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Face Recognition Vendor Test 2002 Performance Metrics



Patrick Grother, Ross J. Micheals, P. Jonathon Phillips


We present the methodology and recognition performance characteristics used in the Face Recognition Vendor Test 2002. We refine the notion of a biometric imposter, and show that the traditional measures of identification and verification performance are limiting case specializations of a novel watch list scenario. The watch list problem is a newly important and operationally realistic generalization of both detection and identification of persons of interest, together with simultaneous verification-like constraints on false alarm rates. In addition, we use performance scores on disjoint populations to establish a novel means of computing and displaying distribution-free estimates of the variation of verification vs. false alarm performance. Finally, we formalize gallery normalization, which is an extension of previous evaluation methodologies; we define a pair of gallery dependent mappings that can be applied as a post recognition step to vectors of distance or similarity scores. All the methods are biometric non-specific, and applicable to large populations.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 6982
Report Number


biometrics, evaluation, face recognition, FRVT 2002


Grother, P. , Micheals, R. and Phillips, P. (2003), Face Recognition Vendor Test 2002 Performance Metrics, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed July 13, 2024)


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Created February 28, 2003, Updated October 12, 2021