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Biometric Quality Workshop I

March 8-9, 2006
National Institute of Standards and Technology


Performance of biometric systems is dependent on the quality of the acquired input samples. If quality can be improved, either by sensor design, by user interface design, or by standards compliance, better performance can be realized. For those aspects of quality that cannot be designed-in, an ability to analyze the quality of a live sample is needed. This is useful primarily in initiating the reacquisition from a user, but also for the real-time selection of the best sample, and the selective invocation of different processing methods. It is the key component in quality assurance management, and because quality algorithms often embed the same image (or signal) analyses needed to assess conformance to underlying data interchange standards, they can be used in automated image screening applications.

Quality analysis is a technical challenge because it is most helpful when the measures reflect the performance sensitivities of one or more target biometric matchers. NIST addressed this problem in August 2004 when it issued the NIST Fingerprint Image Quality algorithm, which was designed to be predictive of the performance of minutiae matchers. Since then NIST has been considering how quality measures should be evaluated, developing quality measures for other biometrics, and considering the wider use of such measures. In addition NIST is active in the new SC37 and M1 standardization activities on biometric quality and sample conformance.

Workshop Scope

The workshop aimed at improving performance of biometric systems. It aims to assess current quality measurement capabilities and to identify technologies, factors, operational paradigms, and standards that can measurably improve quality. The workshop was held over two days: Day One considered applications, capabilities and standardization; Day two considered research and development for all modalities, and evaluation.


Quality Summarization 


The workshop was organized by the Information Access Division of the Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The workshop was sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of State (DOS), the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).


The workshop was supported by the Department of Defense, Biometric Management Office, and the Department of Transportation.

Biometric Quality Links

Workshop I Presentations
Workshop II


Created June 8, 2010, Updated June 2, 2021