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Academic Initiative Helps Students Embrace IBM System z

7/1/2011 11:06:45 AM |

For IBM clients, ISVs and Business Partners with an interest in the future of the System z platform, the IBM Academic Initiative System z program offers a wealth of resources for connecting with students who are learning about enterprise computing in labs and classrooms around the world.

In 2003, the IBM Academic Initiative System z began with 23 schools enrolled in the program. Membership has since grown to more than 900 schools worldwide. Educators and students have embraced the System z platform as a key differentiator for students seeking employment in a challenging job market.

To help match mainframe employers with qualified candidates coming out of these schools, the IBM Academic Initiative System z recently sponsored the launch of the new System z Job Board at, which allows mainframe employers to post open job opportunities at no cost. Job seekers can set up job alerts and apply directly for these jobs. To date, more than 1,400 employers and job seekers have registered on the System z Job Board, which will continue to play an important role in connecting mainframe talent with opportunity.

University students around the world also show their enthusiasm for enterprise computing by competing in student mainframe contests, which have run in 19 countries since 2005, attracting more than 33,000 students. In the U.S. and Canada, the contest has grown from 750 participants in 2005 to 3,537 participants in 2010, with more than 1,000 high school students signing up in each of the last two years. At least five new countries will also host mainframe contests in 2011, marking another year of growth for a student outreach program that continues to sweep across the globe.

The IBM Destination z community has played an important role in fostering a vibrant academic ecosystem around the mainframe. Since 2008, Destination z has run its annual Enterprise Computing Scholarship to honor and encourage the most promising mainframe students at Destination z member schools, recognizing 19 students to date. The fourth running of the scholarship program will take place in the fall semester of 2011, with more information to be posted soon on the new If your company is interested is becoming a sponsor, please contact Marc Smith at Sponsors will have their logos prominently displayed in all media related to the scholarship. A special thanks to our 2010 sponsors: Innovation Data Processing, Mainframe Executive, Mainline Information Systems, Rocket Software, Velocity Software, Vicom Infinity, Matter of Fact Software, zJournal, and IBM.

As the mainframe continues to serve as the backbone for the modern data center, the IBM Academic Initiative System z will keep working with schools worldwide to enable educators to teach enterprise computing concepts, and help students graduate with the knowledge they need to succeed in today’s evolving IT environment. With no-cost access to mainframe hardware, software and courseware, and a network of industry experts available to assist, schools have a tremendous variety of mainframe resources at their disposal. And as the students at these schools become tomorrow’s enterprise computing professionals, they’ll become part of the mainframe community that is helping to build a smarter planet.

In addition to assisting educators and students, IBM has made many of its educational resources available at no charge to System z users to promote a healthy ecosystem of talent. If you have any questions about the IBM Academic Initiative System z program or resources to help your business with System z, please contact IBM at

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Is mainframe as affordable as a desktop that supports windows or unix operating system ? Can IBM make such desktops/laptops? IBM does have a mainframe environment available on desktops called - ZPDT, however, it is available only for ISV who are IBM PartnerWorld members. Specifically, zPDT is for IBM PartnerWorld members who are approved for the IBM System z Developer Discount Program and can receive System z Developer Discount offers (zDD).

The zPDT can enable a virtual System z architecture environment that allows mainframe operating systems, middleware, and software to run unaltered on Intel and Intel-compatible platforms -- such as Lenovo laptop or IBM System x server. No System z mainframe hardware server is needed.The zPDT is not for any other use outside of application development for and support of application development for System z ISVs. For example, the zPDT is not intended for academia-related education purposes, not for Systems Integrators for software asset maintenance, and not for use for commercial applications and workloads.

So there again, not sure how many mainfrmers actually know about ZPDT

Unless someone who has worked on a Mainframe server as a developer or DBA or system programmer or system administrator or an operator, shares or talks about Mainframe to school or a college student
8/30/2012 11:21:45 PM
Mike Todd
Dheep, the IBM Academic Initiative is working on an offering that would make zPDT available to schools at a deep discount, in addition to the no-cost remote access they already have to academic mainframe hub systems worldwide. Thank you for your interest and input!

Mike Todd
IBM Academic Initiative System z
9/5/2012 1:51:09 PM
Barry Schrager
I have been involved in MVS since before it was announced. In 1972, IBM flew me to Poughkeepsie to review their new MVS (it was internally called MVM in those days) Operating System and provide feedback. Also in 1972, I started the SHARE Security Project which formed the data security requirements for future IBM Operating Systems. When RACF did not meet those requirements when it was introduced in 1976 and I was told by the IBM Representative to the project that they could not be accomplished (Protection by Default and “algorithmic grouping of users and resources” – RACF Generic Profiles), I developed ACF2 to prove these were achievable. RACF (and Top Secret) now meet those requirements.

I was also employed by the University of Illinois for ten years, taught classes in Computer Science, and left my position as Assistant Director of the Computer Center to develop ACF2. At the University of Illinois I created the first TSO Job Submission and Retrieval product, the JES2/TSO Interface Package which was licensed by IBM internally for their datacenters and also used by General Electric as the backbone for their entry into the IBM Timesharing business. The leading product in this area these days is IBM’s SDSF.

So, I know both the mainframe industry and know the higher educational issues.

Our (the mainframe community) problem is not only getting new Computer Science students to understand mainframes, it is getting the business students to realize there is a mainframe which contributes greatly to our business society. These students are graduating and know only Windows and maybe UNIX, but their computer world revolves on servers with those two operating systems. Over the last few decades, they have gone on to get their MBAs and are now leading business and divisions of businesses and would not know a mainframe if they bumped into one (of course it has changed so much that many of us might not anymore). They are involved and often control where to put new applications and whether to migrate old ones to the “newer” platforms.

IBM has to reach out to a larger section of the student body besides the Computer Science community in order to help assure the mainframe’s future.
8/15/2011 3:57:29 PM
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