IBM has launched its watsonx Code Assistant, which targets multiple use cases: IT automation and application modernization.  The product consists of two main components at launch: watsonx Code Assistant for Red Hat Ansible Lightspeed and watsonx Code Assistant for Z

Watsonx Code Assistant for Red Hat Ansible Lightspeed uses generative AI to assist IT teams with things like network configuration or code deployment. Watsonx Code Assistant for Z uses the technology to help with mainframe application modernization and can translate applications from COBOL to Java. 

RELATED CONTENT: IBM releases watsonx Code Assistant for Red Hat Ansible Lightspeed

Watsonx Code Assistant for Z can help with application discovery, business services refactoring, and code transformation. It plans to add automated validation testing to the tool in the future. 

IBM explained that the goal here isn’t to completely turn all the COBOL applications into Java applications, but rather enable a world where the two are used optimally together. 

“Simply put, each language brings their own unique strengths and clients should have full control over which language they want to use for their business needs. Independent of client choice, IBM supports interoperability and optimization for IBM Z capabilities, and you also can leverage your existing application investments,” Kyle Charlet, IBM Fellow and CTO of Z Software at IBM, wrote in a post.  

The company is exploring how to expand the tool to additional programming languages in the future. 

Watsonx Code Assistant is based on the Granite foundation model, which is IBM’s own model. IBM is in the process of working on figuring out new opportunities to train the model to incorporate domain-specific knowledge so that it can expand the generative AI capabilities to more areas, such as code generation and code explanation. 

“With this launch, watsonx Code Assistant joins watsonx Orchestrate and watsonx Assistant in IBM’s growing line of watsonx assistants that provide enterprises with tangible ways to implement generative AI,” said Kareem Yusuf, Ph.D, senior vice president of product management and growth at IBM Software. “Watsonx Code Assistant puts AI-assisted code development and application modernization tools directly into the hands of developers – in a naturally integrated way that is designed to be non-disruptive – to help address skills gaps and increase productivity.”