HackZurich 2020 – IBM & Swiss Re

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Food For Thought

A Swiss Re and IBM Challenge for a more sustainable gastronomy

What is it all about?

Choosing what to eat at a restaurant or buy at the grocery store can be a difficult decision: Should I swap my burger for tofu, if the beef is locally raised? Is soy milk really better for the environment? Your challenge is to create an engaging platform for employees or sustainability leads to interact directly with our food supply chain – either at a personal (app) or managerial (dashboard) level. We’re looking for insights on how to purchase and eat more sustainably – using tools that have the flexibility to deal with uncertain and sometimes incomplete datasets. That’s why we’re arming you with IBM’s full suite of cloud development tools, including their Machine Learning (feat. dedicated NVIDIA GPUs), Watson AI, and Analytics Engine Suites, to crunch through sourcing and eco-impact datasets for SwissRe’s gastronomy. Check out our attached documentation to learn more about the tools and data available!

What data can you work with?

You will have access to two primary data sets provided by the Swiss Re team – the first will be a set of purchasing data that we have from our gastronomy suppliers. This will be in the form of an excel sheet, and each row will list a specific food product, with several associated qualities (weight, distance traveled, origin location, organic label, etc…). Some of these rows may be missing data – this is a real world issue that we face and we expect your solution to be robust enough to deal with this in some way, even if you have to make assumptions.
The second data set will be a collection of environmental impact factors for various food products – with an added layer of complexity. On top of an impact factor (in terms of CO2equivalents/ton of product), you will also be provided with the precise flows of resources required for the production, or the transportation of that product. This means you get to know exactly what minerals, fuels, water consumption, and energy use are associated with the production of a kilogram of apples, or the transportation of beef from Argentina.

What tools do we provide?

IBM has generously offered our hackers access to the entire suite of IBM cloud services, which you can take a look at here. There is no expectation that you use multiple or any of these services, but they can help you take your projects to the next level with less ground-work from your team.
Their team members will also be available over slack to provide you with technical assistance in deploying these tools to their maximum effect. We highly recommend becoming familiar with some of these products before the competition – after all, you have just 40 hours!
We hope you can use these tools to create a truly unique solution – insights are important to us, but just as important is the way we interact with those insights. Human-centered design can spur wary consumers into sustainability warriors or make sustainable food choices easy for our suppliers. What we aren’t looking for is a spreadsheet style result – input lots of data, get rows of data in return. We’re looking for apps where you can ask Watson to suggest the most sustainable lunch menu option – or dashboards that visualize the environmental impact of food in a way anyone can understand: in other words, exciting solutions.

To access IBM Cloud capabilities:

  1. Create free IBM Cloud account: (No credit card required, no obligations!)
  2. Activate IBM Cloud capabilities while logged-in to your account:
    • On the top right, go to Manage > Account > Account Settings > Subscription and feature codes
    • Click Apply Code
    • Request feature code on slack #03_ws02_ibm_swissre
  3. Enter the voucher code and click Apply

Demos & Tutorials – How to…

…get started with IBM Cloud

To work efficient with IBM Cloud, install the IBM Cloud CLI on your local machine. Getting Started with Tutorials gives you installation instructions for Windows, Linux and macOS.

…use our Starter Kits

Use one of our Starter Kits for Node.js, Python Flask, Java, Swift and many more.

…deploy a free Kubernetes Cluster

If you enter your feature code, you will be able to deploy a free Kubernetes Cluster. From there you will have the possibility to deploy additional services.

…create a dynamic Chatbot (30-45min)

Go to through this Chatbot Tutorial and create a communication chatbot and connect it to news and crawl trough other data sources with Watson Discovery.

…annotate and train pictures & videos:

A fast, easy and collaborative open source image annotation tool: Cloud Annotator

Main information at a glance

Join us on the HackZurich
Slack Channel #03_ws02_ibm_swissre

Get all relevant data and workshop material here:

For additional data from Eaternity please use the special key SwRbyFIaQWtvjhKNl1xugM4UTBVEqpGm

Contact people

Questions about challenge and data

Technical questions

Associate Partner, Insurance

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