// Success story / 2018

Error-tolerant similarity search at the Federal Ministry for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)

Starting case processing with reliable results from the person search.


The task was to improve the search for names and their different spellings in the MARiS workflow and document management system for processing asylum and Dublin procedures. For BAMF, exorbyte implemented the error-tolerant search in MARiS data and the identification of duplicates in a proof of concept and extended trial operation in 2018. The PoC was in line with the BAMF's quality offensive.

The results of the matchmaker platform were so outstanding ...


To reliably and quickly find data records on a person that were beyond biometric procedures, master data was made usable for similarity searches via the matchmaker technology platform. This facilitates case processing and reduces risks arising from the failure to find heterogeneous personal data.


Find similar person records

To get started with case processing in MARiS, matchmaker provides users with a single form field to enter search terms in an unstructured manner and find the relevant person records. The approximate search takes into account erroneous entries and different qualities in both the input and the reference data – regardless of script, language, format or transcriptions.

In addition to common phonetic transformations, matchmaker offers solutions for transliteration from writing systems such as Dewanagari, Hangul, Katakana and Mandarin. The specially developed canonicalization function for Arabic names abstracts a wide range of transcript variants. For example, the Latin letters (sequences) 'o', 'u', 'w', 'oo' and 'ou' corresponding to the same Arabic character 'و' are treated equivalently. If „محمد“ is usually transcribed as Muhammad in the Anglo-American language area, matchmaker also evaluates the variants Mohammed, Mohamed, Muhamed, Muhammed, Muhamet or Mohammad as a match.


The foundation for duplicate cleansing

Using the same algorithms that ensure data availability, clusters of potential person duplicates can be generated. Additional information, e.g. on family associations, is taken into account and visualized. In this way, duplicates can be detected automatically during data creation and preventive measures can be taken.


  • Simplification of data search
  • Improvement of hit quality
  • Acceleration of processes


Two men working with computer in a modern office

In a proof of concept with the working title "similarity search" that lasted several weeks, exorbyte impressively demonstrated its technological and professional expertise in finding similarities and fuzzy search on site. The results of the matchmaker platform were so outstandingly good that we launched a pilot operation with an expanded group of testers in spring 2018 for further evaluation. Being independent of writing, language or transcription means an enormous gain in security and reliability for our case decisions and the persons concerned themselves.

// Michaela Golbostan, Federal Ministry for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)

The Federal Office is the competence center for asylum, migration and integration in Germany. It is a federal authority in the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community (BMI). With its decentralized locations, including field offices, arrival centers and decision centers, it is in direct contact with all actors in refugee protection and integration work.


Your contact for the project

Thilo Torkler, Leiter Lösungsberatung, exorbyte GmbH

Thilo Torkler

Head of Solution Consulting

+49 1761 3633906

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