This week’s CodeTheCurve hackathon saw more than 165 young innovators from 26 countries tirelessly hack their way through the intense competition finals in search of winning solutions to counter the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. After seven days of perseverance, devotion, expert mentorship and judging, the global initiative’s winning teams and overall Master winner have been successfully identified.

Launched earlier this year, CodeTheCurve was developed by IBM, SAP and UNESCO to encourage youth to use digital innovation to address COVID-19 and beyond. The intense hackathon saw this week’s finals come to a close as nine finalists from 40 qualifying teams battled it out for the grand titles.

The final jury consisted of representatives from the organizers, experts from various fields and supporting partners from the ITU and FOSSASIA, and after a rigorous and stringent selection process, the jury selected the following winners:

Category 1 for ‘Ensuring Continued Learning’: VRoam (Canada)

Centered around the lack of social interaction and motivation to exercise during the COVID-19 lockdown, this project combines Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence and 3D spatial information to navigate and explore the world and cultural sites while exercising. The project offers a combination of technology, e-learning, and exercise while the world adheres to social distancing.

Category 2 for ‘Information and Data Management’: CovidImpact (Canada, Mexico and Bangladesh)

This open source project was developed in response to the pandemic’s impact on small businesses, a vulnerable population that was left with questions such as “how am I going to pay my rent?” and “how can I recoup from the loss?”. CovidImpact offers small business leaders with a care package featuring a curated list of programs and relevant, real-time news that’s combined together with a simulation tool that assess the economic impact of the pandemic. CovidImpact is currently focused on small businesses in Canada and has plans to roll out its solution across the United States.

Category 3 for ‘Social and Health Issues’ and overall CodeTheCurve Master Winner: X-COV (Spain)

This project is directed at doctors who are tasked with analyzing a large amount of medical data, such as chest X-rays, to understand the severity of COVID-19 in patients. X-COV created a data model using Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and visual imaging technology to analyze chest X-Rays using freely available data and tools to build an online tool to help physicians make faster, more objective decisions, thus contributing to the relief of the healthcare system.

Commenting on the creativity and success of the winning solutions, Moez Chackchouk, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information at UNESCO said: “In these difficult times and despite our challenging circumstances, it is heart-warming to see such genuine engagement and contributions making positive impact in our societies. This is where digital literacy can be optimized at its best. On behalf of UNESCO, IBM, SAP and all organizing partners, I would like to congratulate the winning projects and the CodeTheCurve Master winner, the finalists and all the participants. We were extremely impressed with the quality and rich diversity of the projects, as well as the enthusiasm and passion from each team.”

 A Rich Digital Journey

Out of 199 applications, the CodeTheCurve journey for the 40 selected teams started on 21 April, when 22 trainers from UNESCO, IBM, SAP, the Internet Society (ISOC), Queen City Fintech, and Microsoft delivered an intense 20+ hours of training. The real “hackathon” then started on 24 April. Teams comprised of 101 participants under 25 years of age and were supported along their journey by a crew of 115 skilled volunteers acting as mentors on technical, business and gender-equality topics.

“We cannot address these global challenges alone,” says Alexandra van der Ploeg, Head of Global Corporate Social Responsibility at SAP. “In true SAP spirit of improving peoples’ lives and making the world run better, it is great to see how SAP, IBM, UNESCO and partners have come together to use the power of collaboration to solve social issues and trigger systemic change through innovation. In times of crises, humanity avails itself with empathy and care, and this extends to creativity and innovation. Young people are not just the future, but the changemakers of today!”

 Innovative, Career-Building Prizes

All 34 teams that submitted their hackathon artefacts will receive a CodeTheCurve e-Certificate of Participation from UNESCO, IBM, and SAP. They will also be invited to an exclusive series of CodeTheCurve e-learning opportunities to further their professional development, coding, and entrepreneurship skills.

On behalf of IBM Z awards, the three winning teams will receive one-year access to IBM LinuxONE Community Cloud and one year of quarterly mentorship calls with IBM experts to further their creative ideas. Winners will also be invited to two virtual events, allowing them to showcase their solutions and their journey to employees and IBM’s network of global collaborators. In addition, the first place ‘Information and Data’ category will also receive six months access to IBM Z, an enterprise-grade suite of machine learning and complex data processing solutions.

SAP will reward the winners with a six-month mentorship from a team of global experts and guided support on the ‘OpenSAP’ learning platform. And in 2021, pending economic and international travel conditions, the Master CodeTheCurve winner will be able to complete an internship at SAP Labs Ireland.

Melissa Sassi, Chief Penguin and IBM Z Global Student Hub & IBM Hyper Protect Accelerator adds, “Technology has empowered our CodeTheCurve participants, mentors, and judges from around the world to spend a week of online ideating, innovating, collaborating, and building technical solutions to fight back against COVID-19. Solutions included chat bots, data models, websites, mobile applications, blockchain solutions, and so much more. I saw entrepreneurial spirit, professional skills development, and an overall zest to create tech for good solutions based on their training modules. During the storm of life these days, I was able to step away from the world and focus on what’s important: digital skill-building, empowering early-stage entrepreneurs, and inspiring youth to achieve their dreams.”

For further information about the CodeTheCurve hackathon visit www.codethecurve.org.




About CodeTheCurve

  • CodeTheCurve is powered by UNESCO, IBM Z and SAP with the support of UN EQUALS, TruChallenge, AngelHack, iHackOnline, Internet Society, Global Accelerator Network, People Centered Internet, FOSSASIA, Global Accelerator Network, Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, REDDS Capital, Village Capital, YPO, and Queen City Fintech.
  • The two-week hackathon called for young developers and innovators from all over the world to use their digital skills to develop solutions to counter the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Courses included three categories: professional development, entrepreneurship, and hands-on tech skills. Learning sessions included building cross-functional teams, storytelling, personal branding, data science and machine learning, media and information literacy (MIL), ethics of artificial intelligence, system architecture diagrams and tech roadmaps, and data protection, privacy, and security.