RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – IBM is calling on the global public and private sectors, including the United Nations and the Linux Foundation, to unite in finding ways of using advanced technology as a means of combating natural disasters as well as humanitarian issues.

Ginni Rometty, the chair and CEO of IBM, pledged $30 million over five years to support the effort through the Call for Code Global Initiative, which includes companies from startups to large as well as academic institutions. She announced the commitment at a technology conference in Paris the day after she disclosed IBM would be adding some 1,800 jobs in France that will focus on advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and Internet of Things.

Since the initiative announcement was global in nature, no specific applications or efforts were disclosed that would impact IBM operations in RTP, a company spokesperson said. The Triangle campus is a site where IBM does conduct considerable Artificial Intelligence work through its Watson program.

“At IBM, we harness the power of technologies like AI, blockchain, IoT and cloud to address some of the biggest opportunities and challenges in business,” said Bob Lord, IBM chief digital officer, in the Call for Code announcement. “Now, with Call for Code, we are calling on all developers to join us and use these same leading edge technologies to help people, their communities and society.”

The effort also includes a call for coders to contribute to the project.

Call for coders

How to Join the Call for Code

  • Developers can register today at
  • Projects can be submitted by individuals – or teams of up to five people – between June 18, 2018 and August 31, 2018.
  • 30 semi-finalists will be selected in September. A prominent jury, including some of the most iconic technologists in the world, will choose the winning solution from three finalists.
  • The winner will be announced in October 2018 during a live-streamed concert and award event coordinated by David Clark Cause.

‘Human rights-based approach’

IBM says it is joining the UN and the relief organization David Clark Cause in seeking what the tech giant calls a “human rights-based approach to humanitarian action.”

The organizations and the American Red Cross also are seeking new ways to utilizing technology in bringing relief to people hit by natural disasters.

“Technology can be a powerful force to advance human rights and build more equitable societies. Call for Code is an excellent opportunity to explore how technology can play a role in addressing the needs of the most vulnerable populations and those who are at risk of having their human rights violated in the context of a humanitarian crisis,” said Laurent Sauveur, head of external relations of the United Nations Human Rights Office.

IBM said its $30 million commitment would include software tool development, additional technology research, and code training that would be free of charge. It will work with the Clark organization to put on educational events and hackathons in some 50 cities worldwide.

The company also said it would continue to support code development through the Linux Foundation.

“Winning submissions need a strong ecosystem to ensure that they will flourish and continue to be deployed across the globe long after the competition ends. That’s where The Linux Foundation is proud to step in and help equip open-source projects with the tools they need to accelerate adoption,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation.

Learn more about the IBM Call for Code effort online.

IBM operates one of its largest campuses in RTP and employs several thousand people across North Carolina.