IBM Unveils Watsonx: A Solution to the COBOL Programmer Shortage

October 31, 2023 – IBM has recently announced a groundbreaking development aimed at addressing the shortage of skilled COBOL programmers. In response to this challenge, IBM has introduced “Watsonx,” a generative AI programming assistant.

Earlier this year, IBM introduced the “IBM Z” service, primarily focused on converting COBOL into the Java programming language. Now, they have officially launched this initiative under the name “Watsonx.”

Watsonx’s core functionality revolves around simplifying the conversion of COBOL code to Java, with the ultimate goal of modernizing large-scale computer systems. IBM has emphasized that this AI assistant offers a high degree of accuracy in code translation, significantly reducing the likelihood of common syntax errors during the line-by-line conversion process.

To enhance the reliability of the output, IBM has plans to release an automated unit testing tool designed to review the converted code thoroughly.

Notably, Watsonx is powered by the CodeNet model, boasting a staggering 1.5 trillion parameters, with 200 billion parameters dedicated to the task at hand. Additionally, a massive context window of 32,000 parameters has been designed to “capture a broader context,” thereby enabling a more efficient transition from COBOL to Java.

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