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IBM Introduces Watsonx Code Assistant for Z

On August 22, IBM introduced watsonx Code Assistant for Z, the newest offering in its watsonx AI and data suite. Watsonx Code Assistant for Z is a generative AI solution designed to convert COBOL more quickly to Java for IBM Z to expedite mainframe modernization.

The product will be available in Q4 2023 and will be previewed during IBM’s TechXChange event in Las Vegas, which runs from September 11-13.

Streamlined COBOL Application Modernization

The Watsonx Code Assistant for Z model will run on a 20-billion parameter large language model (LLM), putting it on track to become one of the biggest generative AI models for code automation, according to IBM. The model will learn from 1.5 trillion tokens to eventually have knowledge of 115 coding languages.

COBOL is one of the most widely used programming languages for businesses around the world, and watsonx Code Assistant for Z is designed to make it easier for developers to transform it to more modern Java code. Its generative AI capabilities will give developers the opportunity to assess and test the code to make modernization more efficient while maintaining the security and dependability of IBM Z.

Watsonx Code Assistant for Z was created to help clients at each step of the mainframe modernization process. According to IBM, the product is slated to include Application Discovery and Delivery Intelligence (ADDI), an analysis and inventory tool. This tool assists with the modernization process by making each part easier, including translating COBOL code to Java code and using automation to help validate the outcomes.

Other benefits of the solution include:

  • Faster development, better productivity: The product will speed up code development, allowing developers to be more efficient with their time.
  • Easier maintenance: watsonx Code Assistant for Z’s customization capabilities make for code that is simpler to manage.
  • Addressing the skills gap: The solution expands access to a broader pool of IT skills and accelerates developer onboarding.
  • Streamlined management: Factors such as cost and risk of application modernization initiatives such as translation can all be administered in one place.

Enhanced IBM Z Applications

Watsonx Code Assistant for Z provides a solution for businesses looking to modernize their mainframes that don’t have the skills or resources to rebuild them from scratch.

“IBM is engineering watsonx Code Assistant for Z to take a targeted and optimized approach. It’s built to rapidly and accurately convert code optimized for IBM Z, accelerate time to market and broaden the skills pool,” said Dr. Kareem Yusuf, senior vice president of product management and growth for IBM Software. “This can help enhance applications and add new capabilities while preserving the performance, resiliency and security inherent in IBM Z.”

Read the full press release to learn more.