2014 IBM Master the Mainframe World Championship

4/7/14, 10:30am: Mainframe 50th Anniversary

Only the highest scored students have the opportunity to participate in the IBM Master the Mainframe World Championship. In this competition, 43 student contestants from five continents, will compete for the grand prize of mainframe computing, which has 50 years of history behind it. This two-day event will be taking place in New York City, April 7-8, and XRDS will be there covering every detail live for you. 

Mainframe History

Mainframe computing was introduced in the 1950s. Back then, only a few businesses were able to afford such machinery. Mainframes used to require massive hardware, and were astonishingly large in scale compared to today’s mainframes. How big were they? Think tons, not pounds.

IBM Mainframe Computer

Top picture: Dave Michlowski, IBM employee in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Bottom picture: IBM 140 introduced in 1959.
Photo licensed in CC, by IBM.

Mainframe computers support large amounts of applications as well as many input/output devices to be processed at the same time and serve thousands of users. Today’s applications include banking, web hosting, online transactions and even real-time credit card processing, just to mention a few.

If you would like to learn even more about this awesome machinery, you can visit IBM’s history archives (here) to find out more information.

4/7/14, 3:35pm: Live from NYC

The 40 student contestants who were able to attend the event met yesterday, Sunday April 6th at the IBM offices in Poughkeepsie, NY, where they had the opportunity to present their projects. After a tight competition, the judges narrowed it down to the final six participants who are presenting their projects to an audience gathered today at the IBM NYC office. There are six judges who will decide the final top three contestants.

The judges are as follows: David Ditillo from MetLife Insurance, Jeff Gill from VISA, Jenna-Shae Banks from First Citizens Bank, Susan Dischiave representing from Syracuse University, Seth Reichelson from Lake Brantley High School, and Lonnie Emard from BlueCross BlueShield of SC.

2014 IBM Master the Mainframe World Championship judges

2014 IBM Master the Mainframe World Championship judges.
Photo by: Paola Garcia for XRDS blog.


And the six finalists are: Philipp Egli from University of Brighton, Rijnard van Tonder from Stellenbosh University, Mugdha Kadam form University of South Florida, Yon-Siang Shih from National Taiwan University, Aaron Call Barreiro from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, and Shahini Sengupta fro RCC Institute of Information Technology.

We will have reactions from the finalists very soon. Stay tuned!

4/7/14, 3:40pm: Judges are at the IBM NYC office auditorium deliberating.

4/7/14, 4:15pm: Introducing “Generation Z”

Everyone was invited back to the auditorium. All of the student contestants received a very nice customized plaque and were congratulated for being the top contestants in the competition. They were referred as being the next “Generation Z“. And they certainly deserve it; there were more than 20,000 participants in the Master the Mainframe contest this year from around the globe! Here I leave you with a great shot of all these 40 Mainframe masters, holding their plaques:


2014 IBM Mainframe Masters!
Photo by: Paola Garcia for XRDS blog.

After some remarks before closing the event, the judges had the opportunity to tell us what it was to be part of the judging panel. “Unique“, “different“, and “extraordinary” were just some of the ways used to describe this tight competition.

4/7/14, 9:00pm: Day 1 Recap

It was quite an interesting day for the final six contestants. After the welcome session in which IBM representatives introduced mainframe computing, the six finalists were sent to separate rooms. Each of them set up their banking web applications, and presented their projects, individually, to the six judges and the audience. Each session ran for about 20 minutes, leaving time for some Q&A at the end.

All of the applications performed basic banking and ATM transactions and covered both, frontend and backend development. The contestants focused mainly on creating innovative features that included security, data integrity, validation, authentication, and privacy. To be honest, they were all very good but I have three projects in particular that caught my attention:, Yong-Siang Shih’s Banking for GENERATION Z, Rijnard van Tonder’s Bank42 and Philipp Egli’s ATM Master the Mainframe. Their projects were not only user-friendly and had a great graphic user interface (GUI), but they included excellent and innovative security features like data encryption, One-time password (OTP) generation and even mobile account management for enabling or disabling an account.

As of tonight, the winners have not been announced (even though I’m going with my predictions), but as soon as we find out at the closing ceremony tomorrow starting at 2:00pm EST, we will be updating this blog.

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