There usually exist diverse variations in face images taken under uncontrolled conditions. Most previous work on face recognition focuses on particular variations and usually assume the absence of others. Such work is called controlled face recognition. Instead of the ‘divide and conquer’ strategy adopted by controlled face recognition, this paper presents one of the first attempts directly aiming at uncontrolled face recognition. The solution is based on Individual Stable Neural Network (ISNN) proposed in this paper. ISNN can map a face image into the so-called Individual Stable Space (ISS), the feature space that only expresses personal characteristics, which is the only useful information for recognition. There are no restrictions for the face images fed into ISNN. Moreover, unlike many other robust face recognition methods, ISNN does not require any extra information (such as view angle) other than the personal identities during training. These advantages of ISNN make it a very practical approach for uncontrolled face recognition. In the experiments, ISNN is tested on two large face databases with vast variations and achieves the best performance compared with several popular face recognition techniques.
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