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University of Sydney students in global finals of Call for Code 2021
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Students reach global IBM Call for Code finals with ethical purchasing and food waste solutions

26 November 2021
Two University of Sydney teams in top 5 of global tech competition
Undergraduate students from the University of Sydney’s Business, Engineering, Law, Arts and Science faculties were among the finalists in a major global competition calling for technology solutions to tackle the world’s toughest problems.

The IBM Call for Code competition brings together innovators, problem solvers, and developers to create solutions built on open-source technology. This year's competition attracted over 500,000 entries from around the world.

Honestly and Plenti, two of the five global finalists in this year's Global category, were from the University of Sydney and a third entry from the University, FarmAid, was a finalist in the University category.

Both Honestly and Plenti received a prize of $US10,000 after placing 3rd runner up and 4th runner up respectively.  

"Call for Code isn't just for coders," said Dr Sandra Alday, Director of the Business School's Dalyell Program, for high-achieving students across the University, who coordinated the University’s Call for Code entries.

"Our entries show the value in bringing together students from a range of disciplines and different ways of thinking to develop workable solutions.

"Even more remarkable is that two of our finalists were up for the competition's major prize, which has open entry. This has seen them compete against professional developers from around the world with years of experience."

Alison Haire, Developer Advocate at IBM, was impressed by the calibre of talent from the University of Sydney teams and by their passion to make a real difference and build tech innovation that matters.

"Collaborating with Sandra and the Dalyell Students has been a highlight of the Call For Code Challenge for me, as has following their amazing journeys, and I'm looking forward to meeting next year's change-makers and hearing their ideas for the future," says Alison.

The University of Sydney also received the 2021 Call for Code University Engagement Award, which recognises organisations that have exhibited a deep commitment to Call for Code.

Global finalists

Honestly

Honestly is a solution to promote responsible production and consumption. It’s a browser extension that functions as a shopping assistant, providing information on the ethical practices that have gone into the goods and services that online shoppers intend to purchase.

The team included University of Sydney students Liam Mills (Commerce and Engineering Honours, Dalyell Scholar), Harrison Adkin (Commerce and Engineering Honours, Dalyell Scholar) and Bangshuo Zhu (Arts and Engineering Honours), as well as University of Technology Sydney students Lachlan Masters and Nick Wright.

"The information surrounding how sustainably and how ethically these products were sourced was important, something consumers would care about," said co-founder Harrison Adkin.

Plenti

Plenti is a solution to help reduce household food waste. The app brings up an inventory list of what's in a consumer's fridge, using a traffic light system to indicate when each item is due to expire or go off. Food inventory can be entered manually into a phone or via a receipt scanner.

The team included University of Sydney students Vivian Yu (Commerce and Advanced Studies), Christina Liu (Commerce and Advanced Studies), James Macintyre (Commerce and Advanced Studies), David Young (Science and Engineering Honours, Dalyell Scholar), and University of New South Wales student Apurva Shukla.

"One third of the world's food is wasted and in Australia most of it is driven by consumer households," said co-founder Vivian Yu.

University challenge finalist

FarmAid

FarmAid is a solution to help smallholder farmers cope with extreme weather events and crop disease. It gives farmers access to real-time weather events and helps them identify crop diseases through photo-based crop analysis. FarmAid links farmers to local experts and offers production cycle recommendations.

Co-founders Joshua Suntup (Commerce and Laws, Dalyell Scholar) and Muna Aden (Commerce, Dalyell Scholar) spoke with coffee farmers in Rwanda while developing their solution, gaining first-hand understanding of how technology could help them improve crop yields.

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