The research project, started in August 2012, is led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) under a strategic consortium with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), General Electric (GE) Global Research and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The broad, long-term objective of this research initiative is to bring massively parallel computing power, currently available only to National Labs and major research universities, to busy and resource-limited radiology clinics. This project’s goal is to demonstrate a new Monte Carlo radiation simulation software package, for a low-cost desktop high-performance computer, that will reduce the turn-around time for computed tomography (CT) imaging dose calculations from the current 10 hours to less than 1 minute. Such an innovative hardware/software solution is expected to revolutionize a wide range of clinical imaging and radiotherapy practice involving x-rays, gamma-rays, electrons, and protons. The users of this new tool include radiologists, radiological technologists, medical physicists, regulators, manufacturers and researchers who need to analyze patient radiation doses from x-ray CT examinations.
This multidisciplinary team of experts from nuclear engineering, Monte Carlo radiation transport theory, medical physics, computer science, clinical radiology, and CT scanner design will achieve the following specific aims:
- To develop a new Monte Carlo software package ARCHER that is specifically designed and optimized for the emerging heterogeneous computing platforms and to validate the software against a well-tested CPU-based Monte Carlo code package.
- To integrate the software with CT scanner models and a library of deformable patient phantoms.
- To demonstrate and evaluate clinical benefits of the new Monte Carlo computing tool for typical diagnostic CT scanning protocols.
- To establish a national resource center of Monte Carlo parallel-computing for the clinical radiological community.