IBM takes Jazz development tools to school

Awards grants to three schools for projects using new collaboration technology

IBM's Rational software unit announced that it has awarded grants to three North American universities for projects that use its open-source Jazz collaboration technology to help developers work together more effectively.

Rational has described Jazz as a follow-on to the popular Eclipse open-source project that it launched in 2001 and later turned over to the independent Eclipse Foundation.

But while Eclipse focuses on boosting the productivity of individual developers, Jazz aims to support all cycles of the development process and to improve collaboration among development teams, IBM said.

"The goal here is to expand the community because these are community-based projects, [and] they are meant to be developed in the open," said Scott Hebner, Rational's vice president of marketing and strategy. "Academia is often a very strong driver of innovation, creativity and contributions to these types of projects. Our hope is to expand the community to include some of the best minds in academia."

Hebner said Rational expects the future of Jazz to mirror the evolution of Eclipse. For example, IBM will first provide the technology to academic institutions and other test sites in the coming months before releasing commercial versions of Jazz next year.

The Jazz Faculty Grants were awarded to the University of California, Irvine, the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria in British Columbia. The amount of each grant was not disclosed.

The University of California, Irvine, will use the funds for a project that explores the use of multimonitor environments to improve project awareness and development practices, IBM said. Researchers will use Jazz technology to explore how new software development tools should be designed to take advantage of the emerging trend of providing multiple monitors to developers.

The other two universities are using Jazz to research how software development teams interact and communicate. For example, the University of British Columbia has developed an extension to the Jazz platform that recommends who on a team should be working on a current problem based on how files have been changed in the past and who worked on those changes, IBM said.

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