Cockroach Labs nabs $160M to grow distributed SQL database

Big money continues to flow into the data market in the early days of 2021, with distributed SQL database vendor Cockroach Labs raising a $160 million Series E on Jan. 12.

The Cockroach Labs funding follows other data management vendors that have raised new money in the early weeks of the new year, including Dremio, which raised $135 million, and Starburst, which raised $100 million.

CockroachDB is a distributed SQL database that is well-suited for cloud-native deployments.

Total funding to date for the New York City-based vendor now stands at $355 million, leaving the company with a market valuation of about $2 billion.

The Series E round was led by Altimeter Capital with participation from Greenoaks Capital, Lone Pine Capital, Benchmark, Bond, FirstMark Capital, GV, Index Ventures and Tiger Global Management. The new funding is the second major funding round for the vendor in less than a year and follows Cockroach Lab’s Series D round in May 2020 that brought in $86.6 million and was released alongside the Cockroach 20.1 update.

Cockroach in its own niche

In terms of how Cockroach fits into the database landscape, Gigaom senior analyst Andrew Brust said he sees the vendor as occupying

US Eyes Building Nuclear Power Plants for Moon and Mars

The U.S. wants to build nuclear power plants that will work on the moon and Mars, and on Friday put out a request for ideas from the private sector on how to do that.

The U.S. Department of Energy put out the formal request to build what it calls a fission surface power system that could allow humans to live for long periods in harsh space environments.

The Idaho National Laboratory, a nuclear research facility in eastern Idaho, the Energy Department and NASA will evaluate the ideas for developing the reactor.

The lab has been leading the way in the U.S. on advanced reactors, some of them micro reactors and others that can operate without water for cooling. Water-cooled nuclear reactors are the vast majority of reactors on Earth.

“Small nuclear reactors can provide the power capability necessary for space exploration missions of interest to the Federal government,” the Energy Department wrote in the notice published Friday.

The Energy Department, NASA and Battelle Energy Alliance, the U.S. contractor that manages the Idaho National Laboratory, plan to hold a government-industry webcast technical meeting in August concerning expectations for the program.

The plan has two phases. The first is developing a reactor

‘Bespoke’ analysis of DNA packaging sheds light on the intricacies of the fundamental process

Researchers from Skoltech and their colleagues have optimized data analysis for a common method of studying the 3D structure of DNA in single cells of a Drosophila fly. The new approach allows the scientists to peek with greater confidence into individual cells to study the unique ways DNA is packaged there and get closer to understanding this crucial process’s underlying mechanisms.

The paper was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Image credit: Pixabay (Free Pixabay license)

The reason a roughly two-meter-long strand of DNA fits into the tiny nucleus of a human cell is that chromatin, a complex of DNA and proteins, packages it into compact but very complex structures. To study the way DNA is packaged, researchers worldwide have developed so-called chromosome conformation capture (3C) techniques, the most efficient of which is called Hi-C. Hi-C essentially catalogs all interacting fragments of a DNA strand via high-throughput sequencing.

Therein lies the problem, however: to work, Hi-C needs tens of micrograms of DNA, which means millions of cells, each with its unique spatial organization of chromatin, have to be averaged to get a snapshot that will inevitably miss some peculiarities of DNA packaging in single cells. Much like the ‘average