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Think you can handle something bigger?Think you can handle something bigger?

Take the IBM Mainframe Challenge

Take the IBM Mainframe Challenge

Contest Rules

The Main Frame Challenge is open to ALL students aged 18 or over who are living in the UK at the time of the contest. Good luck everyone!

  1. Registering
    To enter the contest, please complete the online registration form. The contest is now open and will run until January 19, 2014 11:59 PM. Simply follow all the instructions and complete the whole online registration form. You'll need to be over 18 years or older to register.
  2. Submitting your entry
    Once you've completed the online registration form, IBM will provide you with a mainframe user ID (to enable you to complete the tasks for the contest). This will normally happen within 1 working day of registration. We have set aside limited system resources for this contest, and these will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. Unfortunately, if our system resources have all been allocated, we can no longer accept any more entrants. For Parts 1 and 2 of the contest, you have to submit entries by transmitting data sets to an IBM user ID on the mainframe, as described in the contest instructions. You must submit an entry for Part 1 before you can move on and submit an entry for Part 2. When you have submitted to Part 1 & 2 you can then enter Part 3 by sending an e-mail to We will then send you a new user ID for Part 3 (this will happen within five business days of IBM's receipt of your email). Contest judges (as described in Rule #3) will log into your account for Part 3 to verify that you've completed Part 3 tasks; no formal submission of datasets needs to be made. Your entry must be received by the sponsor no later than 11:59 PM January 19, 2013. You must submit your entry by using the authorised account holder of the e-mail address used as the user name at the time of registration. Authorised account holder means the natural person who is assigned to the e-mail address by an Internet access provider, on-line service provider, or other organisation responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address. Please check that your registration form is complete, otherwise you won't be able to enter the contest. Once you enter the contest we cannot take any responsibility for your computer system, hardware, software, network program, or other errors, failures, or malfunctions of any kind, whether human or technical in nature, in the transmission or receipt of entries or registrations. Part 3 of the contest will be judged according to criteria in rule #3. Unfortunately, IBM cannot return your entries or provide individual feedback regarding incorrect entries.
  3. Part 3 entries will be judged by a panel of qualified judges beginning around January 27, 2014. The Judges' decisions are final in all matters relating to the contest. You'll be judged on the number of predefined tasks you are able to complete before the end of the contest, as outlined in Part 3 of the instructions. In the event of a tie, the winner will be the person with the clearest written answers to all questions in Part 3. Sponsor reserves the right to cancel or suspend this contest should virus, bugs or other causes beyond sponsor's control corrupt the administration, security, or proper judging of the contest. If sponsor detects harmful system activity, harmful network activity, or use of the systems for activity beyond the scope of the contest, sponsor reserves the right to remove system resources or to revoke user IDs from the contest. Sponsor is not responsible for technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software. The submission of your entry constitutes that you accept the conditions and rules of the contest.
  4. The contest is open to you if you are 18 years or older and enrolled in full-time or part-time at a two, three, or four-year accredited college or university in the UK and are currently living in the UK. You may only submit one entry in each part (Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3) of the contest. If you have not registered for the contest during the registration period, unfortunately you cannot submit an entry to the contest. Proof of enrolment may be required. Employees of IBM and judges of the Mainframe Contest and the immediate family members and household members of each are not allowed to enter the contest.
  5. Part 1 Prizes (200 available to be won)
    One Prize will be awarded to each of the first 200 students to complete Part 1 of the contest correctly. The prize is a specially designed Mainframe Hooded Sweatshirt worth around £14.
  6. Part 2 Prizes (25 available to be won)
    One Prize will be awarded to the first 25 students to complete Part 2 of the contest correctly. The prize is a Raspberry Pi with set up kit worth around £60.
  7. Part 3 Prizes (3 available to be won)
    One prize will be awarded to each of the top three students (as determined by the criteria in rule #3). The prize is a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1" with wifi worth around £299. The top three winners will also receive a one-day trip to the IBM Hursley, Hampshire, UK. No cash value or substitutions of prizes except by Sponsor who may change prizes or models of equipment as availability changes or make such substitutions as necessary to meet export requirements. Prizes will be delivered to you if you are a confirmed winner. If you're one of the top three winners you will need to make your own travel arrangements to the Hursley Lab, however IBM will cover up to £100 of your personal travel expenses. By accepting prizes, you also agree to release IBM and its subsidiaries, affiliates and related companies and each of their respective officers, directors, employees and agents, including but not (the "Contest Parties"), from any and all liability, loss or damage of any kind arising out of or in connection with your participation in this contest, or with respect to awarding, receipt, possession, use and/or misuse of any prize, or to participation in the Contest or in prize-related activities. By accepting prizes, you must also acknowledge that the Contest Parties have neither made, nor are in any manner responsible or liable for, any warranty, representation or guarantee, expressed or implied in fact or in law, relative to prize or to any portion thereof, including but not limited to its quality, merchantability, mechanical condition, or fitness for a particular purpose.
  8. If you are a winner, (except where prohibited and subject to the acceptance of prize by the winner) we will want to use your name and image in publications following the contest.
  9. Winners of Part 1 and of Part 2 will be notified via email (within fifteen business days of the time stamp on their data set submissions for Part 1 and Part 2, respectively). Part 3 winners will be notified via e-mail provided by the student on or about February 1, 2014.
  10. By submitting an entry, you grant the Sponsor and its agents of this contest the right to publish, use, adapt, sell, edit and/or modify your entry (and electronic communications related to such entry) in any way, so we can use it in commerce, and in any and all media worldwide, including but not limited to the Internet, without limitation and without compensation to the entrants. You also grant the Sponsor a worldwide irrevocable, nonexclusive and royalty free right and license to use, have used, copy, reproduce, transfer, modify and/or display any information contained in your entry in whole or part and in any form without compensation. Your entry must be your own original creation and must not infringe on third-party rights, must not have won previous awards, must not have been posted on another website prior to submission and must be suitable for publication. You may be required to sign an additional affidavit/license (except where prohibited) to this effect. You also agree to be bound by the official contest rules.
  11. At the Sponsor's discretion, you may also be required to submit source code to substantiate results reported in the entry.
  12. For a list of winners visit the Mainframe Contest Website after February 14, 2014.

The Challenge is currently closed.

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