Wednesday, November 26, 2008

DB2 on Campus at Georgian College

On Tuesday, Nov. 25th, I presented the DB2 on Campus for the first time in Canada to ~25 2nd year programming students at Georgian College, who have all taken a fundamentals SQL course, and are in the midst of a PL/SQL course. In addition, they are preparing to write the DB2 Fundamentals Certification exam mid December. They are currently using some of the Control Center features, command line, and Workbench/IBM Data Studio (Workbench is currently in their lab, but they are using IBM Data Studio at home). Although their current course outlines do not cover XML, they have been exposed to XML in another programming course in preparation for the upcoming certification exam. Some of the students knew PHP and Ruby on Rails. Next summer these same students will be taking a DB2 Administration course, therefore, they are already on the right path to becoming DB2 experts!

Their professor, Prof. Kirsty Fowler, used to be an Oracle guru before teaching computer science, so maybe now that the students are using DB2 in their labs, she can encourage some of them to do some research and write articles comparing the different data servers from a student's point of view. Prof. Fowler and students also asked some questions I couldn't answer, so I encourage them to join channelDB2 to get answers from knowledgeable DB2 users/developers at the Lab. I've also asked them to create a DB2 at Georgian College group for themselves on channelDB2 so that they can grow their DB2 community and communicate easily on DB2 topics, similar to DB2 in Naples, which has skyrocketed in a matter of months!

However, the most interesting and unusual thing about this presentation was that it needed to be accessible; Alissa Price, the ASL-English interpreter, who seems to be having fun, did an amazing job in replicating the hour-long technical presentation, including three demos, in sign language! This brought to light the fact that our DB2 on Campus presentations and demos need to be accessible as well from now on (and we have already started looking into this). Maybe we can get Alissa and her student to test/approve the presentations and demos for us, when they're accessible! ;-)

I introduced the students to the XML Superstar contest and encouraged them not only to participate, but to judge some of the entries as well. Unfortunately their free t-shirts did not arrive on time, but the students did receive free DB2 gaming and discovery DVDs, as well as a DB2 Certification Roadmap to help them decide which career path to take with DB2.

Before the presentation, I chatted a bit with Prof. Greg Rodrigo, whom I had met at CASCON 2008. He is the Co-ordinating and Professor of Computer Studies at this college, and he was quite interested in presenting the DB2 on Campus program to 1st year and 3rd year students as well. Both Prof. Fowler and Prof. Rodrigo were interested in the IBM Academic Initiative program, and Pat Moffatt, the WW Data Servers Education Offering Manager at the Toronto Lab, and I will present this program to faculty when we go back to proctor the certification exam mid December. Prof. Fowler was interested in more collaboration on projects with the IBM Toronto Lab (a common thread with all other universities I've visited), possibly having IBMers supervise some of the projects. Overall, another exceptional experience for me, and a success! The students were happy to learn more about DB2; and the demos were a huge hit! I hope this first visit to a Canadian college will be the beginning of many more visits not only to Georgian College again, but to many other Canadian universities and colleges, who will follow suit and use, or continue to use/promote, DB2 Express-C and other IBM products in their labs.

One last point, 1 other country and 1 college need to be added to DB2 on Campus 2008 Tour results. ;-)
Cheers, Agatha Colangelo

DB2 on Campus 2008 Tour results

With more than 100 universities in 13 countries visited, the DB2 on Campus tour ended successfully this November 8th. Close to 7,000 student and teachers were reached, and since July 2006, that makes it close to 27,000 attendees!. This year we focused on faculty meetings and faculty training in addition to student presentations. More than 1500 DVDs (DB2 on Campus DVD, Discovery Kit/Gaming DVDs) were distributed during the visits.

Volunteers (students, teachers and IBMers) across the world helped with the translation of the "Getting Started with DB2 Express-C" book. The following translations were finished and published (Thank you volunteers from the community!!!):
Portuguese (Brazil)
Simplified Chinese

The following translations are still on the works:
Bahasa Indonesia
Portuguese (Portugal)

Bringing a translated version of the book during the DB2 on Campus visits makes a lot of difference!

For 2009 the plan is to develop more books, videos and presentations that can be translated by the community. The books will include non-IBMers as co-authors in some cases. Other projects are also on the works with professors/students/IBM ambassadors from different universities.

