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IBM Launches 'Big Data' Bootcamps in Universities

Now that Watson has had its latest resurgence of fame and appeared as a top trending topic on both Google and Twitter, IBM is about to show college students how to use the underlying technologies of the supercomputer. In a push called "Big Data," the company will promote bootcamps on information management of massive amounts of data through university locations, IBM innovation centers, and online.

The camps, which are free, will last from three to five days and take place in classroom settings. Besides students, the company has invited IT professionals to participate. At the end of sessions, participants will have the chance to take free technical mastery tests and IBM certification exams.

Bootcamp sessions will cover discrete areas, including the use of IBM data management software such as DB2, pureXML, Informix, InfoSphere Optim and Guardium, and open source applications Hadoop and Eclipse. Students will receive lessons in management and analysis skills for big data environments, including data federation, integration, and warehousing techniques, as well as data management planning, and data governance, quality and security strategies.

The new initiative follows on IBM's Watson Jeopardy! victory, where the computer showed how artificial intelligence can work in the real world (at least in the real world of a game show). The system consists of 90 clustered IBM Power 750 Express servers, a potent build-up of hardware that can pick through 500 gigabytes of information a second.

But IBM said that as more organizations move to similar systems to handle their big data challenges, a skills gap is surfacing.

"Companies are amassing up to petabytes of information during peak hours of operations, and they see an opportunity to use this data to gain new insights into their customers and get ahead of the competition," said Arvind Krishna, general manager of IBM Information Management. "Uncovering insights hidden among data in existing IT systems, and outside of the firewall in social networks, on clouds, and from mobile devices, requires today's IT professionals to possess new skills."

Mahatma Gandhi Mission's College of Engineering & Technology in India recently launched campus workshops on DB2 for its engineering students and faculty. Currently, more than 600 students and faculty members are certified and trained on IBM technologies.

"IBM is bringing real world industry experience to students to keep them in touch with emerging technologies and IT trends such as big data," said Professor Nareshkumar Harale, head of Computer Engineering. "When universities and businesses collaborate, they build the next generation of skilled information technology leaders to create new opportunities, fuel economic growth and solve challenges that can improve the way we live."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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