Saturday, March 19, 2005

 

British police use GAs to "evolve" suspects' faces

Economist and New Scientist report that:
British police are expected to begin trials of a new computerised system, called EvoFIT, developed by Drs. Charlie Frowd and Peter Hancock at University of Stirling. It uses an evolutionary approach, known as a genetic algorithm, to "evolve" faces rather than piece them together.



In one of its early versions, EvoFIT was used by police in Northamptonshire who were trying to catch a violent attacker. The attacker was never caught, but the senior investigating officer, Superintendent Paul Spick, says the witness involved found the new software much quicker and easier to use than traditional E-Fit systems. It was also more accurate: the final image caused the witness visible distress when displayed.
The report then goes on to say that the researchers have since made a number of improvements to their system which has yielded a 6-fold increase in the performance.

It should be pointed out that one of the first GA-based "photofit" tool is the Faceprints system of Caldwell and Johnston's, which dates back almost 15 years.

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