On a stormy Tuesday in July, a group of 30 young programmers gathered in New York City to take on natural disasters. The attendees—most of whom were current college students and alumnae of the nonprofit Girls Who Code—had signed up for a six-hour hackathon in the middle of summer break.
Flash floods broke out across the city, but the atmosphere in the conference room remained upbeat. The hackathon was hosted in the downtown office of IBM as one of the final events in this year’s Call for Code challenge, a global competition sponsored by IBM and the Linux Foundation. The challenge focuses on using technology to assist survivors of catastrophes including tropical storms, fires, and earthquakes.
Recent satellite hackathon events in the 2019 competition have recruited developers in Cairo to address Egypt’s national water shortage; in Paris to brainstorm AI solutions for rebuilding the Notre Dame cathedral; and in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, to improve resilience in the face of future hurricanes.
Foreign-language content on Netflix used to be few and far between, but nowadays things have …