IBM’s 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge takes on COVID-19

As one of its responses to addressing the pandemic that is COVID-19, technology company IBM announced that it is expanding the 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge to address the world’s reaction to COVID-19 in addition to climate change.

A few weeks ago, technology company IBM launched the 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge, which started in 2018. Call for Code has leveraged technology to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges, the first of which is mitigating the effects of natural disasters.

The urgency of COVID-19 prodded authorities to move quickly and efficiently. All types of resources, including technology, are being used to immediately put a stop to the persistent threat of the coronavirus.

Have you read “IBM helps bring supercomputers into the global fight against COVID-19“?

The 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge will equip developers with resources to address three main areas: crisis communication during an emergency, ways to improve remote learning, and how to inspire cooperative local communities.


IBM an accelerated timeline for the COVID-19 Call for Code track. The initial submission deadline is Monday, April 27, and the top three solutions that would be picked will be announced on May 5 at the IBM Think Virtual Conference. The company wants to fast track the execution of the innovations while keeping the track open through July to continually source and showcase more solutions until the announcement of global challenge winners in October.

IBM has already published three COVID-19 starter kits: quick-start guides that explain the individual problems people and communities are facing, to help you start creating applications tied to easy-to-understand use cases in just minutes.

Crisis communication: In times of crisis, communications systems are one of the first systems to become overwhelmed. Chatbots help respond to thousands of messages a day. COVID-19 has prompted many people to seek answers about symptoms and testing sites as well as the current status of schools, transportation, and other public services. Using Watson Assistant, this Call for Code starter kit has designed a virtual assistant pre-loaded to understand and respond to common questions about COVID-19, scan COVID-19 news articles using Watson Discovery, and respond to COVID statistics inquires with data from trusted sources.

Remote education: It is imperative that learning and creating can continue when educational institutions have to shift the way they teach in times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Providing a set of open source tools, backed by IBM Cloud and Watson Services, will enable educators to more easily make content available for their students.

Community cooperation: There is a growing interest in enabling communities to cooperate among themselves to solve problems in times of crisis. In the COVID-19 crisis, we have already seen problems with the local supply of food, equipment, and other supplies. Mobile, web, and cloud services enable rapid deployment of applications that can empower cooperation in the community.

The kits include a description of the starter solution, an architectural diagram, and a tutorial with starter code and reference materials.