Call for Code Global Challenge overview

Everything you need to know about the Global Challenge, from the theme to the timeline to submission information, and more.

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What is the Call for Code Global Challenge?

In the Call for Code Global Challenge, you can join the fight against climate change by building and deploying open source solutions in the cloud. By participating, you’ll build critical skills for yourself and your teams and deploy solutions to help communities across the globe.

Built on open source principles, the Call for Code Global Challenge asks developers and problem solvers to form teams and develop solutions that address specific problems in unique, clearly demonstrable ways. The most successful solutions are those scoped to have the greatest community impact with the smallest technological footprint. Last year’s winner Agrolly is a perfect example, with its mobile application to help small farmers better understand what to plant, based on weather patterns and crop characteristics.


Global Challenge

All winners will receive an invitation to the Call for Code Global Award Announcement and support from the Linux Foundation.

See the 2020 Global Challenge winners

Grand prize winner – $200,000 USD

Dispersed equally across the team and solution deployment support

Runners up

First and second – $25,000 USD
Third and fourth – $10,000 USD

University Challenge

Grand prize – $10,000 USD

Each student team member will receive the opportunity to interview for a potential role at IBM.

Runners up

Each student team member will receive the opportunity to interview for a potential role at IBM.

Regional prizes

Grand prize – $5,000 USD

Dispersed equally across the team

Call for Code Global Challenge timeline


Submissions will be judged equally across four primary criteria, which evaluate whether the solution solves a real-world problem and uses technology effectively.

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?


  1. Submissions –
    Must use one or more IBM Cloud services or IBM Systems. Use of sponsor or affiliate APIs and open source libraries is also encouraged.
  2. Team size –
    Teams of up to five (5) participants, each at least 18 years old, are allowed.
  3. Joining teams –
    A participant may not be part of multiple teams.
  4. University students –
    Teams competing for the University Challenge must ensure that all team members are enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education.
  5. Participation agreement –
    All team members must have accepted the 2021 Participation Agreement at the time they submit their solution to be eligible.(You accept the Participation Agreement when you register for the Global Challenge.)
  6. Application –
    Must be new and built for the 2021 competition, but they may use code that was open sourced and publicly available to all other participants as of March 22, 2021.
  7. Winners –
    Winning teams will be subject to a code review after submissions close.