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Boston Globe: IBM gets extreme

Aug 14, 2000, 16:39 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Hiawatha Bray)

[ Thanks to Jonathan M. Prigot for this link. ]

"I've worked for three start-ups," Shankar says, "and none of them were as interesting as this is." He's talking about his work on Sash, a piece of Linux software that'll help amateur programmers easily produce complex and sophisticated programs. Shankar and a team of bright undergraduates have spent the summer grinding out the code that'll make it work. IBM provides a salary, room and board, and the best laptop and desktop computers that money can buy."

"We're treated like mature developers," says Shankar's colleague, Andrew Wu, a junior at the University of Illinois. In exchange, IBM gets relatively cheap labor from a band of absolutely brilliant youngsters. IBM calls the program Extreme Blue, and the company values it not only for the work the students do but also because it gives IBM first crack at the world's best computer students."

"The seeds of the program were planted in 1995. John Patrick, IBM's vice president for Internet technology, was working on projects to build large heavy-duty Web sites to provide the public with information on major sporting events, such as the Olympic Games in Atlanta. During the summer months, Patrick began hiring bright college students to work on his projects."

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