Take a sneak peek at the new NIST.gov and let us know what you think!
(Please note: some content may not be complete on the beta site.).

View the beta site
NIST logo



Multiple Biometric Grand Challenge 


Over the last decade, numerous government and industry organizations have or are moving toward deploying automated biometric technologies to provide increased security for their systems and facilities. Six U.S. Government organizations recently sponsored the Face Recognition Grand Challenge (FRGC) , Face Recognition Vendor Test (FRVT) 2006 and the Iris Challenge Evaluation (ICE) 2006. Results from the FRGC and FRVT 2006 documented two orders of magnitude improvement in the performance of face recognition under full-frontal, controlled conditions over the last 14 years. For the first time, ICE 2006 provided an independent assessment of multiple iris recognition algorithms on the same data set. However, further advances in these technologies are needed to meet the full range of operational requirements. Many of these requirements focus on biometric samples taken under less than ideal conditions, for example: Low quality still images High and low quality video imagery Face and iris images taken under varying illumination conditions Off-angle or occluded images Building on the challenge problem and evaluation paradigm of FRGC, FRVT 2006, ICE 2005 and ICE 2006, the Multiple Biometric Grand Challenge (MBGC) will address these problem areas. 

MBGC Overview

The primary goal of the MBGC is to investigate, test and improve performance of face and iris recognition technology on both still and video imagery through a series of challenge problems and evaluation. The MBGC seeks to reach this goal through several technology development areas:

  • Face recognition on still frontal, real-world-like high and low resolution imagery
  • Iris recognition from video sequences and off-angle images
  • Fusion of face and iris (at score and image levels)
  • Unconstrained face recognition from still & video
  • Recognition from Near Infrared (NIR) & High Definition (HD) video streams taken through portals
  • Unconstrained face recognition from still & video


The MBGC will consist of a set of challenge problems designed to advance the current state of technology and conclude with a planned independent evaluation. Challenge problems will focus on three major areas:

  • Iris and Face Recognition from Portal Video: the goal is to develop algorithms that recognize people from near infrared image sequences and high definition video sequences. The sequences will be acquired as people walk through a portal.

  • Iris and Face Recognition from Controlled Images: the goal is to improve performance on iris and face imagery. Face data will be real-world-like high and low resolution images of frontal faces. Iris images will consist of still and video iris sequences.
  • Still and Video Face: the goal is to advance recognition from unconstrained outdoor video sequences and still images.


These challenge problems will allow for fusion of face and iris at both the score level and the image level. Challenge problems will be defined more in-depth at the project's kick-off workshop.

Researcher Participation in the MBGC

The Multiple Biometric Grand Challenge (MBGC) project has officially ended, however, researchers can still obtain MBGC data for experimentation in their organization. Data and software licenses will need to be signed by legal authorities who are approved to sign licenses on behalf of your organization.

To obtain the MBGC distribution please follow the instructions for the MBGC license on http://www3.nd.edu/~cvrl/CVRL/Data_Sets.html.

Bookmark and Share