Carnegie Mellon University
July 05, 2021

CMU Spinoff Marinus Analytics Awarded AI XPRIZE Third Place

By Yana Ilieva

A Carnegie Mellon University spinoff company, Marinus Analytics, won third place and $500,000 in the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE competition, announced Wednesday, June 23, 2021. This XPRIZE is a global competition incentivizing the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for radical breakthroughs in problems facing humanity. Marinus Analytics was recognized for its revolutionary impact using AI to address the problem of human trafficking. 

The work of Marinus Analytics first began as a senior thesis when Emily Kennedy was earning her bachelor’s degree in Ethics, History and Public Policy from CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Now, nearly 10 years later, Marinus Analytics is a fully fledged company with 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, called Traffic Jam, was first developed at CMU. It uses AI to help police efficiently sort through online sex trafficking ads, grouping them by phrases, phone numbers or locations. This grouping helps detectives identify the people who control the victims they have coerced — many of whom are minors. Traffic Jam has over 2,500 registered law enforcement and nonprofit users, tackling the global problem of human trafficking and preventing future exploitation.

Read more about Marinus Analytics and the XPRIZE