Responsible use of computing in solving global problems

Rashik Parmar, IBM Fellow, Vice President EMEA for IBM Technologies and a jury member for the global Call for Code programmer competition, believes that global challenges need to be addressed at scale through the responsible use of computing (CT).

Rashik has almost 40 years of experience at IBM in technical positions, as well as several years of participation in the Call for Code jury, where he evaluates and selects the best applications from 400,000 contestants.

The theme of the global competition for developers Call for Code 2021, hosted by IBM and a number of like-minded people, is climate change as the main challenge facing our planet today. Representatives UN view climate change as an unprecedented challenge. And if we do not take measures to solve it now, then in the future it will take much more forces and resources to adapt to the changed conditions. For those wishing to develop their professional skills and apply them in their careers, meet innovators from around the world or create their own solution that will help in the fight against climate change, now is the time to take the first step and join to Call for Code.

Responsible use of computing for good is the path to a better future. For everyone who wishes to join the Call for Code movement, the organizers will provide starter kits with access to the right materials to help create solutions to three key challenges in the fight against climate change: clean water and sanitation, hunger eradication, and responsible production and sustainable consumption.

Responsible use of BT

The essence of the approach to the responsible use of computing technologies, supported and developed by the author, is that when you create code today, you need to understand its significance for the future. It is difficult to predict how long the written code will last – perhaps several decades. You should carefully choose the words for your code annotations, and also remember about the energy consumption and the carbon footprint of the code.

Talking to an order of hundreds of technical directors last year led the author to the conclusion that it is not just about ecology and climate change, but also about equality and racial justice. Leaders have a number of concerns that they cannot always articulate in their entirety. Here are some of them. Are we doing enough to reduce the carbon footprint of our technology solutions? Are we good at ensuring that our infrastructure has a minimal impact on the environment? Can you do it more productively? Are we thinking about the efficiency of the code? Is this code not only reliable and secure, but also inclusive and valuable? Do we use citizens’ data ethically? How inclusive are our systems in general? Are they able to support the diversity of the society they serve?


Responsible use of BT is both a way of life and a way of thinking. World technology has absorbed many racial stereotypes. Thinking about discrimination by skin color, I remember such a familiar term as blacklisting. There is a lot to change. Developers should be aware that the code they create will be used by everyone. Of course, the world will not change overnight. Rather, it is like a butterfly effect, whose wing flapping can cause a tornado on the other side of the planet. You just need to believe that small changes have big consequences. Even the smallest efforts of developers today can achieve significant results in the future.


Responsible programming is part of the concept of responsible use of BT. It lies in the awareness of what we are doing. For example, is it possible to measure the carbon footprint of a certain code, and is there a vision of how it all works?

It really is possible, and we have the necessary tools. You can compare the overall efficiency of your code and how quickly it runs. This alone can provide some insight into the carbon footprint. It is also possible to measure the amount of energy consumed by the data center. Cloud providers can accurately state their annual CO2 emissions. They also know what their share of their energy consumption is from renewable sources.

The same applies to the language of communication. There are research tools that can automatically detect bias. With their help, you can check both the code and the documentation for it. For example, on website IBM on ethics in AI, there are many ethics testing tools. IN report IBM Corporate Social Responsibility also contains a number of links to resources to help you improve the resilience of your IT infrastructure and code.

Not a single code

You can influence the situation not only through more efficient code. It is important to think about how to achieve your goals in a broad sense. Let’s say team up with colleagues and partners and together do something important for the world.

As, for example, did the winners of the Call for Code contest last year. People, as a rule, strive to bring goodness to this world, and TheHeroLoop created a special platform that unites like-minded people. It gives people the opportunity to volunteer locally and, say, help a neighbor with food delivery during a pandemic.

Developers Prometeo came up with an unusual way to protect firefighters. Their Internet of Things (IoT) solution uses simple and affordable technologies to provide guidance and advice to firefighters – thereby increasing the chances of survival in hazardous situations.

And the main thing is that all this code is open source. The same idea about the butterfly effect works here. If you publish open source, then any developers can use it. Each of them will add something new, and in the end we will find ourselves working together to solve important social problems.

Join the movement

Want to become a Call for Code member? Do it today

Link to original material in English

Rashik Parmar, IBM Fellow, Vice President EMEA for IBM Technologies and Jury Member of the Global Call for Code Programming Competition

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