John Daugman

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Residence Cambridge, England
Citizenship dual British and US
Fields computer vision, pattern recognition
Institutions Harvard University, Cambridge University
Alma mater Harvard University (A.B., Ph.D.)
Known for theory of vision; iris recognition algorithms
Notable awards Presidential Young Investigator Award
Information Technology Award and Medal, British Computer Society
Millennium Product Award
"Time 100" Innovators Award
Order of the British Empire
Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications
Fellow of the British Computer Society
Fellow of the International Association for Pattern Recognition
Induction into the US National Inventors Hall of Fame

John Daugman is Professor of Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition at the University of Cambridge, Faculty of Computer Science and Technology. He conducted research in computational neuroscience (wavelet models of mammalian vision) and in computer vision for the development of wavelet methods for image coding and analysis, and he invented the 2D Gabor wavelet-based iris recognition algorithm, which became the basis of all publicly deployed iris recognition systems.[1]


The son of émigrés Josef Petros Daugmanis from Latvia and Runa Inge Olsson from Sweden, John Daugman was schooled in America, received his A.B. and Ph.D. degrees at Harvard University, did a post-doctoral fellowship there and then taught at Harvard for 5 years. After short appointments in Germany and in Japan he joined the University of Cambridge in England to research and to teach computer vision, information theory, and statistical pattern recognition. He held the Johann Bernoulli Chair of Mathematics and Informatics at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, and the Toshiba Endowed Chair at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan [2] before becoming Professor at Cambridge.

Iris recognition algorithm[edit]

Main article: Iris recognition

Daugman filed for a patent for his iris recognition algorithm in 1991 while working at the University of Cambridge.[3] The algorithm was first commercialized in the late 1990s. His algorithm automatically recognizes persons in real-time by encoding the random patterns visible in the iris of the eye from some distance, and applying a powerful test of statistical independence. As of 2015 it was used in many identification applications such as the Unique IDentification Authority of India (UIDAI) for registering all 1.2 billion citizens of India for government services and entitlements, border crossing controls in United Arab Emirates and passport-free immigration in the UK, the Netherlands, USA, Canada, and other countries.

Daugman's algorithm uses a Gabor wavelet transform to extract the phase structure of the iris. This is encoded into a very compact bit stream, the IrisCode, that is stored in a database for identification purposes.[4]


He has received several awards, including:[5]

  • Presidential Young Investigator Award from the US National Science Foundation
  • Information Technology Award and Medal from the British Computer Society
  • "Millennium Product" Award from the UK Design Council
  • "Time 100" Innovators Award
  • OBE, Order of the British Empire, from Queen Elizabeth II[6]
  • Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (2011)
  • Fellow of the International Association for Pattern Recognition (2012)
  • Fellow of the British Computer Society, and CEng (2015)
  • Inducted into the US National Inventors Hall of Fame (2013)


  1. ^ "Biometric personal identification system based on iris analysis". Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  2. ^ "Plenary Speakers". Retrieved 2011-02-16. 
  3. ^ "Research Excellence Framework". Research Excellence Framework. Iris Recognition. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  4. ^ John Daugman. "How Iris Recognition Works". CiteSeerX: 
  5. ^ "American Scientist Online". Retrieved 2011-02-16. 
  6. ^ Sally Donnelly (2001-11-18). "Your Eyes Can Tell No Lies". Time. Retrieved 2011-02-16. 

External links[edit]