IBM has launched watsonx Code Assistant, a generative artificial intelligence (genAI) tool to assist developers in writing code through language prompts, the company said in a statement today (26 October).

The new code assistant has two principal functions: IT automation for code deployment and mainframe application modernisation, such as translating COBOL to JAVA.

IBM also said it was researching and developing the possibility of code generation, code explanation, and the full end-to-end software development lifecycle.

WatsonX Code Assistant is one of several watsonx assistants, including watsonx Orchestrate and watsonX assistant.

IBM initially launched Watsonx, an AI and data platform to help enterprises integrate the technology into their operations, in May of this year. The company is now looking to ride the AI wave with this new offering.

IBM also announced a collaboration with Hugging Face, which was valued at $2bn last year, to offer open-source AI models.

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Watsonx hosts a suite of features; among them is the Granite series model, a large language model (LLM) to support summarisation, content generation and insight extraction. LLMs use statistical models to analyse data, learning the patterns between words and phrases.

Granite’s competitors include OpenAI’s GPT-4 and ChatGPT.

IBM also announced plans in August to host Meta’s Llama 2-chat 70 billion parameter model in the studio and the StarCoder LLM for code generation.