Call for Code

Not your average hackathon

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Author: Rahul Soans, Developer Marketing Manager, IBM Australia

The Call for Code challenge is now in its third year. Initiated by David Clarke Cause in 2018 with IBM as a founding partner, the competition challenges innovators and problem solvers to tackle the biggest problems facing humanity.

The 2020 Call For Code challenge is being expanded to take on COVID-19 as well as climate change. Although the ethos of the competition is that open-source technology can help fight the impacts of COVID-19 and climate change – you don’t have to be a developer to assist.

As Bob Lord, IBM’s Senior Vice President, Cognitive Applications, Blockchain and Ecosystems, has said “The winning solutions were the ones that had a diversity of thought. They were the ones where the data scientist paired with the philosophy major. Where the nurse and firefighters paired with developers.”

The 2019 winners of Call For Code, Prometeo, are a team from Spain. They built an AI-based platform to monitor and act on firefighter health and safety in real-time. Though the solution is technologically elegant, the idea came from a (non-techie) firefighter. In his extensive career, Joan Harrera had suffered headaches and breathing problems in the line of duty. And also, tragically, the loss of colleagues. It was his personal experience that was the genesis of Prometeo.

Yes, the Call for Code challenge looks for technology solutions. But they are solutions to very human problems. Your ideas to help halt and reverse the impact of climate change and COVID-19 could see you become a Grand prize winner and win USD 200,000 and:

  • Solution implementation through Code and Response ™
  • Opportunity for mentorship and investment in the solution

While Climate Change and COVID-19 might seem like daunting issues to tackle, the competition is cognizant of tactical things that developers and innovators can do. The competition is broken into focus areas, with starter kits for each linked below.

Climate Change:


You can enter the global competition here.

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