Benchmark area: Fingerprint Indexing

This benchmark area contains fingerprint indexing benchmarks. Fingerprint indexing consists in comparing a query fingerprint against a large database and to select the most similar candidates. Algorithms submitted to these benchmarks are required to search a set of query fingerprints over a given fingerprint database, producing, for each query, a candidate list containing the most similar database fingerprints sorted by similarity.


Currently, the following benchmarks are available:

  • FIDX-TEST: A simple dataset useful to test algorithm compliancy with the testing protocol (results obtained on this benchmark are only visible in the participant private area and cannot be published).
  • FIDX-10K-1.0: The benchmark consists of ten thousand fingerprints to be indexed and one hundred fingerprints to be searched. Each searched fingerprint has one mate in the indexed ones. Images were acquired in operational conditions using high-quality optical scanners.
  • FIDX-50K-1.0: The benchmark consists of fifty thousand fingerprints to be indexed and five hundred fingerprints to be searched. Each searched fingerprint has one mate in the indexed ones. Images were acquired in operational conditions using high-quality optical scanners.

The table below reports the main characteristics of each benchmark:

Benchmark Scanner Type Resolution Image Size Indexed Images Searched Images
FIDX-TEST Optical 500 dpi 400x500 100 10
FIDX-10K-1.0 Optical 500 dpi 400x500 10000 100
FIDX-50K-1.0 Optical 500 dpi 400x500 50000 500

Some sample images with the same format used in the benchmarks of this area are available in the download page.

The following sections report the testing protocol and the performance indicators common to all benchmarks in this area.


Each participant is required to submit, for each algorithm, one executable named Index.exe in the form of Win32 console application.

The executable will take the input from command-line arguments and will save the output to file into a specific format.

  • The command-line syntax is:

    Index.exe <indexfile> <outputfolder>


    is a test file containing the file path of each fingerprint to be indexed. Each line of the file contains the file path of a fingerprint and the corresponding unique identifier (ID).
    outputfolder is the path of the folder where the candidate list files have to be saved.
  • The algorithm is required to enroll the database of fingerprints (each associated to a given ID) and store in memory any data structure or other information which is required for the indexing. Then the algorithm is required to search a set of query fingerprints over the database and, for each query, to return a (possibly short) candidate list as quickly as possible. Each candidate list must contain the IDs of the most similar database fingerprints and must be saved as text file, with one ID per line (separated by a new line '\n' character), sorted by similarity in descending order.
  • During database fingerprint enrollment, the algorithm is required to write the file name of each enrolled fingerprint to a named pipe, in order to inform the caller about its progress status. When all the database fingerprints are written to the named pipe, the caller starts to write the file paths of query fingerprints to the same named pipe: the algorithm is required to read each file path from the pipe, load the fingerprint image, search it over the database, save the candidate list file, and write back the file path to the pipe, in order to receive the next query file name, if any.
  • C and C# language skeletons for Index.exe are available in the download page to reduce the participants implementation efforts. These source files perform all the necessary I/O (including loading image, saving the candidate list files and reading/writing to the named pipe).


The submitted algorithms are executed on an Intel(R) Xeon(R) E5410 CPU @ 2.33GHz with 4GB of RAM. During test execution the following constraints will be enforced:

Benchmark Maximum test execution time
FIDX-TEST 2 minutes
FIDX-10K-1.0 120 minutes
FIDX-50K-1.0  600 minutes

Each algorithm that violates one of the above constraints results in an execution failure and no performance indicators are provided.

The following time breaks are enforced between two consecutive submissions to the same benchmark by the same participant.

Benchmark Minimum break
FIDX-TEST 12 hour(s)
FIDX-10K-1.0 30 day(s)
FIDX-50K-1.0 30 day(s)

Performance Evaluation

The performance of fingerprint indexing approaches is typically evaluated by reporting the trade-off between Error Rate (ER) and Penetration Rate (PR). The error rate is defined as the percentage of searched fingerprints that are not found; the penetration rate is the portion of database that the system has to search on the average (corresponding to the average length of the candidate lists). In this benchmark area, the ER/PR trade-off depends on a parameter (MaxPR) controlling the maximum portion of database to be considered: the ER/PR is calculated for MaxPR values in the range [1%,…,100%]. Each value of MaxPR corresponds to a maximum number of candidates MaxC=MaxPR*NDB/100, where NDB is the total number of database fingerprints: if a candidate list is longer than MaxC, only the first MaxC candidates are considered to calculate the corresponding PR and ER values. The following pseudo-code describes the procedure in detail. Note that the length of the candidate list produced by an algorithm can be different for each query fingerprint: for instance an algorithm, based on its internal scores or probabilities, may decide to produce a very short candidate list for some queries and longer candidate lists for others. A shorter candidate list will results in lower PR values, but may produce more errors, hence this aspect should be carefully considered by algorithm developers (see also [1] [2]).

pseudo code

For each algorithm, the following accuracy performance indicators are calculated according to the above procedure, and reported:

  • ER100 (the lowest PR for ER1%)
  • ER1000 (the lowest PR for ER0.1%)
  • Graph of the trade-off between ER and PR

Besides the above performance indicators, another retrieval scenario (called Incremental Search), where an ideal matching algorithm is used to stop the search as soon as the right candidate is retrieved, is considered. In such a scenario there are no retrieval errors since, in the worst case, the search can be extended to the whole database, and the average penetration rate is reported as a single performance indicator:

  • IS (the average PR in the Incremental Search scenario)

Finally, for each algorithm, the following efficiency performance indicators are reported:

  • Average enrollment time
  • Average search time
  • Total execution time

[1] R. Cappelli, M. Ferrara and D. Maltoni, "Fingerprint Indexing based on Minutia Cylinder-Code", IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis Machine Intelligence, vol.33, no.5, pp.1051-1057, May 2011.
[2] R. Cappelli, M. Ferrara and D. Maio, "Candidate List Reduction based on the Analysis of Fingerprint Indexing Scores", IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security, vol.6, no.3, pp.1160-1164, September 2011.

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