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Students use AI, blockchain, and data in global solutions to fight climate change and COVID-19.


Throughout history, we’ve been reminded that solutions can come from anywhere and from anybody. Year after year, Call for Code continues to demonstrate the importance of encouraging participants with diverse backgrounds from around the world to offer their vantage point on some of society’s most pressing issues, locate problems within these challenges, and build solutions that fight back. Tackling global issues at scale requires global action–and The Call for Code University Edition has produced hundreds of promising solutions from the worldwide community of student participants to fight back against COVID-19 and climate change. We are pleased to announce the top five university finalists:

Kairos App, University of the Andes & Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Colombia)

The Kairos App was a solution built to help businesses follow social distancing guidelines so that they can begin to reopen. Utilizing IBM Watson™ Machine Learning along with The Weather Company APIs, the app uses a mathematical model to let businesses know how many people visited their location and to better plan resources to accommodate customers going forward.

Lupe, University of Wolverhampton (United Kingdom)

With small food and beverage businesses being heavily affected by COVID-19, a lot of perishable products were stuck in refrigerators and on shelves unable to be distributed to those with the greatest need. Using IBM Blockchain and IBM Kubernetes Cluster, Lupe is a solution built from a group in the United Kingdom that provides a simple way for small businesses to continue to find customers digitally in the local community — and where food isn’t sold, offer a way for that food to be distributed to local charities and food banks.

Pandemap, University of California, Berkeley (United States)

With social distancing being our new normal, large organizations and institutions such as universities are finding it difficult to monitor and measure crowd flow. A worldwide team from India, Turkey, and Japan developed the Pandemap app. Using IBM Watson Studio and IBM Cloud Object Storage, along with a variety of data sources, the Pandemap app can provide individual users with recommended routes of travel that avoid heavily trafficked areas. Administrators get an aggregated view so that they can make predictions and adjustments for their locations.

Plant-It, University of Technology (Jamaica)

Climate change has been the result of many things, including deforestation, plastic pollution, and heavy transportation issues. To fight back against climate change, a team from Jamaica developed the Plant-It app. The app provides a solution to help users grow their own food. Using IBM Cloud Push Notifications, Plant-It’s capabilities range from receiving seedlings to designing a garden space on a smartphone and an auction system to sell food within the local community.

Rechargd, University of Sydney (Australia)

With as much as 70% fewer CO2 emissions than conventional counterparts, the environmental benefit of electric vehicles (EV) is undeniable. Many drivers are interested in owning an EV, but widespread adoption is held back by the dearth of charging stations. As a solution, an Australian team created Rechargd, an EV sharing platform that connects household owners of charging stations to EV drivers wanting to recharge their cars. Using IBM Cloud Foundry and IBM Cloudant, this platform allows owners to monetize their extra time or physical assets while consumers get cheaper and more available services through increased supply.

These top five university finalists have answered the call and demonstrate what can happen when talent and technology connect. Kairos App, Lupe, Pandemap, Plant-It, and Rechargd remain in the running for the University Edition’s grand prize. So, who will win? Tune in to the Awards Celebration on October 13 to find out!