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Studies of Fingerprint Matching Using the NIST Verification Test Bed (VTB)



Charles L. Wilson, Craig I. Watson, Michael D. Garris, R. A. Hicklin


A series of fingerprint matching studies have been conducted on an experimental laboratory system called the Verification Test Bed (VTB). The VTB is a collection of commercial off the shelf (COTS) computer hardware, an open-source operating system, and a suite of public domain application software. Results are presented that compare various sources of fingerprints, assess the image quality of fingerprints by analyzing the matcher scores for inked and live-scan impressions, and study the trade-offs of matching rolled fingerprints with plain impressions. Database size in these studies range from 216 to ~600,000 people. Performance statistics are primarily reported for single-finger matching; however, results from two different approaches to two-finger fusion matching are also presented. At a false accept rate (FAR) of 1%, the best two-finger true accept rate (TAR) is 99% while the worst single-finger TAR is 71%. This report illustrates the wide range of image types and quality that exist in government fingerprint databases and the effect this variability has on the accuracy of matching using a single algorithm.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7020
Report Number


fingerprint, identification, matching, system evaluation, verification


Wilson, C. , Watson, C. , Garris, M. and Hicklin, R. (2003), Studies of Fingerprint Matching Using the NIST Verification Test Bed (VTB), NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 20, 2024)
Created July 1, 2003, Updated February 19, 2017