The Italian Inter-University Consortium CINECA is a large supercomputer centre, specialised in vector and parallel optimisation of algorithms and code development in all kinds of scientific fields. Diagnostic medical image processing is one of them. During the ITIS Conference, Dr. Sanzio Bassini and his colleague, Mrs. Cinzia Zannoni, presented some of the European Commission medical projects, in which CINECA has been involved. This interesting contribution showed how High Performance Computer Networking (HPCN) can offer extremely useful support in the pre- and post-processing of medical images, like it did in the ESPRIT based project, referred to as PROMISE.
Health care end-users progressively cherish high hopes towards a substantially enhanced speed of data processing, an optimised visualisation accuracy, and a sufficient storage capacity in the field of medical imaging. In this regard, HPCN is able to pay large services to the health care industry, just because it provides the necessary data processing power to meet the requirements expressed by hospital institutions. From a practical point of view, HPCN specialists form an ideal party to contribute in the development of testbed networks to link hospitals, clinics and medical schools by means of a collaborative technology. A second area relates to clinical validation of services. HPCN scientists can use their qualified experience to turn medical imaging systems into user-friendly and accurate presentation services. Still a lot of work needs to be done in this specific domain.
As for the HPCN requirements, this is a matter of integrating high tech innovations with existing structures in order to improve the performance of storage capacities while possibly reducing the cost at the same time. In any case, users should be kept in the loop at all stages of the optimisation process, since they have to be able to work with the proposed applications and equipment. Towards the European Commission, Dr. Bassini expresses his concern with regard to the problem of the standardisation. Concerted action needs to be undertaken between HPCN and ESPRIT. In addition, it is necessary to develop advanced applications for real time medical simulation and to provide dedicated funding for clinical system validation.
In collaboration with clinical and research institutions, CINECA has actively contributed to the PROMETEO project, trying to perform bone remodelling prediction by means of 3D reconstruction and finite modelling analysis. Mrs. Zannoni introduced some advanced SPECT reconstruction images to the ITIS audience. The application implies a new optimised method to develop an accurate CT scan images plan. HPCN centres can set up remote services with a client side, searching access to the Web server through a Web browser supporting Java applets. Please, check in at the CINECA Web site if you want to know more about HPCN with relationship to medical applications.