COMMITMENT TO ACTION

Students Code for Disaster Preparedness & Response

Commitment by IBM

In 2019, IBM in partnership with Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU), committed to engage university students to develop solutions for disaster response and resilience challenges around the world. In 2018, natural disasters resulted in an estimated $155 billion in economic loss, impacting people around the globe. However, technology can help communities prepare and recover. In partnership with ten universities across the United States, IBM will host both in-person and virtual codeathons specifically addressing technology needs around natural disaster preparedness and response. IBM aims to engage more than 5,000 students globally by the end of 2019. Students will harness modern, emerging, and open source technologies and IBM technical experts will engage students to bring their ideas to life and support submissions for coding challenges. Students from the winning team will also have the opportunity to participate in CGIU’s annual meeting to highlight their work and raise the profile of effective natural disaster response and resilience efforts.



Overview
Summary

Commitment

Students Code for Disaster Preparedness & Response

Launched

2019

Est. Duration

1 Year

Estimated Total Value

$1,000,000

Region

Northern America

Countries

United States

Commitment by

IBM

Partner(s) of the Commitment Maker(s)

CGI University
Details

IBM in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) commits to inspiring university students to harness modern, emerging and open source technologies to develop solutions for disaster response and resilience challenges.

Together, IBM and CGIU will host codeathons at ten schools across the United States, as well as a virtual codeathons, with a goal of ultimately engaging more than 5,000 university students globally by the end of 2019. The codeathons will specifically address technology needs around natural disaster preparedness and response. IBM and partners will invite local natural disaster subject matter experts to the codeathons to share their unique insight into how technology can solve challenges faced by first responders, community leaders and others. IBM technical experts will be on site to help facilitate the codeathons and will continue to engage with students post-event. IBM will also prepare technical and non-technical content resources that will be available to students online. Students can also participate in ongoing challenges in the IBM Coder Community, and will have ongoing mentorship and support through a dedicated Slack channel.

As part of the commitment, IBM will also offer the opportunity for students to submit their projects into coding challenges. IBM will mentor students on best practices for developing modern cloud, data, and AI-driven software in a collaborative fashion. Students will learn how to document and create pitch videos to highlight their submission value and impact. A winning project will receive support from the IBM Corporate Services Corp., putting the solution into action where it is most needed. Additionally, students from the winning codeathon team will participate in CGIU’s annual meeting where students, university representatives, and topic experts come together to discuss and develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges.

Through this commitment, students will not only learn new skills and technologies that will ultimately lead to increased opportunities upon graduation, but also create natural disaster preparedness and response solutions.

Q1 2019: IBM and CGIU will start by identifying the targeted ten universities to engage. The team will schedule and conduct the codeathons before the end of Q2 2019.

Q2 2019: Outreach and engagement with universities and students continue. By the end of this quarter, ten in person codeathons, one virtual codeathon will have been conducted, and 5,000 students will be reached. IBM technical experts will provide ongoing support to students as they bring their ideas to life. Students will begin to submit for coding challenges.

Q3 2019: Students will complete their submissions for coding challenges. Throughout the competition period, IBM will mentor students on how to refine their submissions including best practices for developing modern cloud, data, and AI-driven software in a collaborative fashion. Students will also learn how to document and create pitch videos to highlight their submission value and impact on natural disasters. Throughout 3Q and through the end of 4Q, students will have access to additional technical skill building challenges, through the IBM Coder Community.

Q4 2019: A winning project will be highlighted at CGIU 2019. IBM will help build an open source ecosystem around the student-initiated winning solutions - and those promising solutions that did not win - by consulting on the best practices for developing software through a highly globally distributed community. Students will be able to continue building on their technical skills, through challenges in the IBM Coder Community.

Background

Natural disasters are increasing at an alarming rate. Each year, they kill 90,000 people and affect close to 160 million people worldwide (World Health Organization). In 2018 alone, natural disasters resulted in an estimated $155 billion in economic loss, impacting people around the globe, including an earthquake and tsunami that devastated Indonesia and a series of massive wildfires that burned large portions of California (Swiss Re).

Aggravated by climate change, natural disasters may be even more intense and frequent in the years to come. A major climate report issued in 2018 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, describes a world at risk of devastating effects on the economy, health and environment as soon as 2040 due to extreme weather, rising sea levels, wildfires and more.

The good news is technology can help communities prepare for and develop strategies to recover from natural disasters. From aerial robotics to big data analytics to artificial intelligence, technology presents the opportunity to expedite and improve humanitarian relief efforts through greater efficiency and responsiveness.

Tackling a challenge this large requires as many individuals as possible to be equipped with the technical know-how to collaborate and build solutions. Yet, the changing technological landscape is a factor driving a skills shortage, which at the current pace could result in more than five million jobs unfilled by 2020, costing the economy about $160 billion a year. Only 36% of high school students are ready for college-level science, and minority and female participation in STEM at the collegiate level is woefully under-represented (Smithsonian Science Education Center).

A key way businesses can address the STEM skills gap is by assisting universities with curriculum development, mentoring, offering apprenticeship opportunities and providing hands-on opportunities for students (Business Roundtable). Public-private partnerships have also proven to bolster STEM education and aid in the recruitment and retention of young people in the field.

Partnership Opportunities

IBM is seeking commitment and support from universities, as well as organizations and individual natural disaster subject matter experts who can provide a unique insight into how technology can solve challenges faced by first responders, community leaders and others in preparation and response to a natural disaster. IBM is offering to partner with universities, providing an opportunity to both the university and students. IBM will provide access to technology on IBM Cloud for students to build their life changing solutions. Additionally, universities and educational organizations can also take advantage of a packaged offering to host their own codeathon.

Progress Reports