One hundred cities worldwide will get the chance to solve some of their biggest problems without making a dent in their upcoming budgets. All they have to do is demonstrate their commitment to becoming a "smarter city"-- using data to study local urban issues like high crime and food deserts, and come up with solutions based on scientific, systematic observations. IBM's Smarter Cities Challenge, embarking on its second year, provides winning cities with free consulting services from urban and technology experts, who will study each city and offer tailored recommendations for improving their services (approximately a $400,000 value). Cities must apply by December 16. Last year, 24 grants were given out and U.S. cities nabbed eight of them. Applications can be found here.