IBM launches Call for Code 2021 to tackle climate change

IBM launches Call for Code 2021 to tackle climate change
Photo Credit: Reuters
23 Mar, 2021

Computer hardware maker IBM on Monday launched the fourth edition annual call for its Call for Code global challenge, inviting software developers and innovators to combat climate change with open source-powered technology.  

The 2021 competition focuses on three sub-themes that are key to combating climate change -- clean water and sanitation, zero hunger, and responsible production and green consumption, Call for Code creator David Clark said in a statement.  

Alongside collaborators David Clark Cause, Charitable Partner United Nations Human Rights, and the Linux Foundation, the latest edition comprises new supporters including Heifer International and charity: water.  

"The winning team from each Call for Code global challenge receives $200,000, and support from the IBM Service Corps, technical experts, and ecosystem partners to incubate their technology, open source their code to make it available for anyone to use, and deploy their solution on the ground in communities around the world," Clark said.  

The Call for Code initiative has grown to over 4,00,000 developers and problem solvers across 179 nations, and has generated over 15,000 applications so far, as per the statement. 

Call for Code aims to drive immediate and lasting humanitarian progress around the world through the creation of practical applications built on open source-powered software, including Red Hat OpenShift, IBM Cloud, IBM Watson, IBM Blockchain, atmospheric data from IBM's Weather Company, and developer resources and APIs from partners like Intuit and New Relic, the statement added. 

Existing supporters of Call for Code include UN World Food Programme Innovation Accelerator experts, Arrow Electronics, Black Girls Code, Caribbean Girls Hack, Clinton Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative University, Ingram Micro, Intuit, Kode With Klossy, NearForm, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, United Way, and World Institute on Disability. 

"Smallholder farmers produce the majority of the world's food and are on the frontlines of the climate crisis. With access to information and technology, they can make informed decisions on what to grow and when, enabling them to increase their incomes, while feeding the world," David Gill, senior director of technology innovation for Heifer International, said. 

Call for Code has so far generated over 30 solutions that are being incubated and field tested in a series of deployments, including 12 open source projects hosted by the Linux Foundation, enabling these projects to evolve through the power of the open source community.   

As the latest example, IBM said on Monday, that is the UN World Water Day, the Linux Foundation announced that another Call for Code solution, Liquid Prep, will be hosted at the foundation so developers worldwide can contribute their mobile, internet of things (IoT), Edge, cloud, and weather skills to help farmers optimize water usage during droughts.  

Last year's winning solution, Agrolly, is an app designed to support small farmers by providing climate and crop predictions and recommendations. Since October, the Agrolly team has expanded their solution to new markets and provided hands-on training to more than 500 rural farmers across Mongolia, India, and Brazil, who are testing and using the app to fight the effects of climate change. Agrolly is also working with the IBM Service Corps on a deployment plan to improve and test their technology in the coming months. 

"Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and we must apply our collective ingenuity and cutting-edge technologies to make a lasting difference… I encourage every developer and innovator around the world to seize this opportunity through Call for Code to change our climate trajectory,” Ruth Davis, director of Call for Code, IBM, said. 

In early 2021, IBM said it will achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 by prioritising reductions in its emissions, energy efficiency efforts, and increased clean energy use across the more than 175 countries where it operates.  

On March 16, IBM Research announced progress in accelerating the discovery of new carbon capture, separation, and storage technologies.