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How Rare Is that Fingerprint? Computational Forensics Provides the First Clues

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University at Buffalo professor Sargur N. Srihari

University at Buffalo computer scientist Sargur N. Srihari has developed the first computational method of determining the rarity of fingerprints.

Credit: University at Buffalo

University at Buffalo researchers have developed a method to computationally determine how rare a particular fingerprint is and how likely it is to belong to a specific crime suspect. The Buffalo researchers created a probabilistic method to determine if a fingerprint would randomly match another in a database. The researchers say their study could help develop computational systems that quickly and objectively show how important fingerprints are to solving crimes.

"Our research provides the first systematic approach for computing the rarity of fingerprints in a scientifically robust and reliable manner," says Buffalo professor Sargur N. Srihari. Determining the similarity between two sets of fingerprints and the rarity of a specific configuration of ridge patterns are the two main types of problems involved in fingerprint analysis, Srihari says.

The Buffalo method relies on machine learning, statistics, and probability.

From University at Buffalo
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