IBM Partners with UCLA, NC State on Web Development

Designed to promote expertise in Web 2.0 application development among the next generation of IT professionals

In an effort to promote expertise in Web 2.0 application development among the next generation of IT professionals, IBM has teamed up with two universities -- University of California, Los Angeles and North Carolina State University -- to provide support for academic programs teaching programming using open technologies like Groovy and Java in conjunction with Eclipse and Ruby on Rails. IBM also said it will be providing its previously announced Lotus Mashups software free to the academic community later this year (see separate story).

At North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC), IBM's Project Zero is being used to teach business application development. Project Zero is an incubator project at IBM that focuses on Agile processes in Web 2.0 application development using SOA principles. Project Zero offers a development environment that includes a scripting runtime and APIs focused on producing "Representational State Transfer (REST)-style services, integration mashups, and rich Web interfaces," according to IBM.

NC State graduate students will work in the development environment this spring as a part of a computer science class in which they'll use Groovy and Java to develop a business application, a "time-slot signup system." IBM said the students will be among the first developers to get their hands on Project Zero.

UCLA's "Choose Your Own Adventure"

Meanwhile, over at UCLA, IBM has helped to launch a new project for the university's CS130 computer science course. Dubbed "Choose your own (technology) adventure," the project allows students to propose their own applications to develop and essentially shape their own coursework.

"'Choose your own (technology) adventure' is giving UCLA students a truly unique opportunity to learn software engineering skills from the best and brightest at IBM such as working in a team environment while learning collaboration, networking, rapid decision making," said Paul Eggert, the professor at UCLA who teaches the CS130 class. "Throughout the project, they are researching and evaluating technologies and connecting with open source developers and industry experts. This method is helping us attract more students to learning about these key technology areas by making things like Java and Eclipse extremely relevant to their areas of interest."

The program is now in its fourth quarter at UCLA. It has involved 50 students so far and 27 IBM mentors, who have provided collaborative support for Ruby on Rails and Eclipse projects.

Academic Initiative To Expand

The UCLA and NC State partnerships are part of IBM's Academic Initiative, which provides access to software, courseware and curricula, support, and discounts on hardware for colleges and universities.

"By collaborating with universities on new methodologies, the resources available through its Academic Initiative, IBM is poised to help faculty and students get an edge on the needs of the marketplace," said Jim Corgel, general manager of IBM's ISV & Developer Relations group, in a statement released today. "The efforts now taking place at UCLA and NC State are just part of how IBM is helping universities adapt to the quickly changing world of technology. We accomplish this by exposing students to tomorrow's technologies today and sharing best practices from IBM's global development teams."

IBM said it plans to expand its Academic Initiative this year, aiming for "double-digit growth" in the number of students reached over the previous year. The company said it will also increase the number of events it hosts for universities and businesses focused on open standards and middleware supporting IBM's System z and other large systems.

--David Nagel