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Winning Developer Solutions Announced in Inaugural Call for Code Global Challenge to Mitigate Effects of Natural Disasters

IBM, David Clark Cause, United Nations Human Rights, the American Red Cross, The Linux Foundation, NEA, and additional supporters celebrate developers helping save lives with open source technologies
Oct 29, 2018
PR Newswire

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Call for Code Founding Partner IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Creator David Clark Cause, together with Charitable Partners United Nations Human Rights and the American Red Cross, today proudly announced the winning developer solutions of the first global Call for Code Challenge. The winners were announced during a Global Prize Celebration at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco.

IBM Corporation logo. (PRNewsFoto/IBM Corporation) (PRNewsFoto/) (PRNewsfoto/IBM)

The Call for Code Global Initiative–a five-year $30 million initiative with support from The Linux Foundation, VC Partner New Enterprise Associates (NEA), and over 80 additional business, humanitarian, and academic institutions–asks developers and data scientists to create scalable technical solutions to some of the most challenging issues facing the world today – in particular for 2018, how to better plan for and respond to natural disasters.

The winner of the USD $200,000 grand prize, Project OWL, which stands for "Organization, Whereabouts, and Logistics," is a two-part hardware/software solution. It provides an offline communication infrastructure that gives first responders a simple interface for managing all aspects of a disaster. The physical "clusterduck" network is made of hubs that create a mesh network that can send speech-based communications using conversational systems to a central application.

This application, the OWL software incident management system, uses predictive analytics and multiple data sources to build a dashboard for first responders.

"Once this network of ducks is deployed and then clustered, civilians are able to basically get on the devices through a really intuitive interface and contact first responders with a list of things that are really essential to them," team member Magus Pereira said.

The solution bakes in the latest IBM Watson Studio, Watson AI services and Weather Company APIs – all built on the IBM Cloud.

"Throughout its history, IBM has believed in the ingenuity of curious people to improve humanity with forward-thinking technology. Moreover, from driving collaboration on Linux and Java to Kubernetes and Hyperledger, IBM has strongly believed in the importance of working openly so that everyone can benefit from the best ideas," said IBM Chief Digital Officer Bob Lord. "Today, with the ability to safely process data at scale using sophisticated tools like AI, cloud, blockchain, and IoT, developers are unleashing the power of IBM's open code to effect change faster, in more places, and in more meaningful ways than ever before."

In addition to the cash prize, Project OWL will be deployed by IBM Corporate Service Corps. The team members, who come from New York and North Carolina, will have the opportunity to pitch OWL to venture capitalist firm NEA for potential funding.

Seeing the damage caused by the 2015 Nepal earthquake, second-place team Post-Disaster Rapid Response Retrofit (PD3R) from Kathmandu and Bogotá, Colombia created a solution to provide displaced families with immediate access to engineering advice following a natural disaster. Their solution is based on AI taught by 3D model images.

San Francisco Bay Area team Lali Wildfire Detection created a solution to predict the spread of wildfires in real-time with the use of sensor networks. Inspired by a teammate's first-hand experience growing up surrounded by fires in Ecuador, Project Lali took third place.

PD3R and Project Lali were each awarded USD $25,000. All three winning solutions will also receive long-term open source support from The Linux Foundation.

Over 100,000 developers and data scientists from 156 nations participated in the Call for Code Challenge, creating more than 2,500 applications.

The Challenge's eminent judges include former President Bill Clinton; Jim Zemlin, Executive Director, The Linux Foundation; Kate Gilmore, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights; Dr. Irwin Redlener, Director of National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Earth Institute of Columbia University; Deborah Dugan, Chief Executive Officer, (RED); and Grace Kim, Design and Research Lead at Twitter.

A summary of the top five finalist solutions can be read here:

For more information about Call for Code, visit 
For information about the IBM Developer community, visit 
For information about David Clark Cause, visit

Media Contacts:

Sarah Storelli

Mike Sefanov



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