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IBM collaborating on open source software to assist older workers

Cliff Saran

IBM is collaborating on a research project to develop open source software technology tools to accommodate the needs of older workers.

The research running in conjunction with the University of Dundee School of Computing and the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine are collaborating on making software more accessible to older workers.

An aging workforce is a growing problem in developed countries. High percentages of skilled workers are approaching or reaching retirement age by the end of the decade. As these workers retire, they leave behind companies and government organisations vulnerable to lost skills, experience, training and knowledge, IBM said.

The researchers will look at the development and integration of structures, systems, tools, and processes that facilitate the inclusion of more people - irrespective of their age, abilities or personal challenges.

The new team is comprised of researchers from the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center and Professors Peter Gregor from the University of Dundee and Sara Czaja from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The project will target both training and collaboration technologies, with an eye to the unique needs of older workers.

The partnership is part of IBM's Open Collaborative Research (OCR) programme - an initiative designed to foster research connections between IBM and universities. Under IBM's OCR program, results developed between IBM Research and top university faculty and their students for specific projects will be made available as open source software code and all additional intellectual property developed based on those results will be openly published or made available royalty-free.

The IBM Research team has worked for the past several years on website usability for older adults. Through Corporate Citizenship partnerships with key organisations serving older adults, the IBM researchers have created software deployed worldwide that addresses many needs of older users.





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