Encyclopedia of Biometrics

2009 Edition
| Editors: Stan Z. Li, Anil Jain

Individuality of Fingerprints

  • Sarat C. Dass
  • S. Pankanti
  • S. Prabhakar
  • Y. Zhu
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-73003-5_58



Fingerprint individuality is the study of the extent of uniqueness of fingerprints. It is the most important measure to be ascertained when fingerprint evidence is presented in court by experts. A measure of fingerprint individuality reflects the amount of uncertainty associated with the experts’ decision, which arises primarily due to the variability of feature characteristics in a pair of fingerprints. This inherent variability can cause random matching between the pair of fingerprints even if they are not from the same person. Fingerprint individuality aims to characterize this randomness in matching them quantitatively in terms of statistical models.


The two fundamental premises on which fingerprint identification is based are: (1) fingerprint details are permanent, and (2) fingerprints of an individual are unique. The validity of the first premise has...

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The authors like to thank Prof. Anil Jain for introduction of the fingerprint individuality problem to them and for many subsequent discussions that has helped them in their research in this area. This chapter was written under the support of the NSF DMS grant 0706385.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarat C. Dass
    • 1
  • S. Pankanti
    • 2
  • S. Prabhakar
    • 3
  • Y. Zhu
    • 4
  1. 1.Michigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.IBM T.J. Watson Research CenterHawthorneUSA
  3. 3.DigitalPersonaRedwood CityUSA
  4. 4.Discover Financial ServicesRiverwoodsUSA