Students battle for biz tech supremacy at IBM expo

15 Sep 2009

Four Irish third-level student interns will represent Ireland at the IBM Extreme Blue 2009 European Expo in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, tomorrow, where they will battle other students from the UK, France, Germany and The Netherlands.

Over the past 12 weeks, the students, who were selected from colleges around Ireland, have been operating as a biztech project team and taken on IBM’s innovation challenge to “start something big”.

This year’s Irish challenge centred on IBM’s Lotus Connections software, which helps build collaborative and smarter business environments. Lotus Connections is researched and developed at IBM’s Software Lab in Mulhuddart, Co Dublin.

Previous Extreme Blue projects from Ireland include: medical patient monitoring, a communications system for our aging population, and international standards to support access for visually-impaired users in virtual worlds.

Irish interns have also received international patents awards for their innovations in technology and business.

According to Bill Kearney, Dublin software lab director, Extreme Blue offers very real opportunities to solve challenging business issues.

“The Extreme Blue program has the ability to establish future business and technical leaders,” Kearney explained.

“We at IBM believe that our growth is crucial through these innovative projects being showcased at Extreme Blue.”

He said the combination of business and technology creates a team dynamic that fosters collaboration and helps the interns create both a business case and a technical solution that will succeed in the marketplace.

Since 2002, the Irish participants together with their counterparts worldwide have submitted more than 360 patent disclosures and have made more than 60 open source contributions to the open source community; helped create solutions for key clients and bring-to-market the next generation of IBM products.

Unlike other intern programmes that may relegate students to work on outdated technology, the Extreme Blue teams work on leading technology, such as Linux, Web 2.0, Web services and Virtualisation that helps grow their skills and evolve them into more attractive candidates in the technology field.

By John Kennedy

Photo: IBM student interns Aidan Duggan, Philip Cass, Cian Clarke and John Reddin are representing Ireland at the IBM Extreme Blue 2009 European Expo in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years