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The University of Texas at Dallas, P.O. Box 830688, Richardson, Texas 75083-0688

News Release

News contact: Steve McGregor, UTD, (972) 883-2293, [email protected]

Four UTD Faculty Members Win $625,000
For Face Recognition Research Efforts

Part of Federal Government's Campaign to Combat Terrorism

RICHARDSON, Texas (April 16, 2003) - Four faculty members at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) have won federal funding of more than $625,000 for research efforts designed to improve face recognition technology, a potentially important tool in the government's war on terrorism.

The award was made by the United States Department of Defense and the Technical Support Working Group, the multi-agency federal task force whose goal is to develop and improve technology for combating terrorism. UTD's research proposal was one of less than 50 selected for funding by the agencies out of a total of some 12,500 proposals to strengthen the nation's security in the wake of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, according to university officials.

Face recognition technology is viewed by some as a possible boon to law enforcement because of the prospect of detecting and identifying criminals and other suspects through surveillance by video cameras and other means of crowds at airports, border crossings and other public venues. Through the use of cameras and sophisticated computer hardware and software, the face of an individual, either alone or in a crowd, can be compared with images stored in a database of persons deemed to be a threat and, in theory, matches can be made between the two. However, the technology has come under fire for several reasons, including its lack of reliability.

The UTD research to improve such systems will be conducted in two parallel efforts by faculty members in two of the university's schools:

  • Dr. Haim Schweitzer and Dr. Klaus Truemper of the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science will develop more efficient algorithms for detecting faces in images and video.
  • Dr. Alice O'Toole and Dr. Hervé Abdi of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences will create benchmarks against which the performance of face recognition computer systems can be assessed.

Schweitzer and Truemper will apply new techniques they have developed, utilizing computational logic, which they believe will help compute facial features in images much faster than is currently possible. The pair's project will investigate how these techniques can be used to accelerate both the data collection and system run time, as well as its accuracy.

O'Toole and Abdi will create a means of evaluating the performance of a wide variety of face recognition systems against the performance of human subjects under similar conditions. The pair will undertake a series of experiments to evaluate how humans match the identities of people under a variety of "photometric inconsistencies" - changes in viewpoint direction, illumination and image distance. The measure of human performance will serve as a guide to the performance required by automated systems in order to compete with the accuracy levels of humans.

The two projects are expected to be completed in the next 18 months.

About UTD
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 13,000 students. The school's freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university's Web site at http://www.utdallas.edu.

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August 03, 2013