Agatha Colangelo from the IBM Toronto Lab (Information Development Team) is providing incredible support to the program. She is arranging visits to universities in Canada, as well as helping with translations, and administration of DB2 Student Ambassadors/User groups. Juan Pablo Napoli from IBM Bulgaria is helping develop systems for better administration of DB2 on Campus program efforts.

If you would like to help with book/video translations, developing new books (For example RoR and DB2, .Net and DB2, DB2 with WAS-CE and Eclipse), please contact us at

For more information about the DB2 on Campus program, check out these other resources:
IBM DB2 on Campus Web site
DB2 on Campus Facebook group
Free videos and book to learn DB2
DB2 on Campus community site
DB2 on Campus Blog
Download DB2 Express-C!
DB2 Express-C Forum (Technical assistance)

Friday, November 21, 2008

"The Search for the XML superstar" contest status

As of this week, "The Search for the XML superstar" contest has almost 60,000 participants (45,000 in India, 10,000 in China, 300 in US and Canada, 100 in Poland, and so on!). More than 500 universities are being represented worldwide, with over $50,000 in prizes to be won in the US and Canada.

The "Ported Application" and "XML Programming" contest categories will go live this December 1st. Entries can be sent in until January 31st with teams of up to 5 members allowed. Read more about this at

By the way, if any student would like to be a contest ambassador on campus (or professionals in their company) please send a note to


Thursday, November 20, 2008

DB2 on Campus - Turkey

The DB2 on Campus tour in Turkey started on November 3rd. Nine universities were visited in 4 days!. Though the schedule was grueling (almost 18 presentations!) it was good to meet with faculty and students from the universities in Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. During the presentations, we also talked about the "Search for the XML superstar" contest (which in Turkey is part of their TGMC - The Great Mind Challenge). More than 400 students and teachers attended the presentations. The picture below is from Istanbul Technical University.

In the DB2 on Campus presentations, we spend the last 20 minutes giving tips to students about improving their career prospectives. One of the tips is to "network, network, network". Interestingly, a real-life example of the importance of networking was from my colleague Engin from IBM Turkey. Engin is a recent graduate and new employee of IBM. He accompanied me to the different university visits, and also told the students his story about how he joined IBM:

"In 2006, I was in the Student Committee for Industrial Engineering Student Society . I went to Ankara to attend a presentation from Mr. Eray Yuksek (IBM Turk, Country Manager). After the presentation, I approached Mr. Yuksek and asked him to visit my university to deliver the same presentation. I also emailed Mr. Yuksek and Mrs. Akyel (IBM Turk University Relations Leader) a few times so they would not forget about coming to my university. In 2007 Mrs. Akyel and in 2008 Mr. Yuksek indeed visited us!. What is more interesting is that Mr. Yuksek told me after the presentation to send my resume (a.k.a CV) to IBM. After a few months, I got a mail from Mrs. Akyel, then I was hired!"

So for Engin, networking paid off!. Becoming a DB2 Student Ambassador is another way of networking, and it has also paid off to other students, as I described in this previous post.

In the picture below at Ege university in Izmir, Engin is the 3rd one counting from the left.

Cheers, Raul.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

SONDAGGIO/SURVEY: Sì/No? Do you like the parallel text of the Italian translation of "Getting Started with DB2 Express-C"?

The Italian translation of the Getting Started with DB2 Express-C book (Iniziare a Usare DB2 Express-C) can now be downloaded from this site:

This translation is different from the other translations of the Getting Started with DB2 Express-C books in that it is a parallel text book that contains both the English and Italian text. This is a pilot for Italy only, to allow students to easily refer to the English text for clarification. If we find that students like the parallel text format, we will recommend that future translations/revisions of this and other Getting Started with DB2 Express-C books follow this format. Therefore, let us know if you like this format, and if you find it useful, by adding a comment to this post or sending us an email at:

We, the translators listed below and I, are continuing to improve the translation. Feel free to also send us your comments, questions or suggestions about the translation or about the contents of the book, in either English or Italian, again by adding a comment to this post or by sending us an e-mail at:

Italian translators from the Polytechnic of Turin:
  • Sergio Matone, DB2 Student Ambassador
  • Andrea Pignatiello
  • Edoardo Radica
  • Paolo Doz
  • Fabrizio Garetto
  • Antonio Vetrò
  • Rocco Ruberti

    Sergio Matone, his university friends listed above, and I worked many hours on the translation of this book. I hope it will help Italian students more easily learn DB2 and encourage some of them to become DB2 Student Ambassadors themselves, or even to get certified on DB2.

