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Finding One Face In a Million

A new benchmark test shows that even Google’s facial recognition algorithm is far from perfect

3 min read
Photos: University of Washington
Photos: University of Washington

Helen of Troy may have had the face that launched a thousand ships, but even the best facial recognition algorithms might have had trouble finding her in a crowd of a million strangers. The first public benchmark test based on 1 million faces has shown how facial recognition algorithms from Google and other research groups around the world still fall well short of perfection.

Facial recognition algorithms that had previously performed with more than 95 percent accuracy on a popular benchmark test involving 13,000 faces saw significant drops in accuracy when taking on the new MegaFace Challenge. The best performer, Google’s FaceNet algorithm, dropped from near-perfect accuracy on the five-figure data set to 75 percent on the million-face test. Other top algorithms dropped from above 90 percent to below 60 percent. Some algorithms made the proper identification as seldom as 35 percent of the time.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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