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IBM and Linux Foundation Call on Developers to Make Natural Disasters Less Deadly

David Clark holding the Call for Code trophy
Photo: Call for Code
David Clark, who created the annual Call for Code competition, displays the official prize from the 2018 challenge.

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. 

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