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May 24, 2024

IBM To Introduce AI Assistant on Mainframe: Linux Version on the Horizon


The latest platform to acquire a generative AI-powered assistant for the streamlining of automation is the IBM mainframe. With the unveiling of the new WatsonX Assistant for Z v1, IBM plans to unify automation coding with its WatsonX AI technology, thereby easing the operation of mainframes.

Parul Mishra, the Vice President of Product Management with IBM Digital Labour, and Skyla Loomis, the Vice President of IBM Z Software, indicated in a blog post that the product catalogue affords users the ability to readily import trusted automation that they’ve created using Ansible, job control language (JCL), and REXX as skills.

They shared that WatsonX grants customers the liberty to create and manage AI workflows and resources, while also accelerating efficiency and productivity on the mainframe thanks to the contextually aware chat experience provided by the extensible automation framework of WatsonX Orchestrate, capable of invoking said skills.

In terms of its operation, WatsonX Assistant for Z heavily relies on a generative AI Large Language Foundation model known as granite 13b.labrador, which is designed for enterprise-level usage and focuses on the English language. Trained with over 2.5 trillion tokens inclusive of IBM Z-exclusive content, the model uses retrieval-augmented generation (RAG) specific to Z domain to disseminate curated content to its users, as stated by Mishra and Loomis. More specifically, it has the capacity to generate responses to inquiries from IBM Z users that are specific to Z content, and can also suggest relevant automated skills that could be implemented during the discussion.

An AI assistant builder provides the opportunity for a lower-code generative AI and automation studio to generate Large Language Model (LLM) powered assistants that relate to business context, data, and automation, according to the bloggers.

“The AI assistant builder allows you to expand your commitments in automation, and grow its usage via an extremely conversational interface that’s subserved with reliable AI. IBM’s generative AI abilities are provided naturally by trustworthy and clear LLMs developed for particular business operations,” mentioned the bloggers. “Builders have the adaptability and dominance to determine when and how LLMs are utilized through content foundation, AI-supported activities, and conversational abilities.”

IBM has indicated that its future plans include the development of an IBM WatsonX Assistant for Z that runs on IBM Linux on Z. The same concepts apply to the Linux distribution, where customers can simplify operations and development on IBM Linux on Z.

IBM Z is simply the latest among many AI-based assistants offered by a range of vendors, such as Cisco, Juniper, Extreme, Microsoft, Fortinet and several others.

A recent Gartner report stated that by 2028, 75% of enterprise software engineers will use AI code assistants, up from less than 10% in early 2023. Sixty-three percent of organizations are currently piloting, deploying or have already deployed AI code assistants.

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