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IBM Calls for Academic-Industry Partnership to Drive Innovation and Job Skills

IBM Academic Initiative to Help Schools Prepare Students with Open IT Skills for a More Competitive Workforce ``In Demand Skills for an On Demand World''

ARMONK, N.Y. - 20 Jul 2004: To better prepare college students for the jobs of tomorrow, IBM is leading a new initiative to collaborate with educators in teaching students the open standards skills necessary to compete and keep pace with changes in the unfolding information technology (IT) workplace.

The IBM Academic Initiative is an innovative program offering a wide range of technology education benefits from free to fee that can scale 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.

IBM helps institutions educate students and generate high-value job skills on open technologies such as Java, Linux and Eclipse, as well as training on IBM software and servers. This initiative seeks to help spread the adoption of open standards around the world. The Academic Initiative will include the spectrum of higher education institutions, from large research universities to community colleges and vocational schools. Upon graduation, students will understand the relevance and power of open standards and business on demand. They will possess the necessary skills for employment, such as mastery of J2EE and Linux, by IBM, its customers, and IBM Business Partners worldwide -- a multi-million-job employment ecosystem, and one of the industry's largest.

As part of the Academic Initiative, IBM will work with select schools that support open standards to achieve three key objectives:

The IBM Academic Initiative scales to meet the needs and goals of colleges and universities. For example, it includes the IBM Scholars Program (ibm.com/university) which provides access to software, hardware, training and course materials at no charge. More than 8,000 faculty members are already registered with the Scholars Portal.

Through the Scholars Portal, more than 40 IBM software technologies are already available at no charge for integration into college curricula to help teach students how to master the fastest growing open technologies. In addition, IBM will offer hardware products at special rates including the newest POWER5 servers, and blade servers featuring the latest Power Architecture. Access to larger POWER5 servers will be made available through IBM's remote access programs including the recently announced IBM Virtual Loaner Program within the IBM Virtual Innovation Center.

As one of the Academic Initiative's key benefits, IBM will assign a technical team to assess an institution's IT curricula and provide technical training and skills transfer for faculty and staff. There will be over 50 IBM-developed course materials on key software and hardware technologies, along with a wide array of information resources available via the Scholars Portal and developerWorks, including newsletters, community forums, education roadmaps, whitepapers and brochures, workshops and technical events. Schools piloting the IBM Academic Initiative include Northface University, Texas State University, Indiana State University, Kennesaw State University, University of Houston at Clear Lake, University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez, University of Texas at Austin, University of Wisconsin, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Huazhong University of Science & Technology University of Rostock, and Universidade Brasilia.

"Ensuring that the students of today are prepared to be the technology leaders of tomorrow is a priority," said Dr. Mayur Mehta, Chair of Computer Information Systems at Texas State University-San Marcos. "It is absolutely critical for university curricula in information technology to embrace open source technology if we want our graduates to be competitive in today's global IT environment. The IBM Academic Initiative enabled us to infuse open source technology throughout our IT curriculum and provide Texas State University students with the relevant skills, training and open standards knowledge so that they can succeed in the global marketplace."

Academic Initiative participants can also take advantage of IBM's Workforce Development Solutions and Advanced Career Education. These are highly collaborative relationships with fee-based offerings that leverage the full spectrum of IBM's capabilities including Thinkpads, software, assessment and training services, course materials, helpdesk support, project management and internships.

The case for the IBM Academic Initiative is compelling. Linux continues to be the fastest growing operating system, according to IDC, and some analysts project it will overtake Windows in new server shipments in the next few years. Meanwhile, 70 percent of enterprises surveyed by Gartner use Java technology, and Java developers are expected to quadruple from 700,000 in 2003 to 2.8 million by 2007. IBM's own research at 3,000 colleges and universities worldwide highlights a strong need for these open standards-based offerings. A recent survey of 450 global CEOs by IBM Business Consulting Services revealed that 75 percent of the CEOs surveyed cited education and the lack of qualified candidates as the issues that will have the greatest impact on their business over the next three years.

In an increasingly competitive global economy, the IT leaders of tomorrow will be pursuing innovations which will come from a fusion of several different disciplines -- advanced business integration and analytics; hardware, software and services integrated into an open computing environment; and increasingly important technologies such as wireless and nanotechnology. IBM's own $5 billion investment in R&D has led to innovations in on-demand business such as self-managing, "autonomic" computing systems that heal themselves, power-pooling computer "grids" capable of predicting weather changes, and industry-specific technologies that help physicians diagnose and treat cancer patients better and faster. Many of these advances included collaboration between IBM and academic and research institutions in the innovation process. Further, in 2003 alone, IBM earned 3,415 U.S. patents, breaking the record for patents in a single year, eclipsing the nearest company by more than 1,400 patents, and extending its 10-plus year leadership in patents.

"As businesses innovate with new technologies for competitive advantage, companies and universities need to make a greater commitment to fill the skill pipeline to feed these new disciplines," said Buell Duncan, general manager, IBM ISV & Developer Relations. "There will be increased demand for high-value, high-paying jobs which require a multi-disciplinary skillset of computer services and line-of-business insight. Our goal is to help schools teach millions of students in-demand skills for an on demand world."

Just as IBM champions open standards as the technology of choice for independent software vendors (ISVs), the leading influencers of today's marketplace, IBM now seeks to advance open standards among the next generation of IT professionals while helping reverse a troubling trend: the lack of enough qualified science and technology students with skills to lead the future of the IT industry.

Northface University
In addition, IBM is announcing a partnership with Northface University to establish a new educational institution designed to produce a more proficient and experienced IT professional. A highly specialized example of the IBM Academic Initiative, IBM is working with Northface to equip the entire school with leading edge technology and providing top executives for curriculum development and teaching positions. IBM Fellow Grady Booch serves on the university's advisory board, IBM Distinguished Engineer Sridhar Iyengar assists with curriculum development and additional notable IBM technical staff will be on loan for instructor positions.

According to many IT professionals, traditional software education is not adequately preparing students for the jobs in the industry. The founders of Northface University are addressing the industry-wide shortage of skilled graduates through partnerships with IBM and other technology providers, mentoring by some of the industry's most acclaimed faculty members, and hands-on experiential learning in a state-of-the-art University setting.

For more information on the IBM Academic Initiative, visit ibm.com/university.

IBM also supports the development of open standards skills and curriculum in high schools and other university-based programs. High school students training for the International Olympiad in Informatics to be held in Athens, Greece in September, played CodeRuler, a Java (TM) -based real-time programming game based on the Eclipse platform. IBM provided the USA Computing Olympiad (USACO) with CodeRuler, which was developed for use at the 2004 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) held in Prague. IBM sponsors ACM's ICPC, which challenges teams of college students to solve programming problems using Linux workstations with access to Eclipse. IBM also recently announced the winners of the first International Challenge for Eclipse (ICE), as well as the recipients of Eclipse Innovation Grants (EIG) which totaled nearly $3 million in awards to 75 university faculty members worldwide.

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Contact(s) information

Michael Azzi
IBM Media Relations
(914) 766-1096
azzi@us.ibm.com

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