IBM has expanded its Master the Mainframe contest to encompass entrants from around the world in a bid to develop the skills of a new generation of experts.

The competition will highlight the capabilities of mainframes and is designed to assemble the best students from universities around the globe. Participants in regional Master the Mainframe contests will be invited to the new competition, with IBM looking to select 44 students from 22 countries.

Students will be embedded in the Systems of Engagement concept, deploying mainframe business applications written with Java and COBOL. The results of their work will then be showcased in April in New York City, where a winner will be chosen.

Globetrotting

An IBM website has been set up to begin proceedings, with student profiles for each contestant, as well as leaderboards so viewers can follow their favourite participant, university or country.

Big Blue's Master the Mainframe contests have been entered by 68,000 students since its inception in 2005. The zEnterprise mainframe used as the base for all the application work can be found in virtually every industry, says IBM, giving entrants valuable experience they can take forward.

"IBM is committed to preparing 'Generation Z' for the future of business," said Pat Toole, general manager of IBM System Z. "Our ongoing collaboration with governments and academia in more than 70 countries helps ensure continuous mainframe innovations in areas such as Cloud, Mobile and Big Data for decades to come."