IBM backs developer bot battle

Big Blue is set on establishing a community of developers, and it is backing a Java coding competition as part of the process

More than 120,000 developers have already signed up for a Java coding competition which will see the finalist's virtual robots battle it out in August.

Based on the Robocode programming game, the competition was launched at IBM's DeveloperWorks Live conference in San Francisco this week. Finals are being held at the LinuxWorld conference scheduled to be in San Francisco on 13-15 August.

The competition is part of a bundle of initiatives IBM has announced, designed to garner a community of focus with developers.

Cynthia Erdman, director of strategy and business development for developer relations at IBM, said the company had also launched a Web services demo package.

Built by a team within developer relations at IBM, it allows developers access to demo code and includes examples of how Web services can be used. The source code available is designed to show a broad range of applications such as Lotus, DB2, and WebSphere.

"It's been set up to explain how they could use it in the marketplace," Erdman said. "They want to know more about how they can do it and see actual code."

In addition, IBM has also announced an initiative for emerging technology developers. This includes areas that IBM has identified as having potential to provide high growth opportunities, such as grid computing, pervasive technologies, life sciences and e-sourcing.

Erdman said the emerging technology developers' project had been six months in the planning and was an extension of its start-up plan for developers, which has been running for the past 18 months.

"As we began to work with start-up companies we saw the value in identifying young companies to fill tomorrow's solutions," Erdman said.

Companies selected gain access to a range of resources, such as hands-on labs, workshops, and marketing assistance.

Vivienne Fisher reported from San Francisco.

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