Sometimes Dragons

AI & Sustainability: the Build for Better Code Challenge

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The text "BUILD FOR BETTER" stylized as code in front of a tree-filled, mountainous landscape

In case you missed it, Cisco DevNet turned 10 this past year and has been marking the occasion with various blog posts, one very nifty timeline, and IRL DevNet Zone festivities at Cisco Live events in Australia and Amsterdam. As part of the ongoing celebration, DevNet staff also launched the Build for Better Code Challenge focusing on AI and Sustainability.

DevNet Vice President Shannon McFarland announced the code challenge during a recent DevNet 10th anniversary virtual celebration (in which I was graciously invited to participate). The announcement followed McFarland’s explanation of DevNet’s key focus areas for 2024 (AI, Sustainability, and Observability–three areas that McFarland rightly articulates as overlapping) as well as an excellent segment devoted to sustainability by Denise Lee, Vice President for Cisco’s Engineering Sustainability Office. With all recent industry buzz on generative AI, it is no surprise to see AI as a main component of both DevNet’s current focus and the Build for Better challenge. However, as Lee notes, appetite for AI workloads is upping energy demands on already taxed IT infrastructure and systems, and ergo is part of the reason that sustainability must be seen as a business imperative.

The Build for Better challenge focuses on both AI and sustainability. Per the challenge overview:

Solve for sustainability with Build for Better

Are you ready to make an impact? The global focus on slowing climate change through reduced energy consumption is gaining momentum, and developers like you have an opportunity to lessen environmental impact on our planet through thoughtful application of technology.

By nature, technology, code, and development require energy consumption. But, this same technology also has the power to reduce or eliminate this energy consumption. We want you to harness this power.

Whether you develop an AI-powered bot that suggests the most energy-efficient code or introduce automation in a novel way for an eco-friendly building, we’re excited to witness creativity and innovation — and hear why solving for sustainability is important to you!

The Build for Better Code Challenge runs through April 22, 2024 (Earth Day). Additional details on eligibility requirements (you have to join DevNet), the submission process, judging criteria, and reasons to participate can be found on the event landing page. Or check out this recent chat with the judges.

Disclosure: Cisco is a RedMonk client. While my participation in the Celebrating a Decade of DevNet event was sponsored, this blog post was not.

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