Biometrics: Technology for Human Recognition

Anil K. Jain, Ph.D.

November 18, 2014

Anil JainDr. Jain is a university distinguished professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Michigan State University. His research interests include pattern recognition, biometric authentication and computer vision. He served as the editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (1991-1994). The holder of eight patents in the area of fingerprint matching and face recognition, he is the author of a number of books, including Introduction to Biometrics (2011), Handbook of Face Recognition (2011), Handbook of Fingerprint Recognition (2009), Handbook of Biometrics (2009), Handbook of Multibiometrics (2006), BIOMETRICS: Personal Identification in Networked Society (1999), and Algorithms for Clustering Data (1988).

If you are like many people, navigating the complexities of everyday life depends on an array of cards and passwords that confirm your identity. But lose a card, and your ATM will refuse to give you money. Forget a password, and your own computer may balk at your command. Allow your card or passwords to fall into the wrong hands, and what were intended to be security measures can become tools that enable fraud or identity theft. Biometrics—the automated recognition of people via distinctive anatomical and behavioral traits—has the potential to overcome many of these problems. Biometrics is not a new idea. Pioneering work by several British scholars in the late 19th century established that fingerprints exhibit a unique pattern that persists over time. This set the stage for the development of Automatic Fingerprint Identification Systems (AFIS) that are now used by law enforcement agencies worldwide. The success of fingerprints in law enforcement, coupled with growing concerns related to homeland security, financial fraud, and identity theft, has generated renewed interest in studying additional body traits (e.g., face and iris) for person recognition, and design of accurate, robust and secure biometric systems. It is, therefore, not surprising that biometrics is permeating our society (mobile devices, international border crossings, and national civil registries). Despite these successful deployments, biometrics is not a panacea for human recognition. There are challenges related to unconstrained imaging conditions (e.g., surveillance videos), uniqueness and persistence of body traits, biometric spoofs, and user privacy. This talk will address progress in biometric recognition and highlight some of these challenges.

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