IIT CS Team Wins CIE Healthy Chicago Innovation Challenge To Use Social Media To Improve Public Health

A team of computer science students from Illinois Institute of Technology believe Twitter and Yelp can help identify restaurants that may be responsible for food poisoning cases, and they will be working with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) over the next 10 weeks to implement their idea.

The team, called Foodborne 2.0, earned this opportunity by being one of two to win the recent Healthy Chicago Innovation Challenge, a startup proposal and pitch competition held by CDPH and the new incubator Chicago Innovation Exchange (CIE) at the University of Chicago.

They include Aditya Kundu, Gopal Krishna Bhatia, Alaa Ayach and Urvashi Poonia, all master’s students. Their adviser is Irina Matveeva, head of machine learning at NexLP and adjunct professor at IIT.

Foodborne 2.0 will use Twitter and Yelp analytics to predict potentially dangerous restaurants. The idea grew out of a class project, “Analyzing Patterns from Restaurant Inspection Data from the City of Chicago Data Portal,” by Poonia and Bhatia in Matveeva’s data mining class. In that class students learned about the City of Chicago Foodborne App that uses Twitter to track food poisoning cases. Poonia and Bhatia worked on extending the Foodborne App with data mining techniques.

Foodborne 2.0 submitted its proposal in January and was selected to be one of five teams to present their ideas at a pitch contest on February 9. The Foodborne 2.0 team will share their results at the Innovation Champions Day on May 21.