Fall   2010

Biometrics – CRN: 71967 – CS 667 - 001

Instructor:  Prof. Harry Wechsler wechsler@gmu.edu

Course Description – Basic principles and methods for automatic authentication of individuals. Technologies include face recognition, fingerprints verification, iris recognition, gait analysis, and speaker verification. Additional topics cover multimodal biometrics, system design, performance evaluation, and security and privacy concerns. Term project required.

Prerequisite:  CS 580 or permission of the instructor

Time, Day, and Venue: M – Monday, 7:20 pm - 10:00 pm,

Arts and Design Building 2026


[First day of classes, Monday, August 30]

[Labor Day, no class, Monday, September 6]

[Columbus day recess, Monday, October 11

ΰ class meets on Tuesday, October 12]


[Last day of classes, December 6]


[Final Exam: Monday, December 20, 7:30 – 10:15 pm]

Office Hours:  Monday, 6:15 pm – 7:15 pm (ENGR - 4448)


A.K. Jain, P. Flynn, and A. A. Ross (Eds.), Handbook of Biometrics, Springer  2008.


H. Wechsler, Reliable Face Recognition Methods, Springer 2007.

R.M. Bolle, J. H. Connell, S. Pankanti, N.K. Ratha, and A. W. Senior, Guide to Biometrics, Springer 2004.

Motivation: Biometrics,  the science of recovering or verifying a person's identity, measures the physical (but also behavioral) characteristics that make people unique — including fingerprints, an eye's retina or iris, face, hand geometry, gait, signature and voice —and uses those measurements for personal authentication. Biometrics is related to forensics, which uses and interprets physical evidence for legal purposes.  The importance of biometrics lies in the fact that traditional means of identification and verification are often unreliable or cumbersome. Passwords are difficult to remember and easy to steal. Keys, driver's licenses, and passports can be lost or forged. The human body (and its behavior), on the other hand, can't be forgotten, stolen, or misplaced (but can still be spoofed). Practical uses for biometrics are wide spread and include maintaining the security for both physical and cyber space. In particular, biometrics aids in controlling access to an office, computer network or an ATM, smart cards, wireless communication; confirming the identity of buyers and sellers to make electronic commerce safe and reliable; confirming student identity for distant learning; and safeguarding electronic records related to health care services.  


·        biometric tasks, protocols, and standards

·        primer on image analysis and pattern recognition

·        face recognition (2D and 3D)

·        fingerprint recognition

·        iris recognition

·        gait recognition

·        speaker  verification

·        biometric database management, performance evaluation, and error analysis

·        identity management, security, privacy and ethics


·        Homework – 20%

·        Mid Term – Tuesday, October 12 – 20 %

·        Term (Team) Project – 30 %

·        Final  –  30 %

Graduate Certificate in Biometrics http://catalog.gmu.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=5&poid=1074&bc=1

Honor Code

You are expected to abide by the GMU honor code. Homework assignments and exams are individual efforts. Information on the university honor code can be found at http://academicintegrity.gmu.edu/honorcode/.

Additional departmental CS information: http://cs.gmu.edu/wiki/pmwiki.php/HonorCode/CSHonorCodePolicies