March 16, 2006 17:39 ET

700 Students Race to "Master the Mainframe" in IBM Contest

From UCLA to U. of British Columbia, Students From 85 Colleges Logged Into the Mainframe to Win Prizes, Develop Technical Skills and Share Poetic Musings About Enterprise Computing

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 16, 2006 -- IBM today announced the winners of its student mainframe programming contest, in which more than 700 students from 85 colleges raced to complete a series of technical challenges that sparked interest in large-systems computing.

More than quadrupling the organizers' expectations, 700 students across the U.S. and Canada raced to complete to capture the crown of "Mastering the Mainframe." The five winners of the technical contest visited Poughkeepsie this week, received awards and met with IBM executives and clients.

"This contest demonstrated that when given the tools and access, young programmers today hold great enthusiasm to learn about large-scale computing," said Mike Bliss, director, IBM System z technical marketing and strategy. "This explosion of open standards on the mainframe combined with the mainframe's highly sophisticated virtualization and security features has made mainframe programming a versatile and highly rewarding skill for IT students."

Sponsored by IBM's Academic Initiative program for System, the contest's three progressively challenging parts helped the students get acquainted with the mainframe interface and basic user commands, develop more indepth commands, and then tackle real-world issues such as integrating databases and transactional processing. The winners are: Alan Antonuk of Michigan State University; Kyle Horton of ITT Technical Institute; Jason Arnold of Northern Illinois University; Anna Kuriger of St. Ambrose University; and Christopher Moore of SUNY Binghamton.

Along the way, students were encouraged to share their observations on mainframe programming in a haiku poem, such as these:

Less a lumbering
Dinosaur as is believed
Big iron is speed
         -- Brian Capps of Portland Community College

Life on a mainframe
Is the life I want for me
Share my C.P.U.
         -- Jeffrey Painter, N.C. State

I never knew that
Mainframes were so widely used
Throughout the whole world!
         -- Miles Myke, N.C. State

The wind blows softly
Through the leaves of autumn. wait,
That's just the mainframe
         --Van Landrum, U. of South Alabama

Nothing can compare
This mainframe beats all others
Flat into the ground
         --Joshua Roys, Michigan State U.
Through the IBM Academic Initiative program, more than 200 computer science programs around the world are training thousands of students on marketable mainframe skills. The IBM Academic Initiative program provides students and professors with hands-on access to a mainframe, curriculum, industry experts, and training for students and faculty. IBM and computer user group SHARE teamed up in 2005 to provide further support for students and young professionals interested in mainframe computing by creating a community called zNextGen. For more information, please visit:

For the details on the contest, please visit:

The mainframe contest is expected to be taken to a worldwide level later this year.

About IBM

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