Call for Code Finalists

Share this post:

Call for Code

This year, IBM, in partnership with the American Red Cross, the UN, the Linux Foundation and many more, launched the Call for Code.

Developers have revolutionised the way people live and interact with virtually everyone and everything. Where most people see challenges, developers see possibilities. The Call for Code is a multi-year, global initiative, and is a rallying cry to developers to use their skills and mastery of the latest technologies, and to create new ones, to drive positive and long-lasting change across the world with their code. The inaugural 2018 Call for Code Challenge theme was Natural Disaster Preparedness and Relief.

With thousands of entries, several amazing solutions were put forward for the grand prize of $250,000. The winners were recently announced and you can find out more information about them here.

IBM’s Internal Call for Code

Now, whilst IBMers themselves were naturally blocked from entering the public competition, there was a separate internal IBM Call for Code. As a prolific department for innovation, we naturally had some ideas and ended up submitting two separate projects. James Sutton and myself submitted Property Triaging and Ellie Lee, along with some colleagues outside of our department, submitted Epione.

With hundreds of applications, we’re pleased to announce that both of the entries made it to the final (top 10), although were not selected as one of the top 3 winners.

Property Triaging

– Joe Pavitt & James Sutton

Following a natural disaster, governments, charities and companies (e.g. insurance brokers) are tasked with “triaging” properties. That is, decide on the fate of each property affected by the disaster and then take the appropriate action. There are various complex factors that contribute to this decision making process. Generally, with all factors considered, one of the following decisions will be made:

  • Destroyed: The property is completely destroyed to the ground and not replaced.
  • Rebuilt: The property is torn down, destroyed, and then rebuilt from the ground up.
  • Repaired: The property is not destroyed, but simply has repairs applied to it’s current state
  • No Action Taken: The property is left as it is.

The solution demonstrates how various IBM Watson Services, in particular, IBM Watson Machine Learning, Visual Recognition, Knowledge Studio and Discovery, can be used to add a layer of Augmented Intelligence to this process. The additional insights allows the decision making process to speed up and help in prioritising the relevant properties that need the most urgent attention.

The solution results in significant time and money saved in the triaging process. It leads to more efficient decisions being made long term. No more repairing a property that has a high likelihood on flooding again next year. Most importantly though, ensures that residents and businesses that operate in the affected area have decisions made on their properties faster, allowing them to be re-homed and go back to normality in their daily lives.


– Ellie Lee

Natural disasters cause multitude of injuries dispersing over a large area. In a disaster, workers are stretched thin and a lot of manual work is needed to decide where to send them. Efficiency is crucial; however, specialists will have to travel to multiple locations to attend similar injuries. This lack of efficiency results in:

  • Ambulances and hospitals getting overused
  • Patients needing to travel excessively
  • Confusion and misinformation as to where patients are

EPIONE is an emergency service optimisation platform, that will help victims of natural disasters get the most efficient medical care. It will cluster victims with health issues of the same nature based on their location and send medical practitioners that can assist them. For example, multiple burn patients who do not need to go to a hospital urgently will be sent to a public assembly point calculated by Epione (e.g. Town Hall) where a burn specialist will come and treat them. Epione can not only be used for emergency health services, but other specialisation dispatch teams such as emergency social care and disaster relief services.

Master Inventor & Emerging Technology Specialist

Ellie Lee

Emerging Technology - IBM Research

James Sutton

Emerging Technology - IBM Research

More Innovation stories

Kappa Architecture on Bluemix

During the last three years I’ve been responsible for helping the US Masters, Roland Garros and primarily Wimbledon understand how people are engaging with the events on social media. Their requirements have led to a messy combination of stream processing, batch processing and static indexing. I’ve started to look at how a Kappa architecture might […]

Continue reading

The Inaugural ET Bluemix Experience Day

On Monday 12th May, 15 Emerging Technology engineers gathered in the Client Centre for our inaugural Bluemix Experience Day. The objective of the day was to bring together experts from across the IBM Emerging Technology Focus Areas to take a deep dive into IBM’s Codename: Bluemix platform and come up with ideas for new innovation […]

Continue reading