Ensembles of deep learning models and transfer learning for ear recognition

Hammam Alshazly*, Christoph Linse, Erhardt Barth, Thomas Martinetz

*Corresponding author for this work
9 Citations (Scopus)


The recognition performance of visual recognition systems is highly dependent on extracting and representing the discriminative characteristics of image data. Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have shown unprecedented success in a variety of visual recognition tasks due to their capability to provide in-depth representations exploiting visual image features of appearance, color, and texture. This paper presents a novel system for ear recognition based on ensembles of deep CNN-based models and more specifically the Visual Geometry Group (VGG)-like network architectures for extracting discriminative deep features from ear images. We began by training different networks of increasing depth on ear images with random weight initialization. Then, we examined pretrained models as feature extractors as well as fine-tuning them on ear images. After that, we built ensembles of the best models to further improve the recognition performance. We evaluated the proposed ensembles through identification experiments using ear images acquired under controlled and uncontrolled conditions from mathematical analysis of images (AMI), AMI cropped (AMIC) (introduced here), and West Pomeranian University of Technology (WPUT) ear datasets. The experimental results indicate that our ensembles of models yield the best performance with significant improvements over the recently published results. Moreover, we provide visual explanations of the learned features by highlighting the relevant image regions utilized by the models for making decisions or predictions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4139
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 01.10.2019

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Intelligent Systems
  • Centers: Center for Artificial Intelligence Luebeck (ZKIL)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 409-05 Interactive and Intelligent Systems, Image and Language Processing, Computer Graphics and Visualisation


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