AUSTIN — Calling all Austin techies! IBM is looking for developers to create apps to help before, during or after a natural disaster.
It's part of their global project "Call for Code".
The company kicked off the Austin effort that will encourage developers to use tools like artificial intelligence, cloud and data to create something that will help either prepare, prevent or recover from a natural disaster.
“When you bring that diversity together, the different ideas that come together out of that, the sharing of that, you can come up with some pretty wild solutions, and I expect what we’re going to see are some pretty cutting-edge things that can really help the lives of those that are in need, and so that’s why it’s so important here to come out and be involved and participate,” said Todd Moore, the IBM vice president of open technology.
Moore said they're holding similar events across the world to try to recruit millions of developers into the project, but he said Austin is a great place to find developers willing to help.
“Austin is a natural place to have this happen, hundreds of thousands of developers in the area. I travel the world, I work with development communities around the world, we have a great one here, and getting those developers energized around Call for Code is what we really want to see happen here. I think Austin has a lot to give,” said Moore.
For Moore, it’s personal. Hurricane Sandy hit his home a few years ago.
“I ended up with a swath of material outside our place that was 50 feet long, four feet high, and four feet wide, and I watched the tremendous damage that went with that,” said Moore. “It changes you, and you want to get involved, you want to find things and ways that you can help. For me, this is a very personal one. I find that helping out, bringing the people into this makes me feel good as well too, and I think we can all feel for those that are in need and have to go through this. You don’t have to live through it to really understand that this a terrible thing and it’s disrupting lives.”
"It feels great to be a part of something that, down the road, could have a really big impact," said Derek Teay, the developer advocate for IBM. "If we ever could just help one person, you know, to us that's a big deal, to be able to just help one person, but we'd ideally love to help as many as we can, and do whatever we can when it comes to disaster recovery and mitigation.”
He said they hope to get millions of people involved from all over the world.
“We want to get everyone involved that we can, external IBM as well, because we have a large amount of developers worldwide that can help and, you know, put something together that could help the world tremendously, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Teay. “I think it’s important to engage as many resources as we can, just so that we can collaborate with everyone possible, to generate some really good ideas to help prevent and mitigate natural disasters.”
As part of the Call for Code initiative, IBM plans to invest $30 million over the next five years.
You can find more information here.