Beyond Eigenfaces: Probabilistic Matching for Face Recognition

Baback Moghaddam, Wasiuddin Wahid, Alex Pentland


We propose a technique for direct visual matching for face recognition and database search, using a probabilistic measure of similarity which is based on a Bayesian analysis of image differences. Specifically we model lure mutually exclusive classes of variation between facial images: intra-personal (variations in appearance of the same individual, due to different expressions or lighting) and extra-personal (variations in appearance due to a difference in identity). The likelihoods for each respective class are learned from training data using eigenspace density estimation and used to compute similarity based on the a posteriori probability of membership in the intra-personal class, and ultimately used to rank matches in the database. The performance advantage of this probabilistic technique over nearest-neighbor eigenface matching is demonstrated using results front ARPA's 1996 "FERET" face recognition competition, in which this algorithm was found to be the top performer.

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