Departamento de Informática da Universidade da Beira Interior








 Important Dates



 Registered Participants









SOCIA Lab. – Soft Computing and Image Analysis Group 

Department of Computer Science, University of Beira Interior, 6201-001 Covilhã, Portugal




NICE.I Frequently Asked Questions


1.    What is the NICE.I contest?

The NICE.I contest is an iris segmentation contest that will evaluate the following task: to localize the regions that belong to the iris and are unobstructed by any type of noise, based on close-up and noisy iris images, resultant of less constrained imaging conditions

2.    What is the main goal of the NICE.I contest?

The NICE.I main goal is to evaluate the robustness to noise of iris segmentation and noise detection algorithms, toward iris recognition systems within less constrained image capturing conditions, eventually to covert ones, in the near future.

3.    What distinguishes the NICE.I from other similar contests?

There are two main factors that distinguish the NICE.I contest from others:

·         Other similar biometric contests (e.g., Iris Challenge Evaluation and Fingerprint Verification Competition) evaluate the complete recognition process, from the raw data preprocessing to the final identity decision. Oppositely, the NICE.I contest is focused on the segmentation of the noise-free iris data. Further, we hope to organize the second part of the contest (NICE.II) that starts from the segmented data and performs the biometric recognition.

·         The NICE.I contest operates on the highly noisy data of the UBIRIS.v2 database. This database has one fundamental characteristic that distinguishes it from the remaining ones: here the noise factors, rather than avoided, are induced. This enables the effective evaluation of the algorithms robustness.

4.    Who can participate in the NICE.I contest?

The NICE.I contest is open to individuals and institutions, either with academic, industrial, research or commercial purposes. Participations are allowed from any country of the world. Also, it is completely free of any monetary charge.

5.    When and where will the NICE.I contest take place?

The NICE.I is organized by the SOCIA Lab (Soft Computing and Image Analysis Group) and it will take place between July 2007 (start of the application forms reception period) and December 2008 (publication of the results and best methods on the Elsevier Image and Vision Computing Journal). The evaluation of the contest participations will take place at the SOCIA Lab, Department of Computer Science, University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal. Obviously, as the participations are submitted through the web, it is not required the physical presence of any contest participant. 

6.    What are the main advantages for the NICE.I participants?

Apart of evaluate the robustness of the iris segmentation and noise detections algorithms to highly noisy data, such as the contained by the second version of the UBIRIS database (UBIRIS.v2), the NICE.I best participants will have the opportunity to publish their algorithms in a high reputable ISI-indexed International Journal, such as the Elsevier Image and Vision Computing Journal. Also, the remaining participants will have the opportunity to publish their algorithms in the NICE.I contest proceedings (electronically, with ISBN). Finally, participants will receive a Java-based evaluation framework (binaries and source code), which will be used both in the development and in the evaluation stage to conclude about the algorithms’ accuracy.

7.    Is the publication of the results obligatory?

Although the NICE.I participations can’t be anonymous, it’s up to the participants to decide whether they want to publish their algorithms, either in the Elsevier Image and Vision Computing Journal, in the NICE.I proceedings or nowhere.  

8.    What kinds of executables are accepted?

The NICE.I organizing committee has decided to accept standalone executables that must execute in one of the following operating systems (Microsoft Windows XP, with Service Pack 2 or Fedora Core 6). Moreover, the main executable must be able to be called from the command line and receive two arguments: the input and output data paths.

9.    What libraries will be provided by the NICE.I organizing committee?

No libraries will be provided and previously installed on the NICE.I evaluation systems. All libraries that an executable requires will have to be provided and placed within the respective “lib” folder, or incorporated into the executable.

10. What if the executable does not run in the NICE.I evaluation system?

The NICE.I organizing committee decided to perform a conformance test for all the submitted executables during April, 2008. In this period, if the executable has some technical problem, the contact participant email will be used to report the problem and request its resolution.

In order to be considered valid, on May 1st, 2008 all the submitted executables must be running in the test system.

11. What is the expected installation procedure?

All the participations are submitted through the NICE.I email, in a compacted file. Further, there are two options:

·         The submittal is installed via direct copy to the correspondent participation folder. In this case, it should not be required any configuration steps.

·         If some configuration step is required, the submittal must include an installation program that performs all the file extractions and configurations.

12. What types of noise factors the second version of the UBIRIS database contains?

The aim of the second version of the UBIRIS database (UBIRIS.v2) is to realistically simulate less constrained image capturing conditions, either at-a-distance, on-the-move or with minimal users cooperation. When compared to its predecessor, this database contains more images and with more realistic noise factors, namely:

1.    Poor focused iris images.

2.    Off-angle iris images.

3.    Rotated iris images.

4.    Motion blurred iris images.

5.    Iris obstructions due to eyelashes.

6.    Iris obstructions due to eyelids.

7.    Iris obstructions due to glasses.

8.    Iris obstructions due to contact lenses.

9.    Iris with specular reflections.

10. Iris with lighting reflections.

11. Partial captured iris images.

12. Out-of-iris images.

13. From where application executables read the input data? And where write the output data to?

The submitted application executables should receive as input-line parameter the relative path to the folder from where the data should be read and be written to. For instance:

User1  Data/Training/Images/i1.tiff Participations/User1/Output/1/i1.bmp

The above command will execute the application executable of the “User1” NICE.I participation. The executable should read the image “i1.tiff” from the relative path Data/Training/Images/ and write the output image “i1.bmp” in the folder with relative path Participations/User1/Output/1/.

