IBM announced that the University of Texas has joined IBM's Academic Initiative to help better prepare students for the information technology (IT) and computer science jobs of tomorrow. IBM has chosen UT to participate in the program, which it is also making available to select schools around the country.
The announcement was made at the IBM Austin Center for Advanced Studies' Sixth Annual Conference where IBM supported researchers from more than 20 universities worldwide presented their innovative techniques and cutting-edge research results in the areas of hardware, software, systems technology and business management.
The university will collaborate with IBM on several levels, including skills- building, curriculum development, and academic research and recruitment. This initiative will expand upon ongoing partnerships that IBM has established with the University of Texas which already are achieving results in Austin. In fact, UT is among IBM's top schools for recruitment, a testament to the caliber of education students are receiving.
IBM also announced a new Shared University Research (SUR) grant awarded to UT to support a second phase of research on the UT Grid project which will secure two IBM employees to work full-time on Phase II of the project with UT.
Led by the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), the goal of the UT Grid project is to facilitate advanced research and new educational applications by developing and deploying software technologies to integrate the diverse computational, storage, visualization, data and instrument resources of The University of Texas. The project evaluates and uses existing distributed and Grid computing technologies and develops additional software to integrate these resources. A major thrust of the project is to integrate from “personal- scale to terascale” to provide software that links people's laptops and desktops directly into the campus Grid and facilitates easier usage of the distributed large-scale resources around the campus.
The second phase of the project will focus on expanding the Grid and extending the applications deployed on the Grid to new areas such as oil exploration using visualization of seismic data. This SUR grant is part of the latest series of Shared University Research (SUR) awards, bringing IBM's contributions to foster collaborative research to more than $75 million over the last three years.
“Our relationship with IBM is firing on all cylinders. Every year UT computer sciences faculty members receive IBM awards, which help them start innovative research programs in architecture, compilation, networking, AI, formal methods, and others”, said J. Moore, chairman of the computer sciences department at the University of Texas. “IBM has long been one of the most active recruiters of our graduates and we work closely with IBM on several major projects, including IBM's PERCS project and our own TRIPS project — a revolutionary new microprocessor architecture designed to help industry stay on Moore's curve.”
“The number of people training in computer sciences is dropping nationally even as the US Department of Commerce projects that science and engineering job growth will be largest in the IT sector,” continued Moore. “IBM's pro- active Academic Initiative is an excellent example of an industry-academic alliance to help solve a major problem for the State and Nation.”
The IBM Academic Initiative is an innovative program offering a wide range of technology education benefits to meet the goals of most colleges and universities. IBM will work with schools that support open standards and seek to use open source and IBM technologies for teaching purposes both directly and virtually via the Web.
As part of the Academic Initiative, IBM will work with select schools that support open standards to achieve three key objectives:
- Training an IT workforce to fill the new kinds of jobs that are emerging at IBM and across the industry.
- Providing the right skills to the next generation of IT workers to ensure they are qualified for the jobs of tomorrow.
- Ensuring that universities have the most current, relevant curricula that map to the kinds of jobs that are expected, so schools can be attractive for enrollment, funding and growth.
“We must help ensure that the students of today are prepared to be the technology leaders of tomorrow,” said Margaret Ashida, director of corporate ecruitment at IBM. “As new high-value, high-paying jobs continue to emerge, we are pleased to be working with UT in our mutual commitment to fill the skill pipeline. Through the IBM Academic Initiative, UT can infuse open technology throughout their IT curriculum and provide their students with the relevant skills, training and open standards knowledge so they can succeed.”
In an increasingly competitive global economy, the IT leaders of tomorrow will be pursuing innovations that will come from a fusion of several different disciplines. IBM, which champions open standards as the technology of choice for independent software vendors (ISVs), the leading influencers of today's marketplace, now seeks to advance open standards among the next generation of IT professionals. At the same time it is helping reverse a troubling trend, the lack of enough qualified science and technology students with skills to lead the future of the IT industry.