    Looking forward to hearing from you. Your response is much appreciated!

    Ciao! Agatha Colangelo
  • Saturday, November 8, 2008

    DB2 on Campus at CASCON

    Barely settled from my DB2 on Campus tour in Italy, I was able to get in through the cracks at the last minute, sharing the IBM Academic Initiative booth with Pat Moffatt at this year's CASCON 2008, Oct. 27-30, at the Sheraton Parkway Convention Center.

    We had interested profs and students from the following universities and colleges:
  • Athabasca University
  • Georgian College (I will be presenting the DB2 on Campus program to this college at the end of Nov., 2008, and Pat and I will be going to this college again in Dec., 2008, to conduct a DB2 Certification event. Pat has been working closely with this college for a number of years and now that they have integrated appropriate DB2 content into their curriculum, we are able to provide this value-added service: a testing event at the college.)
  • Queen's University
  • Ryerson University
  • Seneca College
  • University of Alberta
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Ottawa
  • University of Toronto

    We even had some interested high school teachers (from Richmond Hill and Toronto School Board) asking whether they could introduce DB2 in their computer science courses.

    A fair number of profs and students were also interested in the same programs for Eclipse, Rational, and WebSphere products. Almost everyone was interested in the Search for the XML Superstar contest that's starting on Dec. 1st in Canada.

    Everyone who stopped at our booth was asked to complete a short survey, ranking the following words based on how they would describe the relative knowledge of a job role working with IBM software:
    --"Professional Certification"
    --"Academic Readiness"
    --"Academic Qualification"
    --"Academic Recognition"

    Thanks again to everyone who visited our booth and participated in the survey! If you are interested in the Academic Initiative program or the DB2 on Campus program and would like a DB2 Certification event or a DB2 on Campus presentation at your university, college, or even high-school, contact us at or visit our web site at You can also visit the student community Web site at

    If you are interested in more information about the IBM Academic Initiative, visit

    Learn more about certification at

    Cheers, Agatha Colangelo
  • Friday, November 7, 2008

    DB2 on Campus tour in Italy

    This year's DB2 on Campus tour in Italy was a huge success! From Oct. 2-17, Raul and I, Agatha Colangelo, presented the DB2 on Campus program (Raul in English and I in broken Italian) to more than 500 Italian university students and faculty members from universities across the country. This was Raul's fourth tour in Italy, and my first.

    In the north, among the professors and IBMers present were Prof. Stefano Ceri, from the Polytechnic of Milan, Prof. Elena Baralis and Prof. Silvia Chiusano from the Polytechnic of Turin, as well as Carla Milani, University Relations Manager, IBM Italy.

    After the presentation in Milan, Sergio Matone, the DB2 Student Ambassador from the Polytechnic of Turin, also spoke to the students about the exciting work he's doing as ambassador, and its benefits. Sergio and his university friends who helped with the Italian translation of the book: Getting Started with DB2 Express-C, received free t-shirts from Raul. After each presentation in Milan and in Turin, Carla, Sergio, Raul and I socialized over a delicious lunch at a nearby Osteria. Also, while in Milan, at the IBM Segrate office, we had the privilege of a meeting with Carla Milani, Francesco Airoldi, Senior IT Architect, Carlo Patrini, IT Architect, Giancarlo Scotti, IBM Sales & Distribution, and Felix Mahimai John, the DB2 Student Ambassador from the Polytechnic of Milan. Among other things, we discussed the need to have more DB2 retail books, both in English and Italian. Therefore, for those of you want to write books on DB2, do not hesitate. The public is waiting for them!

    Heading south very early the morning of Oct. 9th, I captured this beautiful sunrise from the plane, before arriving at the beautiful gulf of Naples, from where I had left Italy as a child and not returned there since. (The 2nd picture was the view from my B&B, not easy to find but worth every penny, or rather, every euro.)

    Giacomo Franco, Process, Methods & Tools Leader, Italy, and DB2 Ambassador was waiting for us at the airport. At the Electronic Engineering Dept. at University of Naples Federico II, we met Prof. Paolo Maresca, who showed us the amazing work his students are doing on the DB2 on Campus login/ registration system.

