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“Innovate Race Car Challenge” Takes Students and Customers for a Spin

Wow, what a week! I (along with about 4000 others) have just returned home from a memorable week in Orlando at IBM Innovate 2012. My role at the conference revolved around professors and students — and they certainly kept me on my toes.

On Monday, we hosted 16 students and 12 customers for a “Race Car Challenge” using IBM Jazz and the Agile process. These teams, “Generation Next” and “Generation Now,” divided into groups of 4 and learned by getting their hands dirty. Through 3 Agile sprints, the teams planned work items and wrote code to direct their race car in areas such as navigation, speed / fuel consumption, avoiding obstacles, and throwing tires.  Congrats to the “Speed Demons” team comprised of students from Florida Technical College and Harvard for taking first place overall and representing Generation Next!

First Place Winners -- Speed Demons

Snapshot of the final race

On Tuesday, Innovate hosted 21 professors from universities around the world.  These professors were treated to insights from Analyst Judith Hurwitz, learned about the IBM Academic Initiative, saw demos of the all new JazzHub, and — most importantly — heard real life success stories from peers using IBM technology and software in the classroom.

Prof. Dave Powell, Elon University

Rob Retchless, IBM Developer for JazzHub

Prof. Praveen Rao, University of Missouri - Kansas City

On Wednesday, Innovate welcomed students from Lake Brantley High School.  If LBHS sounds familiar, it is likely because they dominated the IBM Master the Mainframe contest last year….a contest traditionally entered by university students!  For their achievements, LBHS was named IBM’s “North American Mainframe High School of the Year!”  Congrats to the teachers and students from Lake Brantley.  These students joined us for a full day of learning and even got a private meet and greet with our keynote speaker Michio Kaku.

LBHS Students with Rational GM Kristof Kloeckner

If you would like to learn more about how to get your school involved with the IBM Academic Initiative and JazzHub, send me an email at