November 24, 2006
Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. has announced a cooperation with the Institute of Medical Physics (IMP) of Erlangen, Germany, which is focused on the joint development and commercialization of medical imaging technology deployed on the Cell Broadband Engine (BE) processor.
Under the terms of the agreement, Mercury is working together with the IMP on designing and implementing reconstruction and visualization algorithms with real-time performance on the Cell BE processor, to deliver orders-of-magnitude performance increases while also reducing the complexity and costs of medical image processing systems. Together with IMP technology, Mercury will integrate the algorithms into high-performance Cell BE processor-based systems designed to significantly accelerate the reconstruction and visualization of medical imaging data for medical OEMs.
Medical image reconstruction, such as that found in CT, tomosynthesis, PET and SPECT, is computationally demanding. Advances in medical sensor technology have created an increasing number of images per procedure, posing a tremendous challenge for processing and visualization in a timely manner that is compatible with the hospital workflow. As example of the joint work, Mercury and the IMP have developed a Cell BE processor-based solution capable of performing modern CT reconstruction more than 100 times faster than conventional microprocessors. 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 the radiologist can view images obtained from better algorithms, with higher quality, much sooner than before.
"With Cell technology, advanced approaches thought to be too demanding in terms of processing can now enter daily routine," said Marc Kachelriess, Professor of Medical Imaging at the IMP. "The tremendous processing power of the Cell BE processor enables the use of iterative reconstruction algorithms designed for the reduction of beam hardening and metal artifacts. Analytical and statistical CT reconstruction algorithms that allow for enhanced image quality, while keeping the X-ray exposure of the patient as low as possible, can also be implemented on a Cell BE processor-based platform."
The Cell BE processor, developed by IBM, Toshiba and Sony, features eight synergistic processing elements that provides high levels of performance for 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 25 GB/s memory bandwidth. Mercury has a multi-year agreement with IBM to deploy the Cell BE processor in computer systems for defense, life sciences, seismic, and industrial applications. Mercury is offering this 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.
"With Cell BE processor technology, Mercury offers its medical OEM customers the advantages of a cost-effective, high-performance platform for reconstruction and imaging" said Marcelo Lima, Vice President and General Manager of Commercial Imaging and Visualization at Mercury. "In addition, we can offer our customers access to some of the most advanced algorithm know-how on the planet, both through the IMP and Mercury, and help our customers get this advanced technology to market faster"
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