BRYAN SMITH
Vice President Research & Development and Chief Technology Officer

Company—
Rocket Software

Years in IT—
28 since my internship, 25 fully employed

My first mainframe job—
As an intern at the County of Riverside (California) Data Processing Department, I was assigned a project to create various reports. I used a 4GL called Natural and learned JCL. It was my first exposure to a batch interface and I was intrigued with the infrastructure that was built around the system—scheduling staff, an on-site SE, sysprogs (that were Real Men of Genius!) and, of course, three shifts of operating staff that I got to know really well because I was still going to school and able to work off hours and weekends.

My favorite mainframe attribute—

I can’t be limited to just sharing one, so I’ll share three. First, I like programming languages. As a developer for DB2 for MVS at the Santa Teresa Lab in San Jose, I fell in love with a language called PL/X. Like PL/I, but so much more, like being able to drop into ASSEMBLER in-line when we would get a new hardware instruction fresh from Poughkeepsie that wasn’t built into the PL/X compiler yet. I can still remember coding a B263 instruction to compress data when we built ESA Data Compression into DB2 (you’d think that I would use those brain cells to remember more important things than the hex code for an instruction!). I even coded up some parts of DB2 with some object-oriented extensions, just because I could. I think I heard that that code has since been removed—probably for the best.

Second favorite attribute: Parallel Sysplex. In my opinion, this was the single most important project ever delivered on the mainframe. No other clustered computing implementation has even come close to this feat. What a huge project and a great team.

This leads me to my last favorite memory: the people. By associating myself with the mainframe, I have met and worked alongside true brilliance and some of the most committed and compassionate people in the world. I am thankful to all of them.
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