Cloud Computing

IBM Pursuing Academic and Training Traction for Bluemix Cloud Platform

IBM is promoting its Bluemix cloud platform in multiple ways among academics and trainers. That includes development of cloud curricula, skills training for women returning to work and summer camps for high school girls.

Bluemix, officially launched in June, is an implementation of open cloud architecture based on Cloud Foundry, an open source platform as a service (PaaS). Bluemix provides the frameworks and services to allow developers to create, deploy and manage cloud applications and monitor application resource usage without having to install software or deal with virtual machine images or hardware. The developer provisions an instance of the application with whatever services are needed to support it. A Bluemix dashboard lets the developer manage organizations, spaces and user access. Bluemix services include some delivered via Cloud Foundry and others delivered from IBM and other third-party vendors. The PaaS supports multiple programming languages, including Java, PHP, Python and Ruby on Rails.

IBM's Academic Initiative for Cloud gives schools access to Bluemix to enable faculty and students to build applications in their courses for no charge, thereby gaining hands-on familiarity with cloud services. The company said 200 universities worldwide would be adopting Bluemix through the academic program starting this fall. Those include Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern and the University of Southern California, among others.

The company anticipates 250 different courses in computer science, IT, analytics and data science using educational materials, technologies and methodologies from IBM with a focus on using Bluemix.

Instructors will receive a year of access to the Bluemix trial for themselves; their students will receive access for up to six months. Both types of accounts will be renewable and require no credit card.

"Leaders in business and higher education must come together to foster a new generation of digital-savvy talent," said Kevin Werbach, a professor and expert on gamification at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. "It's great that IBM is so committed to connecting with top universities like ours, and to giving students and faculty exposure to the latest cloud technologies and business concepts. This experience will help prepare our students as they enter the marketplace."

The company has also opened up a student developer community where participants can access Bluemix resources and join a forum to showcase their work.

Bluemix is also being used in a New York City program to train female high school students this summer. Girls Who Code has brought together a cohort for seven weeks of immersion into computer science. Next year, the company anticipates expanding its support of the program to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Austin.

IBM also announced collaboration with GSVlabs, a combination coworking space, startup incubator, and training organization based in Silicon Valley. IBM will host instruction sessions focused on the use of cloud developing using Bluemix in ReBoot Accelerator for Women, a program for women who are returning to work after multi-year absences. The company will also provide mentoring and job placement help, with the hope of drawing more women back to the workplace, including at IBM.

"Putting Bluemix in the hands of today's and tomorrow's innovators creates the opportunity to foster a new generation of talent in cloud application development," said IBM General Manager Sandy Carter. "Our commitment to provide deep cloud expertise to programs aimed at future cloud developers from academics to professionals is necessary to sustain the growth our industry forecasts."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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