Thousands will tackle space travel and other challenges on IBM's cloud infrastructure this weekend. IBM and NASA have partnered on a global code-a-thon, challenging participants to develop solutions that will bolster space exploration missions and even improve life on Earth.
Over three days, 10,000 people worldwide and countless more online will attempt to solve 35 different challenges, with IBM providing free access to its cloud development platform Bluemix. NASA will provide more than 200 data sources – data sets, services and tools generated from real-life NASA missions and technology.
IBM has bolstered Bluemix, its Platform-as-a-Service offering, since it entered general availability last year with a variety of app-building supporting tools ranging from Watson analytics to Internet of Things management capabilities. Problem-tacklers will have it all in their arsenal, with Bluemix also providing a platform for collaboration among them.
The mission is to develop mobile apps, software, hardware, data visualization and platform solutions that address different outlined challenges. Some examples in the code-a-thon include:
- Asteroid tracking: participants will leverage data aggregators and analytics to help NASA track asteroids.
- Robots: participants will put together a stream of sensor data to guide movement for robots.
- Improving crops: one challenge will focus on developing mobile/web apps to help growers create more creative methods of growing crops.
IBM has supported similar code-a-thons with enterprises like Citigroup and educational institutions such as Howard University. These programs encourage people to use Bluemix and hopefully provide hard examples of new types of smart applications.
IBM has also opened up several Bluemix garages and partnered with New York City on an online platform for local startups.
The NASA International Space Apps Challenge provides real-world examples of how technology can be used to solve some of the most daunting challenges facing our civilization, said Sandy Carter, general manager of cloud ecosystems and developers for IBM, in a press release.
IBM will also provide online tutorials to showcase best practices, and will offer dedicated virtual support with access to its experts to help guide the development process. They will also work side-by-side with onsite contestants at various locations around the world, including New York, Austin, Boston and more.