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European Biometrics Awards 2021

On 15 September 2021 the European Association for Biometrics (EAB) awarded young researchers for their outstanding works in the area of biometrics. An international jury chose 3 candidates out of a broad range of submitted high quality papers to present their significant contribution in front of the jury, the EAB members and the public audience in a virtual meeting.

[Photo] The winners of the European Biometrics Industry, Research, and Max Snijder Awards 2021 Pawel Drozdowski (Hochschule Darmstadt, Germany and Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway), Rıdvan Salih Kuzu (Roma Tre University, Italy) and Žiga Emeršič (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia) together with the Chairman of the Award Commission Prof. Patrizio Campisi
The winners of the European Biometrics Industry, Research, and Max Snijder Awards 2021 Pawel Drozdowski (Hochschule Darmstadt, Germany and Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway), Rıdvan Salih Kuzu (Roma Tre University, Italy) and Žiga Emeršič (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia) together with the Chairman of the Award Commission Prof. Patrizio Campisi

European Biometric Max Snijder Award

The EAB Max Snijder Award is granted to a researcher, who expressed through his work a wider perspective to get a broader picture on biometric applications. The winner of this award is Žiga Emeršič, who conducted his PhD project at University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), and presented the topic of Constellation-Based Deep Ear Recognition. In his work he proposed an alternative solution to the design of deep recognition models that encode both global as well as local image characteristics and generate descriptive image representations. The proposed model is designed as dual-path convolutional neural network, where one path processes the input holistically, whereas the second captures local images characteristics from image patches sampled from the input image. A novel pooling operation, called patch-relevant-information pooling, is also proposed and integrated into the proposed model. The pooling operation helps to select features from the input patches that are locally relevant and to focus the attention of the network to image regions that are descriptive and important for representation purposes. The wider perspective is related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which emphasized the need for multimodal recognition approaches when dealing with masked faces. Incorporating an ear recognition system into a larger recognition system can greatly improve accuracy. In addition, ear recognition can be used as a standalone application or a mobile add-on for device security.

[Photo] Prof. Patrizio Campisi awarding Žiga Emeršič with the EAB Max Snijder Award 2021
Prof. Patrizio Campisi awarding Žiga Emeršič with the EAB Max Snijder Award 2021

With his outstanding presentation during the introduction to their works, Žiga Emeršič was also awarded the Best Presentation Award.

[Photo] The winner of the EAB Max Snijder Award 2021 Žiga Emeršič presenting his PhD thesis
The winner of the EAB Max Snijder Award 2021 Žiga Emeršič presenting his PhD thesis

European Biometric Industry Award

This year the European Biometrics Industry Award goes to Pawel Drozdowski from Hochschule Darmstadt (Germany)/NTNU (Norway) for his work Efficient privacy-preserving biometric identification in large-scale multibiometric systems. The work addresses several areas of research which have not previously been considered in the literature. It couples the methods of computational workload reduction with additional relevant constraints or extensions, such as being modality-agnostic, working prior to feature extraction, utilising information fusion, and integrating biometric template protection. In several cases, the proposed methods have been among the first ones in their respective areas published in the scientific literature. The achieved results are very promising in terms of objective evaluation metrics.

From the commercial perspective, the main innovative potential lies within the possibility of seamless integration of the proposed methods into existing systems. The methods developed allow to reduce the computations associated with biometric identification transactions by between one and two orders of magnitude, while simultaneously maintaining or improving the biometric performance. The developed methods exhibit high algorithmic transparency and explainability due to being entirely handcrafted and not reliant on machine learning. They also are highly flexible and could in many cases be seamlessly incorporated into existing systems.

[Photo] Prof. Patrizio Campisi presents Pawel Drozdowski with this year's European Biometrics Industry Award
Prof. Patrizio Campisi presents Pawel Drozdowski with this year's European Biometrics Industry Award

European Biometric Research Award

The European Biometrics Research Award 2020 was granted to Rıdvan Salih Kuzu from Roma Tre University (Italy) for his PhD-thesis On-the-fly Vascular Multibiometrics. With his PhD work releases the constraint of fixed hand in touchless vein biometrics and enables walk-through-style biometrics. The thesis proves that low-cost sensors are sufficient for robust vein biometrics if multi-exposure images are exploited and customized deep neural network architectures are applied. Moreover the PhD work demonstrated that soft biometric traits like gender or age are reliable information to enhance the security of vein biometrics.

[Photo] Rıdvan Salih Kuzu introduces the audience to his works on vascular biometrics
Rıdvan Salih Kuzu introduces the audience to his works on vascular biometrics

The European Biometrics Max Snijder, Research, and Industry Awards have in total a value of 4.000,00 € stipendium, which is divided amongst the winners. The finalists are also donated a free of charge one year membership of EAB. The European Biometric Research and Industry Awards 2021 were kindly sponsored by IDEMIA and Thales.

The selection for the research award has been made on the basis of the academic and scientific quality of the submitted works as well as on the quality of their presentations. A separate selection was made during the final presentation in order to appoint the winner of the industry award. Criteria for this award are next to the scientific level the novelty, impact, applicability and other business aspects.

The European Biometrics Max Snijder, Research, and Industry Awards are granted annually to individuals who have been judged by a panel of internationally respected experts to be making a significant contribution to the field of biometrics research in Europe. The intention of the award is to stimulate and promote innovation and research in the field of Identity and Biometrics in Europe.

EAB members can find the thesis of the award winners in the Hall of Fame

The call for submissions for the EAB European Biometrics Awards in the upcoming year is already available.

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