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In this paper we advocate a new technique for the fast identification of physical objects based on their physical unclonable features (surface microstructures). The proposed identification method is based on soft fingerprinting and consists of two stages: at the first stage the list of possible candidates is estimated based on the most reliable bits of a soft fingerprint and the traditional maximum likelihood decoding is applied to the obtained list to find a single best match at the second stage. The soft fingerprint is computed based on random projections with a sign-magnitude decomposition of projected coefficients. The estimate of a bit reliability is deduced directly from the observed coefficients. We investigate different decoding strategies to estimate the list of candidates, which minimize the probability of miss of the right index on the list. The obtained results show the flexibility of the proposed identification method to provide the performance-complexity trade-off.