Also, please see the answer to question 12, which details the entire folder structure of the NICE.I contest framework.

14. How should, exactly, the classification be made?

The submitted NICE.I executables should distinguish between the regions of the iris that are not corrupted by noise and all the remaining ones. The first should be painted with black pixels and the later with white ones. Obviously, it should be stressed that only the local noise factors are possible to be locally detected. Thus, focus and blur problems are out of this local analysis.

In the following, two examples of the desired classification are shown. It can be seen that the regions that belong to the iris and are not evidently obstructed by eyelids, eyelashes or reflections are distinguished from the remaining ones.



Figure 1: Example of the desired classification.



Figure 2: Another example of the desired classification.


15. What does it means “evidently obstructed by any type of noise”?

For the terms of the NICE.I contest, it is considered that some portion of the iris is locally corrupted (obstructed) by any type of noise when the underlying appearance of the iris texture cannot be seen. For instance, in the lower regions of the iris of Figure 2, light reflections can be observed. However, the main texture can also be observed. These regions are not considered as noisy.

16. What is the folder structure of the NICE.I contest framework?


Figure 3: Folder structure of the NICE.I contest evaluation framework.

The above figure illustrates the hierarchical directory structure of the NICE.I contest evaluation framework. The description of each folder’s purpose is as follows:

·         NICE.I: main folder. This folder can be installed in any hard drive location. Thus, the participants’ executables should always use relative paths.

·         NICE.I/Bin: binary files required to run the evaluation framework.

·         NICE.I/Config: configuration files required by the above mentioned binaries.

·         NICE.I/Data: main data directory.

·         NICE.I/Data/Training: data files received at the start of the NICE.I contest. These will be used by the participants to develop their iris segmentation algorithms.

·         NICE.I/Data/Training/Classes: binary images in “.bmp” format that correspond to the manual classification of the training images, made by the NICE.I organizing committee.

·         NICE.I/Data/Training/Images: images of the training set. All the images have the same dimensions, resolution, bit depth and format (“.tiff”).

·         NICE.I/Data/Test: data files delivered to NICE.I participants after the deadline for the applications executables.

·         NICE.I/Data/Test/Classes: binary images in “.bmp” format that correspond to the manual classification of the test images, made by the NICE.I organizing committee.

·         NICE.I/Data/Test/Images: images of the test set. These will be used to evaluation the executables accuracy and obtain the results.

·         NICE.I/Doc: Help and manual files.

·         NICE.I/Participants: main folder of the contest participants. Each valid NICE.I participation will have a sub-folder correspondent to the given username.

·         NICE.I/Participants/User1: folder of the NICE.I participation with username equal to “User1”.

·         NICE.I/Participants/User1/Bin: application executables of the “User1” NICE.I participation. 

·         NICE.I/Participants/User1/Lib: any libraries needed by the executables should be installed into this folder.

·         NICE.I/Participants/User1/Output: this folder contains the output images correspondent to all the executions of the “User1” application. This can be useful in the algorithms development stage.

·         NICE.I/Participants/User1/Output/2007_12_11_18_15_12: folder that contains the output images of the “User1” application executable, which was run in December 11th, 2007 at 18:15:12.

·         NICE.I/Participants/User1/Temp: this folder should be used for any temporary files generated during the execution of the application executable.

·         NICE.I/Participants/UserN: folder of the NICE.I participation with username equal to “UserN”.

·         NICE.I/Results: main folder of the contest results. It contains the results of all the NICE.I participations and executions in two different formats: XML and CSV files.

·         NICE.I/Results/Csv: folder that contains the contest results in comma separated file format. The description of all the fields is given in the “NICE.I/Doc” folder.

·         NICE.I/Results/Xml: folder that contains the contest results in eXtensible Markup Language file format. The used DTD can be found [here].

·         NICE.I/Src: source files of the NICE.I contest framework. These are given essentially to enable further optimization / customization by the contest participants.

17. What are the folder permissions for a submitted executable?

Associated with any NICE.I participation it will be created a correspondent user by the evaluation framework. This user will have read / write permissions in the correspondent participation folder (for instance, NICE.I/Participants/User1 in the above example) and read permissions in the data input folders (NICE.I/Data/Training/Images and NICE.I/Data/Test/Images).

18. I still have some doubt that is not answered in his FAQ. What should I do?

You should contact the NICE.I organizing committee, through the following email address:









DI-UBI Bloco VI Rua Marquês de Ávila e Bolama P- 6201-001 Covilhã PORTUGAL