Research papers and code for "Kai Cao":
We propose a texture template approach, consisting of a set of virtual minutiae, to improve the overall latent fingerprint recognition accuracy. To compensate for the lack of sufficient number of minutiae in poor quality latent prints, we generate a set of virtual minutiae. However, due to a large number of these regularly placed virtual minutiae, texture based template matching has a large computational requirement compared to matching true minutiae templates. To improve both the accuracy and efficiency of the texture template matching, we investigate: i) both original and enhanced fingerprint patches for training convolutional neural networks (ConvNets) to improve the distinctiveness of descriptors associated with each virtual minutiae, ii) smaller patches around virtual minutiae and a fast ConvNet architecture to speed up descriptor extraction, iii) reduce the descriptor length, iv) a modified hierarchical graph matching strategy to improve the matching speed, and v) extraction of multiple texture templates to boost the performance. Experiments on NIST SD27 latent database show that the above strategies can improve the matching speed from 11 ms (24 threads) per comparison (between a latent and a reference print) to only 7.7 ms (single thread) per comparison while improving the rank-1 accuracy by 8.9% against 10K gallery.

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Latent fingerprints are one of the most important and widely used evidence in law enforcement and forensic agencies worldwide. Yet, NIST evaluations show that the performance of state-of-the-art latent recognition systems is far from satisfactory. An automated latent fingerprint recognition system with high accuracy is essential to compare latents found at crime scenes to a large collection of reference prints to generate a candidate list of possible mates. In this paper, we propose an automated latent fingerprint recognition algorithm that utilizes Convolutional Neural Networks (ConvNets) for ridge flow estimation and minutiae descriptor extraction, and extract complementary templates (two minutiae templates and one texture template) to represent the latent. The comparison scores between the latent and a reference print based on the three templates are fused to retrieve a short candidate list from the reference database. Experimental results show that the rank-1 identification accuracies (query latent is matched with its true mate in the reference database) are 64.7% for the NIST SD27 and 75.3% for the WVU latent databases, against a reference database of 100K rolled prints. These results are the best among published papers on latent recognition and competitive with the performance (66.7% and 70.8% rank-1 accuracies on NIST SD27 and WVU DB, respectively) of a leading COTS latent Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). By score-level (rank-level) fusion of our system with the commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) latent AFIS, the overall rank-1 identification performance can be improved from 64.7% and 75.3% to 73.3% (74.4%) and 76.6% (78.4%) on NIST SD27 and WVU latent databases, respectively.

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The primary purpose of a fingerprint recognition system is to ensure a reliable and accurate user authentication, but the security of the recognition system itself can be jeopardized by spoof attacks. This study addresses the problem of developing accurate, generalizable, and efficient algorithms for detecting fingerprint spoof attacks. Specifically, we propose a deep convolutional neural network based approach utilizing local patches centered and aligned using fingerprint minutiae. Experimental results on three public-domain LivDet datasets (2011, 2013, and 2015) show that the proposed approach provides state-of-the-art accuracies in fingerprint spoof detection for intra-sensor, cross-material, cross-sensor, as well as cross-dataset testing scenarios. For example, in LivDet 2015, the proposed approach achieves 99.03% average accuracy over all sensors compared to 95.51% achieved by the LivDet 2015 competition winners. Additionally, two new fingerprint presentation attack datasets containing more than 20,000 images, using two different fingerprint readers, and over 12 different spoof fabrication materials are collected. We also present a graphical user interface, called Fingerprint Spoof Buster, that allows the operator to visually examine the local regions of the fingerprint highlighted as live or spoof, instead of relying on only a single score as output by the traditional approaches.

* 13 pages
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This paper contributes a joint embedding model for predicting relations between a pair of entities in the scenario of relation inference. It differs from most stand-alone approaches which separately operate on either knowledge bases or free texts. The proposed model simultaneously learns low-dimensional vector representations for both triplets in knowledge repositories and the mentions of relations in free texts, so that we can leverage the evidence both resources to make more accurate predictions. We use NELL to evaluate the performance of our approach, compared with cutting-edge methods. Results of extensive experiments show that our model achieves significant improvement on relation extraction.

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It is a common paradigm in object detection frameworks to treat all samples equally and target at maximizing the performance on average. In this work, we revisit this paradigm through a careful study on how different samples contribute to the overall performance measured in terms of mAP. Our study suggests that the samples in each mini-batch are neither independent nor equally important, and therefore a better classifier on average does not necessarily mean higher mAP. Motivated by this study, we propose the notion of Prime Samples, those that play a key role in driving the detection performance. We further develop a simple yet effective sampling and learning strategy called PrIme Sample Attention (PISA) that directs the focus of the training process towards such samples. Our experiments demonstrate that it is often more effective to focus on prime samples than hard samples when training a detector. Particularly, On the MSCOCO dataset, PISA outperforms the random sampling baseline and hard mining schemes, e.g. OHEM and Focal Loss, consistently by more than 1% on both single-stage and two-stage detectors, with a strong backbone ResNeXt-101.

