”

A small number of US schools, including the University of Washington, University of Western Michigan, St. Joseph University, and the University of Maryland University College, are already using the company’s predictive analytics software, the company said.

Predixion offers a limited, free version of its software to the general public, but its education edition goes a step further by providing all the training materials, labs, and other courseware that Predixion supplies to its paying clients.

The company’s education program follows an established trend among big-data vendors intent on developing the next generation of data scientists and expanding their market presence.

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