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Tuesday, 05 October 2021 20:40

Four Australian teams selected as finalists in IBM 2021 Call for Code challenge


The annual Call for Code challenge. launched by IBM with support from the Linux Foundation and United Nations, invites the world's software developers and innovators to address climate change with open-source technology. This year four Australian teams are in the finals and one of these projects may well be the winner.

The challenge doesn't end with a cheque; each year, IBM works with the top teams to help bring their open-source solutions to life in real-world deployments. Previous projects successful include Project Owl and Project Prometeo, both of which are now in real-world use in hurricane-hit Puerto Rico and with on-the-ground firefighters in Spain, respectively. Similarly, this year's global winner will be supported by IBM, the Linux Foundation, and other partners to bring their solution to life in the hands of communities that can use it.

The shortlisted teams will be judged by a panel of local leaders in business, academia, government, and non-Government organisations (NGOs) who will select a winning team for Asia Pacific. Regional winners will be announced along with the Global and University Challenge winners at the 2021 Call for Code Awards on November 16. They will receive $US 5,000 prize money and will continue to receive guidance from IBM and mentors in the Call for Code community.

The four Australian regional finalist projects are:

Honestly is an online browser extension aimed at helping people make real-time informed decisions to buy more ethically. It provides assistance through the shopping process, alerting you to any bad news a brand has been linked to, displaying a list of relevant ratings compiled from external bodies, and benchmarks companies against industry standards.

FoodSpot is a mobile app that helps charity organisers create and plan food drives with impact. Using IBM Watson Discovery the app generates suggestions in terms of where organisers could create a food drive to target the maximum number of people. It also helps those looking for food drives to see the event details and where it is located. If an event is created through FoodSpot they will be able to reserve a spot by “claiming a meal” in the food drive.

Consumer households are the largest driver of food waste in Australia, making up 34% of total food wasted. Plenti is a mobile application to help digitally keep track of the food in your house and uses expiry date approximations to remind people to finish their food on time. There's no need to manually input individual items; instead, the app scans your shopping receipt and uses IBM Watson to build your digital inventory. The app also gives you a view of your food waste in terms of amounts, types of food wasted and costs, aiding consumers in making smarter decisions.

FarmAid puts AI in the hands of smallholder farms, giving them alerts and advice on their mobile phones to help them stay one step ahead of extreme weather events and crop disease outbreaks that threaten their livelihood.

Stay tuned to find out if one of these Australian projects will be the global winner.

Although submissions for the 2021 challenge have closed, there are plenty of ongoing projects to get involved with if you're a developer looking to take on climate change, natural disasters, COVID-19, or other pressing social issues.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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