Developer Challenge

The 2018 Call for Code challenge has ended.

Learn more about the Global Prize winner Project OWL.

The competition platform is powered by AngelHack, a Call for Code Program Supporter. Personal data is handled by AngelHack for the purpose of managing participation in the Call for Code Challenge.
For 2018, the Call for Code Global Challenge asks developers to create solutions that significantly improve preparedness for natural disasters and relief when they hit in order to safeguard the health and well-being of communities.
One team will win the first annual Call for Code Global Prize, supported by the United Nations Human Rights Office and the American Red Cross’ International team.
The winner and runners up will also earn several other awards that foster adoption of their application as an open source project (through the The Linux Foundation), scale its impact, and accelerate deployment in areas of greatest need (through the IBM Corporate Service Corps). The grand prize winner will also have an opportunity to meet with New Enterprise Associates to discuss potential funding for the idea.
Winners will be announced at the Call for Code Global Prize Celebration, which benefits UN Human Rights and the American Red Cross, was held on October 29th at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco.


$200,000 USD cash prize


Invitation to the Call for Code Global Award Announcement


Open source project support from The Linux Foundation


Opportunity for mentorship and investment in the solution


Solution implementation support through Code and Response™




$25,000 USD cash prize for each team


Invitation to the Call for Code Global Award Announcement


Open source project support from The Linux Foundation



$10,000 USD cash prize for each team


Open source project support from The Linux Foundation


Challenge scope

Create an application that improves individual health and community wellbeing through better natural disaster preparedness, accelerated response, and/or a greater capacity to recover.

Call for Code Charitable Partners have identified priorities and goals for reducing the impact on human life resulting from natural disasters. The following strategies, frameworks, and expert videos highlight the areas where improvements should be made and can be accelerated by technology. This scope includes reducing vulnerability by preparing populations for disaster risk over the long run, forecasting impending threats to improve precautionary measures in the short term, responding to medical needs during the disaster, and improving the overall resiliency of communities to rebuild health services in the wake of major disruptions. The team that wins the 2019 Call for Code Global Award will have built a creative application that can be deployed effectively and easily around the world. Some potential solutions include, but are not limited to:
  • Alerting pharmacies to increase their stocks of antibiotics, insulin, bottled water, and vaccines based on predicted weather-related disruptions.
  • Employing analytics to predict the impact of disasters and educate communities on how to prepare for impending threats.
  • Using visual recognition to assess the impact of a disaster and accelerate response, reducing time to build back better.
  • Improving the efficiency, accountability, and resiliency of supply chains through blockchain technology.
  • Identifying and aiding people with reduced or restricted mobility who require special assistance (disabled, hospitalized, elderly, confined).



Bill Clinton

Founder, Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States

Kate Gilmore

United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights

Irwin Redlener

MD, Director of National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP) at the Earth Institute of Columbia University.

Deborah Dugan

Chief Executive Officer, (RED)

Grace Kim

Design and Research Lead at Twitter

Jim Zemlin

Executive Director, The Linux Foundation


  • May 24, 2018 Pre-Registration opens using the contest platform powered by AngelHack. You’re welcome to begin getting comfortable with the selected technology – see below for more information.
  • May through September Satellite events will run around the world to echo and amplify the Call for Code Global Challenge. These events may have self-contained competitions, possibly focused on one of the 6 technology areas below, and developers who participate are encouraged to join the Call for Code Global Challenge.
  • June 18 Coding begins. After agreeing to the Participation Agreement and registering you’ll be invited into our Slack group to begin forming teams and learning more about the event. You’ll also be able to create an IBM Cloud and IBM Coder account. IBM developer advocates are online in both the Slack and IBM Coder communities to answer any questions you may have.
  • September 28 All submissions must be submitted by September 28, 2018 at 11:59 PM PT.
  • October 17 Semi-finalists will be judged by leaders from IBM, AngelHack, DCC, the United Nations Human Rights Office, the American Red Cross, and other Affiliates.
  • October 24 Finalists will be judged by the jury of eminent technologists. This will determine the 5 overall winning teams of the competition.
  • October 29 The Call for Code Global Prize winner will be announced at a celebration and benefit concert.


IBM is making its cloud, data science, artificial intelligence, and transactional technology available to participants. Individuals or teams are encouraged to start from a library of IBM Code Patterns – open source roadmaps for solving complex programming challenges – that demonstrate how to use Weather Company, Watson AI, and Blockchain services on the IBM Cloud to build cognitive, social, and analytics applications. You can use IBM Code Patterns for inspiration to kickstart your solutions or build your idea upon other services provided by the IBM Cloud (many based on open source technologies). There are IBM Code Patterns for each of six suggested technical solution areas to explore when building your submission for the 2018 Call for Code Challenge. Your submission does not have to fit into one of these areas, but they can inspire what you build and map your solution to the areas where technology can make the greatest impact: Bringing together infrastructure and platform services, IBM Cloud is home to 130+ unique services with millions of running applications. Including offerings like IBM Watson, VMWare servers, and Weather Company data and platforms built on Kubernetes, Apache OpenWhisk, Cloud Foundry, and more. To be eligible for the Call for Code Global Award, developers must use IBM Cloud technology in their solutions.


  • Submissions must be deployed and run on the IBM Cloud.
  • Submissions must use IBM Cloud services. Use of sponsor or affiliate APIs and open source technology is also encouraged.
  • Teams of up to 5 participants, each at least 18 years old, are allowed.
  • All team members must have completed the Participation Agreement to compete.
  • A participant may not be part of multiple teams.
  • Winning teams will be subject to a code-review after submissions close on September 28.
  • Overall rights of first refusal to invest in projects are outlined in the Participant Agreement.


Submissions will be judged across 4 areas. Each area is worth 5 points (20 points maximum).
  • Completeness and transferability How fully has the idea been implemented? Can it achieve an impact in the field? Can it be transferred elsewhere?
  • Effectiveness and efficiency Does the solution address a high priority area? Does it achieve its goal effectively and efficiently? Can it scale?
  • Design and usability How good is the design, user experience, and ease of use of the solution? How quickly can it be put to use?
  • Creativity and innovation How unique was the approach to solving a long-standing or previously intractable problem?