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Conference report on IEEE BIOSIG 2018

The 17th edition of the International Conference of the Biometrics Special Interest Group (BIOSIG) took place at Fraunhofer IGD in Darmstadt, Germany from September 26 to 28. BIOSIG-2018 was part of the Darmstadt Biometric Week, which attracted more than 200 participants. This year delegates travelled all the way from Europe, India, Canada and the US to Darmstadt in order to join the BIOSIG community.

The program consisted of scientific research contributions and biometrics-related key-note presentations from the European Union, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and academia.

The opening keynote talk was given by Rasa Karbauskaite (FRONTEX Research and Development Unit) who provided an insight with regard to the implementation and operational impact of biometric systems for border control. European border management is currently undergoing significant transformation and facing new and evolving challenges. Biometric technology plays a significant role in enabling and facilitating more modern, effective and efficient border management in the Schengen area. The existing and future information systems in the EU for border management and internal security relies on biometric data and interoperability. She emphasized that the use of biometric systems for border control constitutes operational and technical challenges. It changes the border checks process, has a significant impact on day-to-day operations and creates new risks and vulnerabilities.

Accepted conference contributions included 16 presentations and covering various aspects of face, fingerprints, fingervein, iris, voice and gait. Particular challenges addressed included presentation attack detection and deep-learning of biometric quality. The poster session with 16 contributions was a good mix of research results and acquired biometric databases from various research labs and visitors did spend a long time in the poster session before the start of the social event with the traditional late summer barbeque – providing plenty of opportunities for networking.

On the second day of the conference, Patrick Grother (NIST) presented the interesting results of the Face Recognition Vendor Test (FRVT) 2018. FRVT 2018 was being conducted to assess state-of-the-art face recognition accuracy. Most notably, the remarkable improvement, obtained on images with imperfect ISO/IEC 19794-5 conformance, showed that the new generation of CNN-based algorithms have been adopted by developers and should replace the operationally installed base. It was further shown that implementations vary significantly: a wide range of performance remains across the industry, with accuracy spanning more than an order of magnitude. In addition, FRVT 2018 documents effects of image-specific and subject-specific covariates on accuracy, including age, ageing, sex and race.  It was concluded that the results will be previewed and contributed to the ISO/IEC 22116 project on differential impacts of demographics in biometrics.

The last conference day concluded with a keynote by Stephanie Schuckers (Clarkson University) summarizing the state-of-the-art, issues and trends regarding presentation attack detection (PAD). Presentation attacks, also known as spoofing attacks, are attacks against a biometric capture device with the intention to interfere with its normal operation.  Such attacks could include artefacts of biometric characteristics such as printouts, image/video display, or reproductions made of gelatin, glue, silicon, or plastic. PAD components have been developed to reduce this vulnerability.  Over the last twenty years of research and development a great variety of PAD mechanisms and presentation attack instruments (PAIs) have been investigated. In her interactive presentation the audience was presented with numerous exhibits, which could be used to launch said attacks for biometric systems based on different characteristics such as fingerprint or iris. 

As in previous editions of the BIOSIG conference, participants of the conference themselves voted for the best paper and the best poster that was presented at the conference. The BIOSIG 2018 best paper award was presented to Javier Galbally (EC-JRC) for his interesting and entertaining presentation “Fingerprint Quality: a Lifetime Story “. The winner of the best poster award was Khawla Mallat (EURECOM) for her poster “Multi-variation visible and thermal face database for cross-spectrum face recognition” in which she presented a new face database that could be used for various investigations.

The BIOSIG conference was preceded by several satellite events in the Darmstadt Biometric Week:

  •       EAB Research Projects Conference (EAB-RPC) 2018
  •       EAB General Assembly
  •       TeleTrusT Biometric Working Group Meeting
  •       EAB Biometrics Research and Industry Awards 2018

The 2018 BIOSIG conference was jointly organized by the Competence Center for Applied Security Technology (CAST) and the special interest group BIOSIG of the Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (GI).

The conference was technically co-sponsored by IEEE Biometric Council and the papers will be added to IEEE Xplore.

Next year the BIOSIG will take place between September 18 to 20, 2019 in Darmstadt, Germany.

Rasa Karbauskaite (FRONTEX Research and Development Unit)
Patrick Grother (NIST)
Stephanie Schuckers (Clarkson University)
Khawla Mallat (EURECOM)