The HEp-2 Cells Classification contest is hosted by the 21st International Conference on Pattern Recognition (ICPR), which is the conference of the International Association for Pattern Recognition (IAPR). ICPR will be held during November 11-15, 2012 at the Tsukuba International Congress Center, Tsukuba, Japan.

The contest focuses on Indirect Immunofluorescence (IIF), which is suited to search antibodies in the patient serum for diagnostic purposes, in order to reveal the presence of autoimmune diseases. Due to its effectiveness in the recent years we have assisted to a growing demand of diagnostic tests for for systemic autoimmune diseases. Unfortunately, today the indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) is still a subjective method too dependent on the experience and expertise of the physician. As a consequence, there is a strong demand for a complete automation of the procedure. In fact, a fully automated IIF procedure would guarantee easier and faster result reporting, increased test repeatability and lower costs.

In the last years some research groups have proposed different algorithms for the analysis of IIF images. However, the validation of the proposed methods has been carries out on small and private datasets. This competition aims to bring researchers interestes in performance evaluation of algorithms for IIF images analysis on the same dataset. To this aim the contest will regard the comparison of systems able to automatically recognize the pattern of cells within IIF images. Through this competition it will be possible to compare different solutions on a large and significant set of real data. Furthermore, this initiative is also intended to increase the interest of the scientific community toward this applicative area.