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Marinus Analytics Represents U.S. at Watson AI XPrize Competition

Article by Marinus Analytics

PTC Member News

Marinus Analytics, the Pittsburgh-based technology company that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to fight human trafficking, has been selected as the lone American finalist for the global $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE Competition. It will present its pitch later this year for a chance at the $3 million grand prize.

Spanning four years, the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE competition began in 2016 with 780 submissions, which was narrowed in 2017 to 147 companies representing 22 countries. The three global finalists, Marinus Analytics, Canada’s Aifred Health, and Israel’s Zzapp Malaria, will present their pitches for the final awards. The winner will receive a $3 million grand prize. The runner-up will receive $1 million, and third place will be awarded $500,000.

“We are thrilled to have earned recognition for our efforts to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to assist law enforcement in the global battle against human trafficking,” says Marinus Analytics President and CoFounder Emily Kennedy, who will represent the company in the final pitch. “We plan to use any prize money we are awarded to supercharge our ability to find victims and detect the largest organized crime rings globally, and expand our innovation to child protection and cyber fraud.”

Founded in 2014 out of The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, Marinus Analytics uses AI to get actionable insights out of big data to empower a victim-centered response and serve experts working on the front lines of public safety. The flagship tool, Traffic Jam, revolutionizes the way detectives are able to stop and prevent human trafficking, recover victims, and dismantle organized criminal networks, by deploying graph analytics to detect organized crime and purpose-driven algorithms to identify vulnerability indicators, informing frontline professionals to hidden exploitation.

“We have great admiration for the front line public safety and social services professionals who are dedicated to protecting our communities. It is an honor to be their partner in this mission of disrupting human trafficking globally and safeguarding the vulnerable during the pandemic,” says Cara Jones, CEO and CoFounder of Marinus Analytics. “We are excited to expand our efforts into new areas, including building tailored tools to help social workers, enriching outcome analysis and enhancing motivational interviewing in the field. We will also empower government agencies who enforce cyber crime regulations with the information they need to identify the largest streams of cyber fraud and online scams. These new areas will continue our strong mission of protecting the vulnerable and ending systemic exploitation.”

XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. Active competitions include the $20 Million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, $10 Million XPRIZE Rainforest, $10 Million ANA Avatar XPRIZE, $6 Million XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing, the $5 Million IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, $5 Million XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling, and $500K Pandemic Response Challenge. For more information, visit 

Listen to Kennedy describe the story and impact of Marinus Analytics during TEDxPittsburgh 2019 here.