More than Meets the Eye: Physiological Face Recognition

Research Paper Takes Top Honors at International Summer Program

Photo of BuddharajuWhen graduate student Pradeep Buddharaju boarded a plane this summer for a research program in Italy, he brought his passport.  Imagine instead that he left his passport at home, relying on a thermal camera system to recognize his unique facial physiology and pass him through customs without any paperwork.
A doctoral student in the UH Computational Physiology Lab, Buddharaju works under advisor Professor Ioannis Pavlidis, who introduced the notion of physiological face recognition, which has potential applications as described above.        

Buddharaju is furthering this work through research of his own.

"Pradeep has developed a method to extract the topology of superficial facial vasculature, and he demonstrated in a substantial data set that this is a discriminating enough feature to be used in face recognition technology," explains Pavlidis. "Among the advantages of this novel methodology are permanence and forgery resistance, issues that traditional visual face analysis methods have problems with."

Buddharaju recently presented this research at the Summer School for Advanced Studies on Biometrics for Secure Authentication, a highly selective venue where graduate students from around the world compete for entry. 
He earned the school's Outstanding Paper Award, and the relevant article will also be published by the Springer Lecture Notes Series in Computer Science, as a token of recognition of its scholastic value.

"The methodological development is elegant and surprisingly mature for a junior Ph.D. student," says Pavlidis. "Therefore, it is no wonder that Pradeep is the author of four book chapters, a journal article in a top engineering journal (I.F. 4.0), and five refereed conference papers, ahead of defending his Ph.D. proposal."

Pradeep Buddharaju received his master's degree in Computer Science from UH in December 2005. 

"Pradeep's success is due to his talent and nonstop hard work. He juggles research in a highly competitive environment at the Computational Physiology Lab, an internship at Honeywell Laboratories every summer, and additional commitments associated with participation in prestigious forums like the School on Advanced Biometrics. He is an example of a new generation of world-class graduate students populating the ranks of the Computer Science Department at the University of Houston," says Pavlidis.

Pradeep's research is funded by National Science Foundation and Department of Defense grants of Professor Pavlidis.  For more information, please visit