Soweon Yoon named CSE outstanding graduate student

Soweon Yoon is a doctoral candidate at MSU, where she is enrolled in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE). Soweon's research deals with the topic of fingerprint recognition, namely determining the identity of a person based on her fingerprints. Fingerprint recognition has been successfully practiced for identifying suspects and criminals for the past 100 years; systems for automatic fingerprint matching (AFIS), available since the late 1970s, are now deployed in virtually every country in the world. Despite this widespread use of fingerprint matching technology in diverse applications (iPhone 5s to US-VISIT program at international border crossings), there are a number of fundamental problems and challenges that have not received adequate attention. Soweon's Ph.D. research has addressed some of these difficult problems: (i) Can we construct a mathematical model of a fingerprint pattern? (ii) Does the fingerprint pattern persist during the lifetime of an individual?

The fingerprint model that Soweon constructed has been used to determine whether the image captured by a fingerprint reader is that of a natural fingerprint pattern or an obfuscated (altered) fingerprint pattern. Soweon's solution to this problem is theoretically elegant (published in the best journal in computer vision, IEEE Trans. PAMI) and, at the same time, is of immense practical value (MSU transferred the technology to Morpho, one of the largest fingerprint company). Her study on the persistence of fingerprints based on a large collection of longitudinal fingerprint data, for the first time, identified critical factors that degrade fingerprint matching accuracy over time. Soweon's work has made a significant impact in advancing state of the art in fingerprint recognition and is appreciated by her peers in academia, government and industry. Her publications have received "Best Paper" awards at major conferences. Based on her expertise in fingerprints, she is regularly invited to review papers for leading conferences and journals. In summary, Soweon is a dedicated researcher with proven depth of knowledge in fingerprint matching and she has pushed the frontiers of fingerprint matching. For these reasons, Soweon Yoon is being recognized as the CSE Outstanding Graduate Student for 2014.

(Date Posted: 2014-04-28)