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Experience with Call for Code Hackathon

Author, Guest Blogger Anmol Handa
Research Scholar,

Call for Code Hackathon, Syracuse Chapter took place September 14th-15th at Syracuse University, organized by IBM and Blackstone Launchpad.


The Call for Code initiative is a global developer challenge to help save lives by hosting more than 300 events across the globe, picking winners at each event to further build the amazing ideas. The developers are free to use Blockchain, Visual Recognition, Orchestration tools and Watson built on IBM Cloud to craft solutions for disaster preparedness and relief. The project with the greatest potential will be implemented with the assistance of IBM, Linux Foundation, UN Human Rights and American Red Cross. Call for Code aims to improve the life of individuals and communities affected by natural disasters by understanding the gaps in technology and working on  solutions in those areas.

I along with 4 of my team members participated in the Call for Code hackathon, competing against 12 teams at Syracuse University. Our idea, with a working prototype, was picked as the winner. Our aim was to help execute a smart disaster relief campaign in a transparent and efficient way with “Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)”. We were motivated by a few articles published by the UN and American Red Cross representing the scams and inefficiencies in the current system. We observed that current campaigns are not quick and often times, the supplies of food, first aid and shelter were mismatched with the amount of supplies needed for the campaign. Our solution was to design a decentralized platform enabled by Hyperledger Composer to bring all non-profit and for-profit organizations on a single channel to contribute towards the cause in a smarter, more effective way. We found programmable smart contracts to be the best way to define boundaries and specifications of the system to notify organizations about donations for different relief campaigns across the US. The future scope of the project will focus on including machine learning algorithms enabled through IBM Cloud and weather data to understand the pattern occurrence of natural calamities, especially hurricanes and volcanic eruptions. These patterns could help us trigger the smart relief campaigns in advance, requesting all organizations on the platform to donate as per the requirements before a natural disaster occurs.

The courses at iSchool, SU like Blockchain Management, Cloud Management, and Big Data Analytics were helpful in implementing the idea and made us confident about our strategy. inspired me to push myself for the common good, since I have been doing the same as a Research Scholar building the 31st Human Right. has been actively involved in bridging the gap between humans and their data, bringing human rights into the digital age.

Our team has the opportunity to refine our codebase and provide a final submission and a three-minute pitch video to IBM. Submissions across the globe will be reviewed by judges at IBM and the global winners will be announced in late October. We plan to #pull this idea further, #commit to the cause, and #push for the change.

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