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This paper studies the influence of demographics on the performance of face recognition algorithms. The recognition accuracies of six different face recognition algorithms (three commercial, two nontrainable, and one trainable) are computed on a large scale gallery that is partitioned so that each partition consists entirely of specific demographic cohorts. Eight total cohorts are isolated based on gender (male and female), race/ethnicity (Black, White, and Hispanic), and age group (18-30, 30-50, and 50-70 years old). Experimental results demonstrate that both commercial and the nontrainable algorithms consistently have lower matching accuracies on the same cohorts (females, Blacks, and age group 18-30) than the remaining cohorts within their demographic. Additional experiments investigate the impact of the demographic distribution in the training set on the performance of a trainable face recognition algorithm. We show that the matching accuracy for race/ethnicity and age cohorts can be improved by training exclusively on that specific cohort. Operationally, this leads to a scenario, called dynamic face matcher selection, where multiple face recognition algorithms (each trained on different demographic cohorts) are available for a biometric system operator to select based on the demographic information extracted from a probe image. This procedure should lead to improved face recognition accuracy in many intelligence and law enforcement face recognition scenarios. Finally, we show that an alternative to dynamic face matcher selection is to train face recognition algorithms on datasets that are evenly distributed across demographics, as this approach offers consistently high accuracy across all cohorts.
Information Forensics and Security, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:7 , Issue: 6 )
Date of Publication: Dec. 2012