CGI U and IBM issue coding challenge to students

In January 2019, at the third Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery in Puerto Rico, President Bill Clinton and IBM senior vice president for cognitive solutions and developer ecosystem, Bob Lord, announced a new Commitment to Action between Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) and IBM to engage 10,000 college students in harnessing data and developing cutting-edge technologies to address some of the world’s most pressing issues, including human devastation caused by natural disasters.

This commitment, part of IBM Code and Response, began this year with IBM and CGI U activating college students from around the world in creating tech-driven social impact solutions. Together, IBM and CGI U are hosting 10 Code and Response Codeathons — two have been completed to date — on college campuses and virtually this year where participants have the chance to win monetary prizes, have access to IBM software and disaster relief experts, and are able to work in interdisciplinary student teams to develop impact-driven ideas. In addition, one student from each winning team will have the chance to participate in the next CGI U program, including paid travel and lodging to the CGI U 2020 meeting.

In a conversation (video below) with Bob Lord, Clinton Foundation vice chair Chelsea Clinton said that “Our goal is to maximize the possibilities of what every student and every group can do, so they can change as many lives as possible.”

And creating innovative solutions that can change lives is what they’re doing. At the first Code and Response Codeathon at the University of California, Berkeley in April, the winning team, AsTer, comprised of students Thomas Galeon, Pierre-Louis Missler, and Meryll Dindin, focused on building a disaster management platform that dispatches the right resources at the right time based on the input of the people in the field. This required building a resource dispatcher using AI analyzed emergency calls during a natural disaster.

As one student attendee mentioned, “This was the best hackathon I have ever been to because of the mentors. There has not been such personalized mentoring available at the other events I have participated in.”

At the second Code and Response Codeathon in May at the University of California, San Diego, the Emergency Response Cloud team of students Xiang Kan, Jose Hugo Magana, Futian Zhang, Zhichao Liu, and CGI U alums Li Yen Tan and Shannell Ciruso, created a cloud-based emergency responding system that consists of three parts:

· A user interface that collects data from people needing help after disaster.

· A database that stores all the data and analyzes them.

· A response interface that helps the rescue team to get data from the database and lead them.

The next Code and Response Codeathon will take place at Miami Dade College from June 28–29 — current college students can register for this event. Simultaneously, IBM and CGI U will be organizing a virtual Codeathon where students from all around the world can tune-in to special speaker presentations and create their own solutions by leveraging technological resources. You can register for the virtual Codeathon here.

Future Code and Response Codeathons will take place throughout the year at Arizona State University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with more to be announced. To learn more about IBM’s Commitment to Action, click here.

CGI U is a growing network of young leaders who are developing innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

CGI U is a growing network of young leaders who are developing innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.