Carnegie Mellon University

Marios Savvides

Marios Savvides

Research Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Bossa Nova Robotics Professor of Artificial Intelligence, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Director, CyLab Biometrics Center

Address 5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Prof. Marios Savvides is the Founder and Director of the Biometrics Center at Carnegie Mellon University and is a Research Professor at the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department and CMU CyLab. He received his B.Eng in Microelectronics Systems Engineering from UMIST, U.K., his Masters of Science in Robotics from the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University and his PhD from the Electrical and Computer Engineering also at Carnegie Mellon University.

He is also one of the tapped researchers to form the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) 1st Center of Academic Excellence in Science and Technology (CASIS). His research is mainly focused on developing algorithms for robust face and iris biometrics as well as pattern recognition, machine vision and computer image understanding for enhancing biometric systems performance. He is on the program committee on several Biometric conferences such as IEEE BTAS, ICPR, SPIE Biometric Identification, IEEE AutoID and others as well as organizing and co-chairing Robust Biometrics Understanding the Science & Technology (ROBUST 2008) conference. He was an annual invited speaker at IDGA's main conference on Biometrics for National Security and Defense.

He has authored and co-authored over 170 journal and conference publications, including several book chapters in the area of Biometrics and served as the area editor of the Springer's Encyclopedia of Biometrics. He helped co-develop the IEEE Certified Biometrics Professional (CBP) program and was on the main steering committee of the IEEE CBP program. His achievements include leading the R&D in CMU's past participation at NIST's Open  Face Recognition Grand Challenge 2005 (CMU ranked #1 in Academia and Industry at hardest experiment #4) and also in NIST's Iris Challenge Evaluation (CMU ranked #1 in Academia and #2 against iris vendors) - his group was the only one to attempt both challenges.

Prof. Savvides is listed in Marquis Who’s Who in America and in Marquis’ Who’s Who in Science & Engineering. He has filed over 20 patent applications in area of Biometrics and is the co-recipient of CMU’s 2009 Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT) Outstanding Research Award.


Ph.D., 2004 
Electrical and Computer Engineering 
Carnegie Mellon University

M.S., 2000 
Carnegie Mellon University

BEng, 1997 
Microelectronics Systems Engineering 
University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology


Biometric Identification

My research is focused on how to recognize a person based on their biometrics, e.g. their face, iris, fingerprint or palm print. These biometrics offer characteristics unique to each individual. Most of the security systems rely on passwords, swipe cards, and RF ID tags to recognize and grant access to users. However these can easily be lost or stolen, which can lead to intruders gaining access to secure physical and virtual spaces. These problems are overcome if one uses biometrics as a method to authenticate a user's identity. Biometric recognition has many challenges as the appearance of the biometrics can vary at the time of acquisition, e.g. in face recognition, a person's face can appear different due to variations in lighting, change in pose and expression. My research is focused on developing robust algorithms that can handle these type of intra-class variations with different biometric modalities. I am also researching reducing the complexity of these algorithms so that they can be implemented on small form-factor devices such as PDAs and cell-phones.


  • Biometric identification
  • Pattern recognition
  • Computer and robot vision
  • Image understanding
  • Image and signal processing

Related news

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Using AI to Recycle Bottles

A collaborative project in partnership with CMKL University aims to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) system to accurately screen bottles for reuse and recycling.
Monday, April 01, 2019

Savvides on AI and facial recognition

CyLab/ECE’s Marios Savvides spoke with CNET in an article about how AI has helped to drastically improve facial recognition.
Thursday, March 21, 2019

Savvides on the future of airport security

Marios Savvides was interviewed by the Twin Cities Pioneer Press about the future of airport security and the role advancing technology will play.
Monday, January 14, 2019

Savvides recognized at Immigrant Entrepreneur Celebration

Marios Savvides was one of eight people recognized at GlobalPittsburgh’s 3rd Annual Immigrant Entrepreneur Celebration and Award Ceremony.
Tuesday, December 11, 2018

CyLab researchers quoted in NYT

CyLab's Marios Savvides, Lujo Bauer, Jason Hong, Kathleen Carley, Martin Carlisle, and Carolina Zarate were featured in a New York Times piece about various ongoing research thrusts in CyLab to help combat cyberattacks.
Monday, November 05, 2018

Savvides comments on biometrics in airports

Popular Science quoted CyLab/ECE’s Marios Savvides in an article on biometric tech in airports.
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Savvides voices support for TSA biometrics

The TSA announced a plan to increase its use of biometrics, such as facial recognition, to streamline the airport security process.
Monday, July 30, 2018

CMU, Bossa Nova to apply AI to retail analytics

Carnegie Mellon University has announced a research partnership with Bossa Nova, the leading provider of real-time, on-shelf product data for the global retail industry, to develop and integrate artificial intelligence into service robots in retail stores nationwide.
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Savvides on iPhone X's facial recognition technology

Apple unveiled its new iPhone X and the world watched in awe as senior vice president Craig Federighi accessed the device using facial recognition by simply looking at it. Rest assured, this is a big deal, but what Apple missed that this kind of facial recognition is already possible without all of the high-technology sensors in the iPhone X’s “TrueDepth” camera system. In fact, it can be done with a very low-cost webcam and some advanced machine-learning algorithms.
Friday, September 29, 2017

Savvides quoted on Apple’s facial recognition technology

Recently, Apple released its newest device, the iPhone X, with a price tag of nearly $1,000. The new iPhone uses facial recognition technology instead of fingerprint detection to help customers secure their data. But is there something even more reliable we could be using?
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Savvides quoted in Vocativ on the benefits of iris scanners

In an article published by Vocativ, ECE/CyLab's Marios Savvides explained how iris scanners can help make smart phones more secure.
Monday, February 06, 2017

Savvides gives talk at IDGA conference

Savvides joined an impressive lineup of speakers that included many government directors and program managers.
Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Researchers create tool that can predict what you look like solely based on your eyes

Savvides and his student authored a study on this topic that was just awarded “Best Student Paper” at the IEEE 8th International Conference on Biometrics: Theory, Applications and Systems.
Monday, August 22, 2016

Savvides quoted in WSJ on fingerprint ID systems

Presenting a physical card or ID number and then a fingerprint may not be the most convenient for consumers.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Savvides quoted in New Scientist on fingerprinting infants

ECE/CyLab's Marios Savvides was quoted in New Scientist on the implications of fingerprinting infants. Even though the technology now exists, some people have reservations about using it.