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Project OWL Wins Inaugural Call for Code Challenge

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Project OWL, an IoT and software solution that keeps first responders and victims connected in a natural disaster, has won the 2018 Call for Code Global Challenge.

The Call for Code Global Initiative–a five-year $30 million initiative with support from The Linux Foundation, VC Partner New Enterprise Associates (NEA), and over 80 additional business, humanitarian, and academic institutions–asks developers and data scientists to create scalable technical solutions to some of the most challenging issues facing the world today. The inaugural Call for Code Challenge theme for 2018 was Natural Disaster Preparedness and Relief.

Project OWL, which stands for “Organization, Whereabouts, and Logistics,” is a two-part hardware/software solution. It provides an offline communication infrastructure that gives first responders a simple interface for managing all aspects of a disaster. The physical “clusterduck” network is made of hubs that create a mesh network that can send speech-based communications using conversational systems to a central application.

This application, the OWL software incident management system, uses predictive analytics and multiple data sources to build a dashboard for first responders. The team takes home the USD$200,000 grand prize and the opportunity to deploy the solution through the IBM Corporate Service Corps, among other benefits.

Seeing the damage caused by the 2015 Nepal earthquake, second-place team Post-Disaster Rapid Response Retrofit (PD3R) from Kathmandu and Bogotá, Colombia created a solution to provide displaced families with immediate access to engineering advice following a natural disaster. Their solution is based on AI taught by 3D model images.

San Francisco Bay Area team Lali Wildfire Detection created a solution to predict the spread of wildfires in real-time with the use of sensor networks. Inspired by a teammate’s first-hand experience growing up surrounded by fires in Ecuador, Project Lali took third place.

PD3R and Project Lali were each awarded USD $25,000. All three winning solutions will also receive long-term open source support from The Linux Foundation.

Over 100,000 developers and data scientists from 156 nations participated in the Call for Code Challenge, creating more than 2,500 applications.

The Challenge’s eminent judges include former President Bill Clinton; Jim Zemlin, Executive Director, The Linux Foundation; Kate Gilmore, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights; Dr. Irwin Redlener, Director of National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Earth Institute of Columbia University; Deborah Dugan, Chief Executive Officer, (RED); and Grace Kim, Design and Research Lead at Twitter.

A summary of the top five finalist solutions can be read here.

For more information about Call for Code, visit their website.

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