The Robotics Institute

RI | Seminar | September 8, 2006

Robotics Institute Seminar, September 8, 2006
Time and Place | Seminar Abstract | Speaker Biography | Speaker Appointments

Data Mining to Support Food Safety

Artur Dubrawski

Systems Scientist/Adj Professor Mism Prg
Carnegie Mellon University


Time and Place

Mauldin Auditorium (NSH 1305)
Refreshments 3:15 pm
Talk 3:30 pm


Unsafe food can be blamed as the ultimate cause in several million instances of illnesses and injuries occurring every year in the US. Vigilant monitoring and rapid resolution of detected problems are crucial in effective mitigation of those adverse effects. This talk presents one and very briefly reviews a few more ongoing attempts to use statistical data mining in support of detection of emerging patterns of safety problems in food supply. The analytical component of the Consumer Complaint Monitoring System II is designed to help the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service officials to efficiently and effectively monitor incoming reports of adverse effects of food on its consumers. These reports, collected in a passive surveillance mode, contain multi-dimensional, heterogeneous and sparse pieces of specific information about the consumersí demographics, the kinds, brands and sources of the implicated food, symptoms of possible sickness, characteristics of foreign objects which could have been found in food, involved locations and times of occurrences, etc.The statistical data mining component of the system supports surveillance of naturally occurring problems as well as potential acts of agro-terrorism. The system is being envisioned as one of the key components of the nationwide bio-security protection infrastructure, it has been accepted for use and it is currently going through the final stages of deployment. We explain the motivation, key design concepts and report the systemís utility and performance observed so far.

Speaker Biography

Artur Dubrawski received a Ph.D. in robotics and automation from the Institute of Fundamental Technological Research, Polish Academy of Sciences, and a M.Sc. in aircraft engineering from Warsaw University of Technology. Artur considers himself a scientist and a practitioner; he has been tainted with some real world entrepreneurial experiences. He had started up a small company which turned out successful in integration and deployment of advanced computerized control systems and novel technological devices. He had also been affiliated with startups incorporated by others: Schenley Park Research, a data mining consultancy and a CMU spin-off, where he was a scientist; and (more recently) with Aethon, a company building robots to automate transportation in hospitals, where he served as a Chief Technical Officer. Artur returned to CMU in 2003 to join the Robotics Institute's Auton Lab. He works on a range of applied data mining endeavors and teaches data mining to graduate students at the CMU Heinz School (in fact, he has been doing that since 2000). In his previous academic life, he worked mainly on machine learning approaches to mobile robot navigation and control, as well as on other applications of adaptive autonomous systems. In 1995/96 Artur spent a year at CMU (obviously, with the Auton Lab) as a visiting Fulbright scholar. In January 2006 Artur Dubrawski was named the director of the Auton Lab.

Speaker Appointments

For appointments, please contact Virginia Arrington (

The Robotics Institute is part of the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University.