Department of Computer Science and Technology

Technical reports

Biometric decision landscapes

John Daugman

January 2000, 15 pages


This report investigates the “decision landscapes” that characterize several forms of biometric decision making. The issues discussed include: (i) Estimating the degrees-of-freedom associated with different biometrics, as a way of measuring the randomness and complexity (and therefore the uniqueness) of their templates. (ii) The consequences of combining more than one biometric test to arrive at a decision. (iii) The requirements for performing identification by large-scale exhaustive database search, as opposed to mere verification by comparison against a single template. (iv) Scenarios for Biometric Key Cryptography (the use of biometrics for encryption of messages). These issues are considered here in abstract form, but where appropriate, the particular example of iris recognition is used as an illustration. A unifying theme of all four sets of issues is the role of combinatorial complexity, and its measurement, in determining the potential decisiveness of biometric decision making.

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BibTeX record

  author =	 {Daugman, John},
  title = 	 {{Biometric decision landscapes}},
  year = 	 2000,
  month = 	 jan,
  url = 	 {},
  institution =  {University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory},
  number = 	 {UCAM-CL-TR-482}