Convolutional neural networks for face recognition

Steve Lawrence, C. Lee Giles, Ah Chung Tsoi

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Faces represent complex, multidimensional, meaningful visual stimuli and developing a computational model for face recognition is difficult. We present a hybrid neural network solution which compares favorably with other methods. The system combines local image sampling, a self-organizing map neural network, and a convolutional neural network. The self-organizing map provides a quantization of the image samples into a topological space where inputs that are nearby in the original space are also nearby in the output space, thereby providing dimensionality reduction and invariance to minor changes in the image sample, and the convolutional neural network provides for partial invariance to translation, rotation, scale, and deformation. The method is capable of rapid classification, requires only fast, approximate normalization and preprocessing, and consistently exhibits better classification performance than the eigenfaces approach on the database considered as the number of images per person in the training database is varied from 1 to 5. With 5 images per person the proposed method and eigenfaces result in 3.8% and 10.5% error respectively. The recognizer provides a measure of confidence in its output and classification error approaches zero when rejecting as few as 10% of the examples. We use a database of 400 images of 40 individuals which contains quite a high degree of variability in expression, pose, and facial details.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-222
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
StatePublished - 1996
EventProceedings of the 1996 IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition - San Francisco, CA, USA
Duration: Jun 18 1996Jun 20 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition


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