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We learn a discriminative fixed length feature representation of fingerprints which stands in contrast to commonly used unordered, variable length sets of minutiae points. To arrive at this fixed length representation, we embed fingerprint domain knowledge into a multitask deep convolutional neural network architecture. Empirical results, on two public-domain fingerprint databases (NIST SD4 and FVC 2004 DB1) show that compared to minutiae representations, extracted by two state-of-the-art commercial matchers (Verifinger v6.3 and Innovatrics v2.0.3), our fixed-length representations provide (i) higher search accuracy: Rank-1 accuracy of 97.9% vs. 97.3% on NIST SD4 against a gallery size of 2000 and (ii) significantly faster, large scale search: 682,594 matches per second vs. 22 matches per second for commercial matchers on an i5 3.3 GHz processor with 8 GB of RAM.

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We present a simple but effective method for automatic latent fingerprint segmentation, called SegFinNet. SegFinNet takes a latent image as an input and outputs a binary mask highlighting the friction ridge pattern. Our algorithm combines fully convolutional neural network and detection-based approaches to process the entire input latent image in one shot instead of using latent patches. Experimental results on three different latent databases (i.e. NIST SD27, WVU, and an operational forensic database) show that SegFinNet outperforms both human markup for latents and the state-of-the-art latent segmentation algorithms. We further show that this improved cropping boosts the hit rate of a latent fingerprint matcher.

* Accepted (Oral) in BTAS 2018
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We open source fingerprint Match in Box, a complete end-to-end fingerprint recognition system embedded within a 4 inch cube. Match in Box stands in contrast to a typical bulky and expensive proprietary fingerprint recognition system which requires sending a fingerprint image to an external host for processing and subsequent spoof detection and matching. In particular, Match in Box is a first of a kind, portable, low-cost, and easy-to-assemble fingerprint reader with an enrollment database embedded within the reader's memory and open source fingerprint spoof detector, feature extractor, and matcher all running on the reader's internal vision processing unit (VPU). An onboard touch screen and rechargeable battery pack make this device extremely portable and ideal for applying both fingerprint authentication (1:1 comparison) and fingerprint identification (1:N search) to applications (vaccination tracking, food and benefit distribution programs, human trafficking prevention) in rural communities, especially in developing countries. We also show that Match in Box is suited for capturing neonate fingerprints due to its high resolution (1900 ppi) cameras.

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We propose a fully automatic minutiae extractor, called MinutiaeNet, based on deep neural networks with compact feature representation for fast comparison of minutiae sets. Specifically, first a network, called CoarseNet, estimates the minutiae score map and minutiae orientation based on convolutional neural network and fingerprint domain knowledge (enhanced image, orientation field, and segmentation map). Subsequently, another network, called FineNet, refines the candidate minutiae locations based on score map. We demonstrate the effectiveness of using the fingerprint domain knowledge together with the deep networks. Experimental results on both latent (NIST SD27) and plain (FVC 2004) public domain fingerprint datasets provide comprehensive empirical support for the merits of our method. Further, our method finds minutiae sets that are better in terms of precision and recall in comparison with state-of-the-art on these two datasets. Given the lack of annotated fingerprint datasets with minutiae ground truth, the proposed approach to robust minutiae detection will be useful to train network-based fingerprint matching algorithms as well as for evaluating fingerprint individuality at scale. MinutiaeNet is implemented in Tensorflow: https://github.com/luannd/MinutiaeNet

* Accepted to International Conference on Biometrics (ICB 2018)
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We open source an easy to assemble, spoof resistant, high resolution, optical fingerprint reader, called RaspiReader, using ubiquitous components. By using our open source STL files and software, RaspiReader can be built in under one hour for only US $175. As such, RaspiReader provides the fingerprint research community a seamless and simple method for quickly prototyping new ideas involving fingerprint reader hardware. In particular, we posit that this open source fingerprint reader will facilitate the exploration of novel fingerprint spoof detection techniques involving both hardware and software. We demonstrate one such spoof detection technique by specially customizing RaspiReader with two cameras for fingerprint image acquisition. One camera provides high contrast, frustrated total internal reflection (FTIR) fingerprint images, and the other outputs direct images of the finger in contact with the platen. Using both of these image streams, we extract complementary information which, when fused together and used for spoof detection, results in marked performance improvement over previous methods relying only on grayscale FTIR images provided by COTS optical readers. Finally, fingerprint matching experiments between images acquired from the FTIR output of RaspiReader and images acquired from a COTS reader verify the interoperability of the RaspiReader with existing COTS optical readers.

