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IBM’s 2020 Call for Code Challenge Takes on Both Climate Change and COVID-19

The annual challenge aims to address society’s most pressing issues; which is why this year, IBM is asking developers, data scientists and problem solvers to address two urgent crises that have the power to compromise our health, our planet and our survival.

On February 27, IBM and the David Clark Cause, in partnership with United Nations Human Rights and the Linux Foundation, launched the 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge — an annual competition that invites developers and activists to help save lives by building applications fueled by data and open source technology including AI, cloud, blockchain and IoT. IBM works with the winning team to fortify, test and deploy its solution through IBM’s Code and Response initiative. Last year, over 180,000 developers from 165 nations participated in Code and Response and Call for Code and they created more than 5,000 applications focused on natural disaster preparedness and relief. The theme of this year’s Call is climate change.

But, as we all know, life as we know it has rapidly changed in the past month with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic — revealing the limits of many of the systems we take for granted. So, IBM quickly saw the need to expand the Call to include COVID-19 and is now asking problem-solvers around the world to think about open-source technology solutions to this crisis, as well — specifically in the areas of crisis communication, ways to improve remote learning, and how to inspire cooperative local communities.

Previous winners — including Prometeo (2019) and Project Owl (2018) — along with other applications from these programs continue to be supported by IBM developer teams and partners throughout their testing, scaling, and deployments across communities in need. Prometeo just field-tested its health-monitoring technology in Barcelona, with wildfire firefighters during a controlled burn; and Project Owl, which re-establishes network connectivity in the wake of disasters, has already been deployed in hurricane-hit areas of Puerto Rico.

Learn more about this year's Challenge here and here.

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