CMU Spinoff Marinus Analytics Awarded AI XPRIZE Third Place

Yana IlievaFriday, June 25, 2021

Marinus Analytics took third place in the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE competition. The company uses AI to help law enforcement find and protect victims of human trafficking.

Marinus Analytics, a Carnegie Mellon University spinoff company, won third place and $500,000 in the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE competition.

The company, headquartered on Pittsburgh's North Side, was formed in 2014 by Emily Kennedy (DC 2012) and Cara Jones. Kennedy began working on the project while still an undergraduate in Carnegie Mellon's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Jones left her job as a staff member of the Robotics Institute to help launch the company.

Nearly 10 years later, Marinus Analytics offers a cutting-edge suite of AI-powered technology that aids law enforcement in finding and protecting victims of human trafficking.

The company's flagship software, Traffic Jam, was developed by the Robotics Institute's Auton Lab. It uses AI to help police efficiently sort through online escort service ads, grouping them by phrases, phone numbers or locations. This grouping helps detectives identify the people who control the victims of sex trafficking. Traffic Jam has over 2,500 registered law enforcement and nonprofit users, tackling the global problem of human trafficking and preventing future exploitation. 

Marinus Analytics was one of the three grand prize finalists and the only finalist from the U.S. Zzapp, an Israeli company that uses AI to predict where stagnant water bodies may occur and subsequently prevent malaria outbreaks, won first place and $5 million. Canadian company Aifred Health, which focuses on using AI to help physicians create personalized mental health treatment plans for patients, won second place and $1 million.

Read more about Marinus AI and the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE competition in this story on CMU's news page.


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