Facial Recognition Software Used to Analyze King Tut Images

UC Riverside engineering professor uses facial recognition software to show a bust of King Tut likely bears the likeness of Nefertitti, his step-mother

Amit Roy Chowdhury stands between several screeens

Amit Roy Chowdhury, a professor of electrical engineering

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — A University of California, Riverside professor of electrical engineering is featured on a recent episode of PBS’s “Secrets of the Dead” that offers fresh insights into King Tutankhamun.

Amit Roy Chowdhury, of UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering, used facial recognition software to answer the filmmaker’s question about whether the bust of King Tut found in one of his coffins was actually the face of Nefertitti, Tut’s step-mother.

Using sophisticated statistical analysis tests, Roy Chowdhury and his students found the middle coffin had a 65 percent similarity to Tutankhamun death mask, a finding that is not very informative since faces of two random people have a significant degree of similarity. He then found that the middle coffin had an 85 percent similarity to Nefertiti bust. He concluded that he has a high level of confidence that the representation in the middle coffin resembles Nefertiti.

Roy-Chowdhury, one of his students, Ramya Srinivasan, and Conrad Rudolph, a professor of art history at UC Riverside, will be presenting a paper detailing some of the same methods used in the King Tut episode, but applied to European Renaissance Art at The 21st ACM International Conference on Multimedia in October in Spain.

The full episode, called “Ultimate Tut,” can be viewed here: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/episodes/ultimate-tut-watch-the-full-episode/1049/ (Roy Chowdhury can be seen from 14:25 to 17:40).

To view a broadcast schedule of “Secrets of the Dead” visit: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/broadcast-schedule/

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-4756
E-mail: john.warren@ucr.edu

Additional Contacts

Amitt Roy Chowdhury
Tel: 951-827-7886
E-mail: amitrc@ee.ucr.edu

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