Advanced Imaging

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Advanced Imaging Magazine

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

Adding Processing Power to Computed Tomography

The Cell Accelerator Board (CAB) is an accelerator card based on the Cell BE processor. Featuring the Mercury MultiCore Plus Advantage, the CAB is designed to deliver an unprecedented 180 GFLOPS of performance in a PCI Express ATX form factor suitable for compute-intensive applications such as rendering, ray tracing, video and image processing and signal processing.
Standard and statistical reconstruction of a mouse scanned in-vivo with a cone-beam micro-CT scanner. The statistical image reconstruction, which is iterative, exhibits 36 percent less noise than the standard images. This significant noise reduction corresponds to a dose reduction of 60 percent. With the Cell BE processor it is possible to routinely use the statistical image reconstruction algorithm even though its computational complexity is 12 times higher than for the standard reconstruction algorithm. Similar dose reduction values are possible for clinical CT.
Fast accurate CT image reconstruction of large data set with Cell BE processor.
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The Institute of Medical Physics (Erlangen, Germany)
Mercury Computer Systems (Chelmsford, Mass.)

The Imaging Challenge

Advances in sensor technology in Computed Tomography (CT) have created an increasing number of images per procedure, posing a challenge for processing in a timely manner that is compatible with the hospital workflow. The challenge is to do the fast reconstruction required, while keeping costs reasonable. Due to the lack of computational resources, this can lead to the use of less desirable approximation algorithms instead of more robust approaches available-because the processing power isn't there.

The Solution

The Institute of Medical Physics (IMP) and Mercury Computer Systems have developed a Cell Broadband Engine™ (BE) processor-based solution capable of performing modern CT reconstruction more than 100 times faster than conventional microprocessors. The Cell BE processor, developed by IBM, Toshiba and Sony is a breakthrough architectural design featuring eight synergistic processing elements that provides unmatched performance levels in many computationally intense applications. The Cell BE processor has peak performance in excess of 180 GFLOPS-which equates to 180 billion floating-point operations per second and an amazing 25 GB/s memory bandwidth. Mercury is offering Cell Technology to medical OEMs worldwide via the Cell Acceleration Board (CAB)-a PCI Express accelerator card based on the Cell BE processor-along with algorithms and multicore and multicomputer programming expertise. The level of parallelism along with the vast I/O capabilities permits the Cell BE processor to efficiently implement complex CT reconstruction algorithms with close to real-time performance. The Cell BE processor enables system design in which a radiologist can view images obtained from better algorithms, with higher quality, much sooner than ever before.

The Tools Used

  • Mercury's Cell Acceleration Board (CAB)
  • Mercury's MultiCore Plus™ SDK (Software Development Kit)
  • Mercury's Trace Analysis Tool and Library (TATL)

The Difference it Made

With the Cell Accelerator Board (CAB), more advanced approaches thought to be too demanding in terms of processing can now enter daily routine. The tremendous processing power of the Cell BE processor enables the use of more accurate iterative reconstruction algorithms designed for the reduction of beam hardening and metal artifacts. Analytical and statistical CT reconstruction algorithms that provide enhanced image quality, while keeping the X-ray exposure of the patient as low as possible, can now be implemented on the Cell BE processor-based platform at affordable cost for medical OEMs.



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