The Coding Champions
These four Pace students just won IBM’s Call for Code 2020 challenge. How did they make it big? What does it take to reach the finish line? And how did they manage to coordinate with a 12-hour time difference between them? They’ll tell you!
Four innovative Pace students just won IBM’s prestigious Call for Code 2020 challenge, which unites thousands of developers to create and deploy applications powered by open source technology that can tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. Together, Ajinkya Datalkar ’20 (MS in Computer Science), Manoela Morais ’20 (MS in Financial Risk Management), Chimka Munkhbayar ’20 (MBA in Entrepreneurial Studies), and Helen Tsai ’21 (MS in Computer Science) worked on an app code with more than 3,000 lines including more than 11.252 million lines edited or inserted—quite the feat for only four people! But how did they get started?
“We were all students at Pace when we met,” Morais told us. “[Datalkar] and I had already done other projects together, such as winning the 2019 Pace Pitch Contest.” The two were eager for their next app development challenge, and when speaking to Munkhbayar about joining the group, their project idea was launched. “I was more interested in working in the project that solves the challenges that rural farmers in Mongolia face,” Munkhbayar explained. “We planned to create something for rural household farmers.” The group, which would become known as Agrolly, added on Tsai as their web developer to handle the logistics of the website. “I was so impressed with their work,” she enthused. “When [Datalkar] asked me to join, [...] I jumped into developing.”
Like all new projects, the Call for Code challenge seemed daunting at first. Team Agrolly was tackling a real-world issue, after all, and it was no small feat for a group of only four people, who all had other responsibilities as busy professionals. “Getting inside a competition such as Call for Code is a great push for us to do our best,” Morais said. “We [...] put together a team with different backgrounds and nationalities to fight for a common enemy, which is climate change.”
That wasn’t their only challenge, however. “I am located in Mongolia while [my] other team members are located in New York,” Munkhbayar said. That’s a 12-hour time difference, for anyone who might be wondering—a challenge that Tsai initially shared. “When I joined the group, I was in Taiwan working as an intern,” she told us. “They [would] throw me some information at night, which [was] my morning, and [I’d] work on it during the day and throw it back to them at night.” That’s basically 24 hours of coding! But Tsai insisted that, “Everyone is very supportive,” and Munkhbayar agreed, adding that they overcame the time difference challenge and coordinated well with each other.
When asked about what being named finalists meant to each of them, the consensus was clear: they’re grateful, but they’re also even more committed to furthering their work on this necessary project. “Our team is in an ongoing improvement process,” Tsai said, and Datalkar agreed, adding that, “Currently, we have pilots in Mongolia and we are soon launching in Brazil. I am really looking forward to registering as a company and making this into a global product.” Munkhbayar shared that enthusiasm with her teammates, and told us that, “I personally want to revolutionize the agricultural farming sector in my country and in [the] wider scale of the Asia region.”
Morais explained that team Agrolly has a three-year plan in place, including developments to assist families across the globe. They hope to add new functionalities to their app, and continue to develop it in the years to come. “I think Agrolly has the potential to truly make a difference in people’s lives—including ours,” Morais said.
On Tuesday, October 13, IBM announced the winner of the Call for Code 2020 challenge live—and Agrolly won! They will “receive $200,000, support from IBM Service Corps and technical experts, and ecosystem partners to incubate, test, and deploy their solution,” according to the IBM report. In addition, “Agrolly will also receive assistance from The Linux Foundation to open-source their application so developers across the world can improve and scale the technology.” We’re thrilled by this news, and we look forward to all the incredible innovation these Pace Setters are set to make. Join us in congratulating them!
Interested in being featured? Submit for an interview! We’d love to share your Pace Path story.
- Academic Programs
- Academic Calendar
- Academic Advisement
- Advising Center for Exploring Majors
- Athletics and Recreation
- Career Services
- Center for Community Action and Research (CCAR)
- Class Schedule
- Colleges and Schools
- Computer Labs
- Dining Services (NYC)
- Dining Services (PLV)
- Disabilities and Accommodations
- Extended Hours for Students
- Financial Aid
- Global Pathways
- Health Services
- Housing and Residential Life
- ITS Help Desk
- International Students
- Learning Center
- LGBTQA Center
- New Student IT Resources
- NJ Transit Monthly Pass
- Office of First Year Experience
- Office of Multicultural Affairs, NYC
- Office of Student Assistance (OSA)
- Pace One Card
- PaceAlert System
- Pforzheimer Honors College
- Safety and Security
- Scholarships and Grants
- Sexual Assault Resources
- Student Development and Campus Activities (NYC)
- Student Development and Campus Activities (PLV)
- Student Grievance Procedures
- Student Handbook
- Student Health Insurance
- Student IT Resources
- Student Organizations and Clubs
- Study Abroad
- Summer Session
- Transfer Student Services
- White Pages
- Writing Center
- Student Resources
- Emergency Notifications
- Schedule Explorer
- Textbook Lookup Utility
Rachel Vetterman ’22 transferred to Pace to pursue a combined degree: a BA in Childhood Education and an MSEd in Special Education. She’s passionate about supporting all the students she’s worked with, but it was one moment on the job that really changed her perspective.
The Passionate Educator
Gabriela Wojcik ’21 is a first-gen American who transferred to Pace eager to explore all the opportunities her Communication Studies major offered. She’s the current vice president of Tau Sigma, and she hopes to guide other transfer students, too.
The Vice President
On Tuesday, October 20, Emmy Award-winning actor and political activist Richard Schiff will talk all things politics with Pace President Marvin Krislov. Schiff will also discuss his role in the hit drama series The West Wing, and how life often imitates art.
Talking Points with Richard Schiff