IBM Aims to Give New Generation of Programmers a Career Edge

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IBM Aims to Give New Generation of Programmers a Career Edge

by Darryl K. Taft

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IBM's 10th Anniversary Awards Event

The 10th anniversary awards event was held in New York March 24. IBM is playing a role by establishing relationships with schools to teach the skills companies need, and locating talent in student and professional communities. This year's Master the Mainframe—part of IBM's Academic Initiative—drew 8,100 students from all over the globe for a hands-on, no-experience-necessary contest. Students can log on remotely to participate in three parts: part 1 takes 1 to 2 hours to complete; part 2 requires 10 to 20 hours to complete; part 3 requires weeks to months to complete.

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Solving Real-World Business Problems

As students complete the three parts of the Master the Mainframe contest, judges evaluate their results and reward those who move on to the next step. Each phase becomes more difficult, beginning with basic mainframe navigation to finishing a project that tackles a real-world business scenario. In the final challenge in this year's contest, students were asked to analyze a set of credit card data for a store. Kevin Matesi, the 2014 U.S. and Canada first-place finisher, built in a fraud-detection feature to flag fake credit card numbers.

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Mobile Economy

Ross Mauri, general manager, IBM z Systems, discussed the mobile economy. Mobile is changing everything, from the way we interact and conduct transactions. Over the past decade, there has been a 37x increase in mobile transactions per day per user. Programming and application development skills are becoming increasingly important with the explosive growth in mobile transactions that create even greater demands on company IT systems to quickly and reliably interact with consumers.

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z13 Mainframe

The z13 mainframe is built to support 2.5 billion transactions per day. Launched in January, the 13th generation of the IBM mainframe was built to support a data-heavy economy in which billions of transactions that consumers rely on take place every day. The z13 is the first system to double the speed of real-time encryption technologies to help protect the transaction data and accelerate response times. Each of the 10 largest insurers, 23 of the largest 25 airlines, 92 of the top 100 worldwide banks and six of the 10 top global retailers rely on the z13 for transactions.

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Meet the Master the Mainframe Winners

The winners are as follows: first place: Kevin Matesi, Northern Illinois University; second place: Joseph Bloom, Deerfield (Illinois) High School; third place: Jeremy Krach, University of Maryland; fourth place: Hongzhe (Henry) Liu, Algonquin (Massachusetts) Regional High School; fifth place: Steven Hoover, Syracuse University. Steven is a graduate student studying information management at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies. He recently accepted a job with Wells Fargo working with the mainframe.

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In the Winner's Circle

The winners received a new tablet computer and an expenses-paid trip to New York for the March 24 awards ceremony and tour of IBM labs in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Ross Mauri, general manager, IBM z Systems, and Maria Boonie, vice president, IBM z Systems Operating Systems & Firmware Development, spoke at the awards ceremony.

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OpenPower Group Puts Initial Hardware Products on Display

SAN JOSE, Calif.—OpenPower Foundation officials used the group's first conference to show off more than a dozen new pieces of hardware from its members, to talk about how the consortium operates and try to recruit new members, and to position itself as an alternative to Intel in the data center. OpenPower was launched in December 2013 as a way of leveraging IBM's Power architecture to build products that address demands from hyperscale and Web-scale organizations for greater performance and efficiency. IBM has opened the Power architecture to allow the more than 110 OpenPower members to build products atop the platform. At the OpenPower Summit here—run in conjunction with the GPU Technology Conference 2015—foundation officials stressed that the open development business model enables faster innovation than Intel's way of doing the design, development and manufacturing work itself. "Without...
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