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cosec >students >Teaching >Winter 2006/2007 

Electronic passports & biometrics


Prof. Dr. Joachim von zur Gathen


Michael Nüsken

Time & Place

Tuesday, 1215-1345, b-it 2.1.
Thursday, 1730-1900, Cafete (Tutorial).

First meeting: 31 October.
Special session: Thursday, 30 November 2006, 1730 -1900, Rheinsaal.
Preda Mihailescu , Techniques, Applications and Challenges in Biometric Recognition.
Pre-exam session: Wednesday, 28 February 2007, 1400, bitmax.
Exam: Friday, 02 March 2007, 1000-12xx, b-it bitmax. (More details see below.)
Post-exam session: ?? March 2007, 1400 , ??.


None. Basic knowledge in cryptography might be helpful, as for example the parallel course Cryptography. Yet, this is not required.


Passports shall carry more and more sensitive information in a easily accessible way in the future. This information may, apart from name, origin and the like, contain fingerprints or retina scans. And it is stored in electronic form, and it can be accessed by wireless transmissions. This raises a lot of new problems:

The course will try to give an overview what and how things are implemented. We will discuss the concerns of and threats to holders, society and government. Biometrical information has long been used to identify persons. Already, in 1901 Scotland Yard started to use fingerprints to identify criminals. Since then various other methods have been introduced: iris scan, face recognition, retina scans, hand geometry to name just the most prominent. Since about 1965 people have tried to automate all these identification methods. This has shown many difficulties. It is still not clear which information identify a person: for example, though it is widely believed that fingerprints do, only few scientific studies are available. And it turns out to be pretty difficult to find a reliable automatic pattern matcher. Mind that it is not like searching a given fixed string in a dictionary. You have to find the template(s) that are most similar to a given one, or tell that there is none within given bounds.


Lecture notes:
All slides: PDF (~10MB).
Gabor filter worksheet (MuPAD notebook, PDF)


The exam takes approximately two hours. You should bring a pocket calculator (not programmable and without modular arithmetic or computer algebra software) and you should prepare a cheat sheet, ie. one A4 sheet written in your own handwriting.



Media Informatics, Computer and Communication Technology.
University of Bonn - Computer Science, A.

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