* substantial text overlap with arXiv:1708.07887
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We present the design and prototype of an open source, optical fingerprint reader, called RaspiReader, using ubiquitous components. RaspiReader, a low-cost and easy to assemble reader, provides the fingerprint research community a seamless and simple method for gaining more control over the sensing component of fingerprint recognition systems. In particular, we posit that this versatile fingerprint reader will encourage researchers to explore novel spoof detection methods that integrate both hardware and software. RaspiReader's hardware is customized with two cameras for fingerprint acquisition with one camera providing high contrast, frustrated total internal reflection (FTIR) images, and the other camera outputting direct images. Using both of these image streams, we extract complementary information which, when fused together, results in highly discriminative features for fingerprint spoof (presentation attack) detection. Our experimental results demonstrate a marked improvement over previous spoof detection methods which rely only on FTIR images provided by COTS optical readers. Finally, fingerprint matching experiments between images acquired from the FTIR output of the RaspiReader and images acquired from a COTS fingerprint reader verify the interoperability of the RaspiReader with existing COTS optical readers.

* 14 pages, 14 figures
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In this paper, we tackle one-shot texture retrieval: given an example of a new reference texture, detect and segment all the pixels of the same texture category within an arbitrary image. To address this problem, we present an OS-TR network to encode both reference and query image, leading to achieve texture segmentation towards the reference category. Unlike the existing texture encoding methods that integrate CNN with orderless pooling, we propose a directionality-aware module to capture the texture variations at each direction, resulting in spatially invariant representation. To segment new categories given only few examples, we incorporate a self-gating mechanism into relation network to exploit global context information for adjusting per-channel modulation weights of local relation features. Extensive experiments on benchmark texture datasets and real scenarios demonstrate the above-par segmentation performance and robust generalization across domains of our proposed method.

* ijcai2019
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Latent fingerprints are one of the most important and widely used sources of evidence in law enforcement and forensic agencies. Yet the performance of the state-of-the-art latent recognition systems is far from satisfactory, and they often require manual markups to boost the latent search performance. Further, the COTS systems are proprietary and do not output the true comparison scores between a latent and reference prints to conduct quantitative evidential analysis. We present an end-to-end latent fingerprint search system, including automated region of interest (ROI) cropping, latent image preprocessing, feature extraction, feature comparison , and outputs a candidate list. Two separate minutiae extraction models provide complementary minutiae templates. To compensate for the small number of minutiae in small area and poor quality latents, a virtual minutiae set is generated to construct a texture template. A 96-dimensional descriptor is extracted for each minutia from its neighborhood. For computational efficiency, the descriptor length for virtual minutiae is further reduced to 16 using product quantization. Our end-to-end system is evaluated on three latent databases: NIST SD27 (258 latents); MSP (1,200 latents), WVU (449 latents) and N2N (10,000 latents) against a background set of 100K rolled prints, which includes the true rolled mates of the latents with rank-1 retrieval rates of 65.7%, 69.4%, 65.5%, and 7.6% respectively. A multi-core solution implemented on 24 cores obtains 1ms per latent to rolled comparison.

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Semantic parsing converts natural language queries into structured logical forms. The paucity of annotated training samples is a fundamental challenge in this field. In this work, we develop a semantic parsing framework with the dual learning algorithm, which enables a semantic parser to make full use of data (labeled and even unlabeled) through a dual-learning game. This game between a primal model (semantic parsing) and a dual model (logical form to query) forces them to regularize each other, and can achieve feedback signals from some prior-knowledge. By utilizing the prior-knowledge of logical form structures, we propose a novel reward signal at the surface and semantic levels which tends to generate complete and reasonable logical forms. Experimental results show that our approach achieves new state-of-the-art performance on ATIS dataset and gets competitive performance on Overnight dataset.

* Accepted by ACL 2019 Long Paper
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Microblog has become a popular platform for people to post, share, and seek information due to its convenience and low cost. However, it also facilitates the generation and propagation of fake news, which could cause detrimental societal consequences. Detecting fake news on microblogs is important for societal good. Emotion is a significant indicator while verifying information on social media. Existing fake news detection studies utilize emotion mainly through users stances or simple statistical emotional features; and exploiting the emotion information from both news content and user comments is also limited. In the realistic scenarios, to impress the audience and spread extensively, the publishers typically either post a tweet with intense emotion which could easily resonate with the crowd, or post a controversial statement unemotionally but aim to evoke intense emotion among the users. Therefore, in this paper, we study the novel problem of exploiting emotion information for fake news detection. We propose a new Emotion-based Fake News Detection framework (EFN), which can i) learn content- and comment- emotion representations for publishers and users respectively; and ii) exploit content and social emotions simultaneously for fake news detection. Experimental results on real-world dataset demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed framework.

* 7 pages, 6 figures
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State-of-the-art face recognition systems are based on deep (convolutional) neural networks. Therefore, it is imperative to determine to what extent face templates derived from deep networks can be inverted to obtain the original face image. In this paper, we study the vulnerabilities of a state-of-the-art face recognition system based on template reconstruction attack. We propose a neighborly de-convolutional neural network (\textit{NbNet}) to reconstruct face images from their deep templates. In our experiments, we assumed that no knowledge about the target subject and the deep network are available. To train the \textit{NbNet} reconstruction models, we augmented two benchmark face datasets (VGG-Face and Multi-PIE) with a large collection of images synthesized using a face generator. The proposed reconstruction was evaluated using type-I (comparing the reconstructed images against the original face images used to generate the deep template) and type-II (comparing the reconstructed images against a different face image of the same subject) attacks. Given the images reconstructed from \textit{NbNets}, we show that for verification, we achieve TAR of 95.20\% (58.05\%) on LFW under type-I (type-II) attacks @ FAR of 0.1\%. Besides, 96.58\% (92.84\%) of the images reconstruction from templates of partition \textit{fa} (\textit{fb}) can be identified from partition \textit{fa} in color FERET. Our study demonstrates the need to secure deep templates in face recognition systems.

* To appear in TPAMI, IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, 2018
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Crowd counting usually addressed by density estimation becomes an increasingly important topic in computer vision due to its widespread applications in video surveillance, urban planning, and intelligence gathering. However, it is essentially a challenging task because of the greatly varied sizes of objects, coupled with severe occlusions and vague appearance of extremely small individuals. Existing methods heavily rely on multi-column learning architectures to extract multi-scale features, which however suffer from heavy computational cost, especially undesired for crowd counting. In this paper, we propose the single-column counting network (SCNet) for efficient crowd counting without relying on multi-column networks. SCNet consists of residual fusion modules (RFMs) for multi-scale feature extraction, a pyramid pooling module (PPM) for information fusion, and a sub-pixel convolutional module (SPCM) followed by a bilinear upsampling layer for resolution recovery. Those proposed modules enable our SCNet to fully capture multi-scale features in a compact single-column architecture and estimate high-resolution density map in an efficient way. In addition, we provide a principled paradigm for density map generation and data augmentation for training, which shows further improved performance. Extensive experiments on three benchmark datasets show that our SCNet delivers new state-of-the-art performance and surpasses previous methods by large margins, which demonstrates the great effectiveness of SCNet as a single-column network for crowd counting.

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Salient object detection is a fundamental problem and has been received a great deal of attentions in computer vision. Recently deep learning model became a powerful tool for image feature extraction. In this paper, we propose a multi-scale deep neural network (MSDNN) for salient object detection. The proposed model first extracts global high-level features and context information over the whole source image with recurrent convolutional neural network (RCNN). Then several stacked deconvolutional layers are adopted to get the multi-scale feature representation and obtain a series of saliency maps. Finally, we investigate a fusion convolution module (FCM) to build a final pixel level saliency map. The proposed model is extensively evaluated on four salient object detection benchmark datasets. Results show that our deep model significantly outperforms other 12 state-of-the-art approaches.

* 10 pages, 12 figures
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We address the problem of comparing fingerphotos, fingerprint images from a commodity smartphone camera, with the corresponding legacy slap contact-based fingerprint images. Development of robust versions of these technologies would enable the use of the billions of standard Android phones as biometric readers through a simple software download, dramatically lowering the cost and complexity of deployment relative to using a separate fingerprint reader. Two fingerphoto apps running on Android phones and an optical slap reader were utilized for fingerprint collection of 309 subjects who primarily work as construction workers, farmers, and domestic helpers. Experimental results show that a True Accept Rate (TAR) of 95.79 at a False Accept Rate (FAR) of 0.1% can be achieved in matching fingerphotos to slaps (two thumbs and two index fingers) using a COTS fingerprint matcher. By comparison, a baseline TAR of 98.55% at 0.1% FAR is achieved when matching fingerprint images from two different contact-based optical readers. We also report the usability of the two smartphone apps, in terms of failure to acquire rate and fingerprint acquisition time. Our results show that fingerphotos are promising to authenticate individuals (against a national ID database) for banking, welfare distribution, and healthcare applications in developing countries.

* 9 pages, 16 figures, 5 tables, conference
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