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alphaWorks - where the real geeks hang out

IBM Haifa Labs News Center

October 03, 2005

alphaWorks represents a brand new model for bringing innovation to the public. This IBM web site offers free download of newly developed technologies, providing early adopter developers around the world with the opportunity to experience the latest innovations from IBM. These emerging technologies are available for download at the earliest stages of research and development, enabling developers to evaluate and influence IBM research and development.

Although alphaWorks has been around for almost nine years, the function and scope of the site is continuously evolving. More recently, attention is being directed at new programs that focus around research topics and special academic licensing. The site is really geared towards helping people outside IBM learn about bleeding edge projects and research areas, while enabling IBM technologists to engage with the external marketplace-even before their work is finalized.

Marc Goubert, senior manager of IBM alphaWorks visited the IBM Haifa Lab last week to explain what alphaWorks is all about. "The early release of software tools allows IBM partners to spend less time worrying about developing technology and frees up more time for innovating and focusing on the strategic business objectives of their mid-market customers," noted Goubert. "By leveraging emerging technologies showcased on our website, IBM developers and solution providers can get their tools to market faster and increase return on investment."

alphaWorks is essentially targeted at early adopters and advocates of emerging technology. Goubert refers to this crowd as 'the super/alpha geeks'. To date, this community has offered an overwhelming amount of positive feedback for the alphaWorks site, which currently offers them free access to over 220 new technologies. As Goubert pointed out, "these early practitioners get a real edge on the competition by trying out new technologies way before they hit the market."

"The research topics offered on the site help expand our community's mind set by showcasing new technologies-especially those in exploratory areas," he explained. "alphaWorks has a successful history of introducing new concepts to developers. For example, the site offered some of the very first technologies related to web services, and more recently helped introduce concepts such as Service Oriented Architectures (SOAs)."

The site holds many unique advantages. While visitors to the site benefit from access to ultra-advanced technologies, contributors gain insight through feedback from real live customers and early exposure to the public. Visitors from academia are presented with a great opportunity to see the latest innovations and broaden their interaction with other researchers who are working in the same area. Basically, it's a win-win situation for everyone. With over 180,000 new visitors per month, and downloads in the order of tens of thousands per month, the alphaWorks model seems to be accomplishing its goals in a big way.

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