By Gregory Sechuga
IBM watsonx Code Assistant for Z
IBM has announced a new generative AI-assisted product called watsonx Code Assistant for Z that will help enable faster translation of COBOL to Java on IBM Z and enhance developer productivity on the platform. This product will be generally available in Q4 2023 and is being designed to help accelerate COBOL application modernization. The product will be enabled by a 20 billion parameter large language model (LLM) for code.
IBM watsonx Code Assistant product portfolio will extend over time to address other programming languages, improve time to value for the mainframe application modernization projects, and address growing skills challenges for developers. These solutions will be powered by IBM’s watsonx.ai code model, which will support 115 coding languages having learned from 1.5 trillion tokens. At 20 billion parameters, it is on target to become one of the largest generative AI foundation models for code automation .
Why should IBM Z clients care?
There are several inter-related reasons why IBM Z clients should consider implementing IBM watsonx Code Assistant for Z:
- Accelerating mainframe application modernization projects – throughout the complete lifecycle – beyond the results possible with traditional tools.
- Addressing the issues of the retiring mainframe resources and lack of legacy applications knowledge by expanding access to a broader pool of IT skills and shortening developer onboarding.
- Optimizing costs, complexity, and risks associated with application modernization projects, including performance optimization of the existing IBM Z applications and translation from COBOL to Java.
- Achieving higher code quality and application maintainability through model customization and implementation of the best practices.
The potential of a disruptive and positive impact of implementing Generative AI tools on the speed and quality of software development is not only IBM's opinion. Recent analyst reports stated that Generative AI code assistants are becoming essential to the developer experience and recommended that software product leaders and leaders in any industry must capitalize on generative AI that can be used to scale and accelerate their software and application development. According to Gartner, Generative AI-based code generation has the potential to revolutionize software development workflow and developer productivity .
In its most recent annual Global Survey on the current state of AI, McKinsey stated that generative AI tools have seen explosive growth. Less than a year after many of these tools debuted, one-third of survey respondents say their organizations regularly use generative AI in at least one business function .
1. IBM announcement: https://newsroom.ibm.com/2023-08-22-IBM-Unveils-watsonx-Generative-AI-Capabilities-to-Accelerate-Mainframe-Application-Modernization
2. Gartner analysis: Emerging Tech: Generative AI Code Assistants Are Becoming Essential to Developer Experience
3. McKinsey survey: The state of AI in 2023: Generative AI’s breakout year