    After the presentation, while we were chatting in his office, Prof. Maresca created the DB2 in Naples group on channelDB2. (Since then, more than 70 students from Federico II have joined channelDB2 and the number keeps growing daily!) Prof. Maresca expressed interest in collaborating on projects with the IBM Toronto Lab and also with other universities, not only in Italy, but from other countries as well. Here are a few of the students from Naples who have since joined channelDB2. Francesco Buono, 2nd from the left, is leading the login/ registration project. I wish these and all other Italian students who attended the presentations much success with their studies and careers (at IBM or elsewhere). Prof. Maresca, Giacomo, Raul and I also enjoyed delicious pizzas at a nearby restaurant (I finally tasted "Toto's pizza"; for those who don't know, Toto is the most famous Italian comedian from Naples, that they named a pizza after him.)

    The following day, at the University of Salerno, with IBMers Giacomo Franco and Ornella Serio, a senior IT Specialist from GBS, we met Prof. Paolo Napoletano and Prof. Francesco Colace, who later presented his design/prototype of a brainstorming system called "CoffeeShop" that used XML in files. Hopefully our presentation convinced Prof. Colace to use DB2 V9.5 with pureXML instead!

    The presentation was followed by an incredible catered lunch at the university's cafeteria with Prof. Giancarlo Nota. Not only was the food exquisite, but the view from the cafeteria, of the surrounding mountainside, was breathtaking (I was sorry I didn't have my camera with me). Ornella and I spent the last evening together having fun, sight- seeing Naples.

    The 2nd week, Raul headed north to present the DB2 on Campus program to universities in Poland, while I headed east to present the program to universities in Puglia, my native province. I first presented the program to IBMers and IBM contractors (PhD.s) at the IBM Innovation Lab, Bari, who are working on the MBLab (Bioinformatic Laboratory for Molecular Biodiversity) and LIBi (International Laboratory of Bioinformatics) projects with Pietro Leo, Executive IT Architect, IBM GBS, and DB2 Ambassador. Below Pietro (Piero) is introducing the presentation to profs and PhD. students at the Dept. of Computer Science at the University of Bari.

    Present were Prof. Gianni Semeraro and Prof. Donato Malerba. This presentation was followed by another delicious lunch at the local Osteria in Bari.

    At the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Salento, just outside the baroque city of Lecce, among the PhD. students present were Prof. Giovanni Aloisio and Dott. Maria Mirto. This group is also working on the LIBi project.
    One of the PhD. students presented a system that they're developing that uses DB2 among other databases at the backend. With this and other projects, Prof. Aloisio also expressed an interest in collaborating with the IBM Toronto Lab and with other universities both in Italy and around the world.

    Since I wasn't able to present the IBM Data Studio demo at some universities (due to harware problems), here's a link to it: IBM Data Web Services.

    Overall, this tour was not only "un successione", with good food, great weather, and beautiful places to visit, but it was also an opportunity of a lifetime for me, allowing me to meet many wonderful people in Italy while promoting DB2.

    For more pictures, visit my page on channelDB2.

    Ciao! Agatha

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008

    DB2 on Campus - Bulgaria

    From Oct 27 to Oct 31 I visited universities in Bulgaria in three cities: Sofia, Ruse and Varna taking me across Bulgaria by car (700+ Km). Close to 165 students and teachers attended the presentations. In Pyce (written in cyrillic) or Ruse/Rousse (written in our regular alphabet) the local media took some pictures of the event, and I was later told we appeared also on the local news on TV! In addition to raising awareness for DB2 Express-C, IBM Data Studio, and Rational Data Architect, I was able to meet with Juan Pablo Napoli (IBM Bulgaria) to discuss several projects we had in mind for a while. Juan Pablo will be teaching in the Master's program at the University of Sophia (SSME Master's program sponsored by IBM), and is also leading a student group to develop some systems for the DB2 on Campus Portal. In addition, during the visits we found 5 volunteer students who will help translate the "Getting started with DB2 Express-C" book from English to Bulgarian. My visits were also used as an opportunity to talk about the "Search for the XML superstar" contest to be organized in Bulgaria in the next few months. The picture below shows the moment I was talking about the contest at the presentation in Pyce.

    Sunday, November 2, 2008

    DB2 Express-C 9.5.2 beta available now!


    We've just released the DB2 Express-C 9.5.2 beta for Windows (32-bit). It includes the new Text Search feature "WHERE CONTAINS(column, 'monkey')=1", great for web development.

    Enjoy! Raul.