alphaWorks to Provide Window on IBM Research Labs
- By John K. Waters
IBM launched its alphaWorks Web site in 1996 as an emerging technology showcase
for developers. A component of IBM’s developerWorks, alphaWorks is where
IBM publishes early implementations of technologies and research prototypes, primarily
for early adopters.
Now IBM plans to use the site to provide developers with a window on cutting-edge
research in its Research Labs.
"We took a look at what we were publishing on the alphaWorks site, and
we realized that we weren't doing justice to what is happening in the Labs,"
explains Marc Goubert, manager of IBM’s alphaWorks group. "This is
about getting back to the roots of emerging technology, as opposed to providing
preview samples of product functionality."
IBM is providing new online resources around what the company calls "research
topics." These resources include technology downloads, demonstrations,
articles and researcher profiles to inform developers and academia.
The first two research topics on the site are visualization—using visual
systems in development to help application users better perceive and process
information—and semantics—using knowledge and reasoning to make
software more intelligent, adaptive and efficient. New research topics will
be launched throughout the year to help build awareness and understanding around
software development trends, Goubert says.
Goubert and his alphaWorks team have put some actual shoe-leather into this
project, visiting IBM’s Research Labs. “From that work we’ve
found that there are great concepts just budding that we should be able to describe
to our early-adopter audience,” Goubert says.
IBM originally planned to publish a new topic every six months, but after Goubert
visited two of the company’s labs (New York and California), the company
accelerated that schedule to one every three months.
“This finally gives us the opportunity to show more of what we’re
glad to talk about,” Goubert says, “all this innovation happening
in IBM research labs. It’ll give developers a better chance to learn about
concept areas that are going to affect them in the future. And it’ll give
them an opportunity to begin evaluating tools that will become more important
to their development practice.”
IBM has also launched new resources on its developerWorks site. These include
new customizable RSS feeds that allow developers to customize and tailor the
way they receive resources and skills-building information, and new collaboration
tools that allow developers to share knowledge with other developers.
For more information, go to: www.ibm.com/alphaworks
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached