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## Face Recognition/Authentication Using Support Vector Machines

This post is part of a series on face recognition, I have been posting on face recognition for a while. There would be at least 7-8 more posts in the near future on the topic. Though I can not promise a time frame within which all would be up.

Previous Related Posts:

3. A Huge Collection of Datasets (Post links to a number of face image databases)

This post would reference two of my posts. One on SVMs and the other on Face Recognition using Eigenfaces.

Note: This post focuses on the idea behind using SVMs for face recognition and authentication. In future posts I will cover the various packages that can be used to implement SVMs and how to go about using them, and specifically for face recognition. The same can be easily extended to other similar problems such as content based retrieval systems, speech recognition, character or signature verification systems as well.

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Difference between Face Authentication (Verification) and Face Recognition (also called identification):

This might seem like a silly thing to start with. But for the sake of completeness, It is a good point to start with.

Face Authentication can be considered a subset of face recognition. Though due to the small difference there are a few non-concurrent parts in both the systems.

Face Authentication (also called verification) involves a one to one check that compares an input image (also called a query image, probe image or simply probe) with only the image (or class) that the user claims to be. In simple words, if you stand in front of a face authentication system and claim to be a certain user, the system will ONLY check if you are that user or not.

Face Recognition (or Identification) is another thing, though ofcourse related. It involves a one to many comparison of the input image (or probe or query image) with a template library. In simple words, in a face recognition system the input image will be compared with ALL the classes and then a decision will be made so as to identify to WHO the the input image belongs to. Or if it does not belong to the database at all.

Like I just said before, though both Authentication and Recognition are related there are some differences in the method involved, which are obvious due to the different nature of both.

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A Touch-Up of Support Vector Machines:

A few posts ago I wrote a post on why Support Vector Machines had this rather “seemingly” un-intuitive name. It had a brief introduction to SVMs as well. For those completely new to Support Vector Machines this post should help. I’ll still add a little for this post.

Support Vector Machine is a binary classification method that finds the optimal linear decision surface between two classes. The decision surface is nothing but a weighted combination of the support vectors. In other words, the support vectors decide the nature of the boundary between the two classes. Take a look at the image below:

The SVM takes in labeled training examples $\{\; x_i, y_i \}$, where $x_i$ represents the features and $y_i$ the class label, that could be either 1 or -1.  On training we obtain a set of Support Vectors $m$, multipliers $\alpha_i$, $y_i$and the term $b$. To understand what $b$ does, look at the above figure. It is somewhat like the intercept term $c$ in the equation of a straight line, $y = mx + c$. The terms $w$ and $x$ determine the orientation of the hyperplane while $b$ determines the actual position of the hyperplane.

As is indicated in the diagram, the linear decision surface is :

$w\star x + b = 0 \qquad(1)$

where $\displaystyle w = \sum_{i=1}^m \alpha_i y_i s_i$

where $s_i$ are the support vectors.

The above holds when the data (classes) is linearly separable. Sometimes however, that’s not the case. Take the following example:

The two classes are indicated by the two different colors. The data is clearly not LINEARLY separable.

However when mapped onto two dimensions, a linear decision surface between them can be made with ease.

Take another example. In this example the data is not linearly separable in 2-D, so they are mapped onto three dimensions where a linear decision surface between the classes can be made.

By Cover’s Theorem it is more likely that a data-set not linearly separable in some dimension would be linearly separable  in a higher dimension. The above two examples are simple, sometimes the data might be linearly separable at very high dimensions, maybe at infinite dimensions.

But how do we realize it? This done by employing the beautiful Kernel Trick. In place of the inner products we use a suitable Mercer Kernel. I don’t believe it is a good idea to discuss kernels here, or it will be a needless digression from face recognition. I promise to discuss it some time later.

Thus the non-linear decision surface changes from $\qquad(1)$ to:

$\displaystyle w = \sum_{i=1}^m \alpha_i y_i K(s_i, x) +b = 0 \qquad(2)$

Where $K$ represents a Kernel. It could be a Radial Basis (Gaussian) Kernel, A linear Kernel, A polynomial Kernel or a custom Kernel. :)

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Face Authentication is a two class problem. As I have mentioned earlier, here the system is presented with a claimed identity and it has to make a decision whether the claimant is really that person or not. The SVM in such applications will have to be fed with the images of one person, which will constitute one class and the other class will consist of images of other people other than that person. The SVM will then generate a linear decision surface.

For a input/probe image $p$, the identity is accepted if:

$w \star p + b < 0$

Or it is rejected. We can parameterize the decision surface by modifying the above as:

$w \star x + b = \Delta$

Then, a claim will be accepted if for a probe, $p$

$w \star p + b < \Delta$

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Now face recognition is a $\mathcal{K}$ class problem. Where $\mathcal{K}$ is the number of classes (or individuals).  Whereas the traditional Support Vector Machine is a binary classifier. So we’ll make a few changes to the way we are representing the faces to suit our classifier. I will come back to this in a while.

Feature Extraction: The faces will have to be represented by some appropriate features, these could be weights obtained using the Eigenfaces method, or using gabor features or anything else. I have written a post earlier that talked of a face recognition system based on Eigenfaces. I would direct the reader to check face representation using Eigenfaces there.

Using Eigenfaces, each probe $\Phi$could be represented as a vector of weights:

$\Omega = \begin{bmatrix}w_1\\w_2\\ \vdots\\w_M \end{bmatrix}$

After obtaining such a weight vector for the input or probe image and for all the other images stored in the library, we were simply finding the Euclidean or the Mahalanobis distance of the weight vector of the probe image with those of the images in the template library.  And then were recognizing the probe as a face that gave the minimum score provided it was below a certain threshold. I have discussed this is much detail there. And since I have, I would not discuss this again here.

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Representation in Difference Space:

SVMs are binary classifiers, that is – they give the class which might be 1 or -1, so we would have to modify the representation of faces a little bit than what we were doing in that previous post to make it somewhat more desirable. In the previous approach that is “a view based or face space approach”, each image was encoded separately. Here, we would change the representation and encode faces into a difference space. The difference space takes into account the dissimilarities between faces.

In the difference space there can be two different classes.

1. The class that encodes the dissimilarities between different images of the same person,

2. The other class encodes the dissimilarities between images of other people. These two classes are then given to a SVM which then generates a decision surface.

As  I wrote earlier, Face recognition traditionally can be thought of as a $\mathcal{K}$ class problem and face authentication can be thought of as a $\mathcal{K}$ instances two class problem. To reduce it to a two class problem we formulate the problem into a difference space as I have already mentioned.

Now consider a training set $\mathcal{T} = \{ \;t_1, \ldots, t_M\}$ having ${M}$ training images belonging to $\mathcal{K}$ individuals. Each individual can have more than one image, that means $M > \mathcal{K}$ ofcourse. It is from $\mathcal{T}$ that we generate the two classes I mentioned above.

1. The within class differences set. This set takes into account the differences in the images of the same class or individual. In more formal terms:

$\mathcal{C}_1 = \{ \; t_i - t_j | t_i \backsim t_j \}$

Where $t_i$ and $t_j$ are images and $t_i \backsim t_j$ indicates that they belong to the same person.

This set contains the differences not just for one individual but for all $\mathcal{K}$ individuals.

2. The between class differences set. This set gives the dissimilarities of different images of different individually. In more formal terms:

$\mathcal{C}_2 = \{ \; t_i - t_j | t_i \nsim t_j\}$

Where $t_i$ and $t_j$ are images and $t_i \nsim t_j$ indicates that they do not belong to the same person.

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Face Authentication:

For Authentication the incoming probe $p$ and a claimed identity $i$ is presented.

Using this, we first find out the similarity score:

$\delta = \displaystyle \sum_{i=1}^m \alpha_i y_i K(s_i, ClaimedID - p) +b$

We then accept this claim if it lies below a certain threshold $\Delta$ or else reject it. I have discussed the need for a threshold at the end of this post, please have a look. $\Delta$ is to be found heuristically.

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Face Recognition:

Consider a set of images $\mathcal{T} = \{ \;t_1, \ldots, t_M\}$, and a probe $p$ which is to be indentified.

We take $p$ and score it with every image in the set $t_i$:

$\delta = \displaystyle \sum_{i=1}^m \alpha_i y_i K(s_i, t_i - p) + b$

The image with the lowest score but below a threshold is recognized. I have written at the end of this post explaining why this threshold is important. This threshold is mostly chose heuristically.

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References and Important Papers

1. Face Recognition Using Eigenfaces, Matthew A. Turk and Alex P. Pentland, MIT Vision and Modeling Lab, CVPR ‘91.

2. Eigenfaces Versus Fischerfaces : Recognition using Class Specific Linear Projection, Belhumeur, Hespanha, Kreigman, PAMI ‘97.

3. Eigenfaces for Recognition, Matthew A. Turk and Alex P. Pentland, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience ‘91.

4. Support Vector Machines Applied to Face Recognition, P. J. Phillips, Neural Information Processing Systems ’99.

5. The Nature of Statistical Learning Theory (Book), Vladimir Vapnik, Springer ’99.

6. A Tutorial on Support Vector Machines for Pattern Recognition, Christopher J. C. Burges, Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery, ’99

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## Apologies and a Few Links

In the opening post for 2009 I had expressed my inability to post frequently because of a number of personal, professional and logistical reasons for some months this year, the posting frequency has been substantially less as compared to last year. Even though I had mentioned that I would not be around much, let me take this opportunity to apologize. However, the posting would be subdued for another month or so and then things should be back to normal.

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A post having only an apology is lame, so I thought I would add to the post some of the coolest stuff I came across on the internet in the last two days.

Richard Feynman on the Arrow of Time.

Playlist (5 parts of 9:30 minutes each)

These lectures were delivered at Cornell even tough by this time he had moved to Caltech.  Don’t miss these lectures, I just love the way he teaches.

Richard Feyman on Gravitation.

Playlist (7 parts of 8 minutes each)

I get absolutely delighted watching Feynman talk.

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BBC Radio 4 – Carl Sagan: A Personal Voyage

In one previous post I talked about Carl Sagan. Sagan was a wonderful man, one of the men I consider to be my personal heroes. As a kid I saw COSMOS three times, and I still watch some parts of it whenever I get the time or whenever I feel like it. The start to the series is one of the most beautiful to any TV series. COSMOS though launched in 1980 is still widely viewed and has inspired a generation of young and talented kids to science.

I just came across a programme on the BBC Radio 4 on Carl Sagan put up a few days back.  In this show Brian Cox talks about his hero – Carl Sagan. The show is very well done! The show starts with Brian Cox talking how COSMOS inspired him to take up Physics. the show is interspersed with Quotes, excerpts from the COSMOS series, interviews. And interestingly, I can tell which excerpts are from which part of COSMOS! :)

Click on the above image to Listen

However please note that the show is up only for a few days. So do hurry up to watch it. It is totally worth your one hour. I promise!

And apologies again for the much reduced posting frequency. I’ll be back soon enough.

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