Biometrics, Fall 2023


Course: COMP 388-002 / COMP 488-002 Computer Science Topics
Level: Undergraduate and Graduate
Instructor: Daniel Moreira (

Lectures: MON and WED, 4:15 to 5:30 PM, 218 Cuneo Hall
Office Hours: MON and TUE evenings, 6 to 8 PM, and WED mornings, 8 AM to noon, 310 Doyle Center or Zoom, by appointment


How do computers match a person’s fingerprints? Do they still use the same techniques proposed in the XIX century? How do computers identify people captured in a video? Do they leverage the depicted faces only, or can they use other traits such as gait or voice? How about iris recognition as portrayed in the movies? Is it really possible? What happens in the case of people who look very similar, such as identical twins? Which traits are more reliable and robust to impersonation or prone to falsification? These are some of the questions we will address in this course, whose main topic is Biometrics. In a nutshell, Biometrics is the study of techniques to identify individuals through their physical, chemical, and behavioral traits, such as fingerprints, face, iris, DNA, voice, gait, etc. Our focus will be on the technical and ethical aspects of computer-aided Biometrics, discussing the issues of going from simple and benign authentication to the more problematic case of surveillance. The course will have an intense hands-on approach, with the collection of samples and implementation of fingerprint, face, and iris recognition.

Requirements to attend this course are basic programming skills (especially Python). This course and its materials are also available in Sakai.


Important Dates

  • 08/28 - First Class
  • 09/04 - Labor Day, no classes
  • 09/11 - 1st Coding Class
  • 09/25 - 2nd Coding Class and Fingerprint Collection
  • 10/04 - Midterm Exam
  • 10/09 - Fall Break, no classes
  • 11/22 - Thanksgiving, no classes
  • 12/06 - Project presentations
  • 12/11-16 - Final Exam, more details soon
  • More updates soon

Notebooks (for coding classes)

  • Notebook 01, Metrics’ implementation.
  • Notebook 02, soon.
  • Notebook 03, soon.
  • Notebook 04, soon.

Invited Talks

  • Soon


Concept  Interval (%)  Concept  Interval (%)  Concept  Interval (%)  Concept  Interval (%)
A [96, 100) B+ [88, 92) C+ [76, 80) D+ [64, 68)
A- [92, 96) B [84, 88) C [72, 76) D [60, 64)
B- [80, 84) C- [68, 72) F (0, 60)


Undergraduate   Graduate
Assignments (4)   40% 25%
Exams (2) 50% 40%
Project +10% (extra) 25%
Participation 10% 10%
On the News +1% (extra) +1% (extra)


  • Assignment 1, Metric Collection, supporting data.
  • Assignment 2, Fingerprint Recognition, more soon
  • Assignment 3, Face Recognition, more soon
  • Assignment 4, Iris Recognition, more soon

Late Policy
Deduction of 10% of the maximum possible grade for each day of delay.


  • Midterm Exam, 10/04, more soon
  • Final Exam, 12/11-16, more soon


  • Written report and presentation, work alone or in pairs, more soon

Possible Topics

  • Presentation attack (performance, detection, and mitigation) of fingerprint recognition.
  • Presentation attack of face recognition.
  • Presentation attack of iris recognition.
  • Implementation of complete class attendance system.
  • Implementation of recognition of traits other than fingerprints, face, and iris.
  • Presentation and implementation of state-of-the-art scientific publications.
  • Discussion about the ethical aspects of Biometrics and surveillance.


  • Class Attendance: every presence counts
  • Today-I-missed Statements: every submission counts

Today-I-missed Statements

After every attended class, each student will have to submit (through Sakai) a short paragraph answering one of the following:

  1. What is your biggest question after class? OR
  2. What was the most interesting point you learned today?

Inspired by Dr. Sandra Avila.

Today I missed…

Oopsie Cards

Each student has three “Oopsie” Cards, which will allow them to avoid losing points because of class absence and lack of Today-I-missed Statement submissions. They might also use their cards to excuse late-delivered assignments. The cards are not valid to dismiss or postpone exam and final project dates. Students may use their three cards at their own discretion, as long as they clearly communicate the instructor.

Life happens, be wise.

Oopsie card.

Biometrics on the News

Posted by the students and the instructor on Sakai.

  1. Koalas have fingerprints almost identical to ours.
  2. Brazilian thief spoofed victims faces.
  3. Fingerprint cloning: myth or reality?
  4. Data leak of 1M people’s biometric data in UK.

  1. Samsung phones use ultrasonic fingerprint device.
  2. Apple uses capacitive fingerprint device (with 500 ppi).

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to adhere to the LUC statements on academic integrity available at These policies fully apply to this course. The penalty for task-wise academic misconduct is losing all the task’s points. Multiple events of misconduct will incur in failing the entire course (with an F grade). All cases of academic misconduct will be reported to the proper department offices. Lastly, students are not allowed to use AI assisted technology (such as ChatGPT) along the entirety of the course, unless explicitly authorized by the instructor.


Students who have disabilities and wish to request academic accommodations are advised to contact the Services for Students With Disabilities (SSWD) office at 773-508-3700 or as soon as possible. The SSWD office will provide accommodation letters that, once shared with the instructor, will be fully accommodated as per the terms of their content with no further questions.

Daniel Moreira
Daniel Moreira
Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Computer scientist with interests in (but not limited to) Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Media Forensics, and Biometrics.