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Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

3-D Medical Imaging Reaches The Stars

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Staff Writers

A unique collaboration created by Harvard's Initiative for Innovative Computing (IIC) has brought together astronomers, medical imaging specialists, and software engineers to adapt medical imaging software to create 3-D views of astronomical bodies.

"Once this technology is fully developed, we will be able to explore and visualize space in entirely new ways," said Alyssa Goodman, Director of the IIC and a Professor of Astronomy in Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Goodman discussed results from the IIC's Astronomical Medicine Project, or AstroMed, last week at the IIC's Inaugural Symposium in Cambridge, Mass.

AstroMed typifies the work of the IIC, bringing together computer scientists and their colleagues in other disciplines to develop new approaches to scientific problem-solving - in this case, solving problems common to both astronomy and medicine, particularly the visualization and analysis of large, complex data sets.

In pursuit of that goal, AstroMed researchers are working to modify existing medical imaging programs for use in astronomical research. The revised programs can generate 3-D views of cosmic structures, just as physicians generate 3-D views of anatomical structures.

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