Fast, Power-Efficient Biophotonic Simulations for Cancer Treatment Using FPGAs

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Conference Paper · May 2014with17 Reads

Biophotonics, the study of light propagation through living tissue, is important for many medical applications ranging from imaging and detection through therapy for conditions such as cancer. Effective medical use of light depends on simulating its propagation through highly-scattering tissue. Monte Carlo simulation of photon migration has been adopted as the "gold standard" for its ability to capture complicated geometries and model all of the relevant problem physics. This accuracy and generality comes at a high computational cost, which limits the technique's utility. Greatly generalizing previous work, we present the first and only hardware-accelerated Monte Carlo biophotonic simulator that can accept complicated geometries described by tetrahedral meshes. Implemented on an Altera Stratix V FPGA, it achieves high performance (4×) and extremely high energy efficiency (67×) compared to a tightly-optimized multi-threaded CPU implementation, with demonstrated potential to expand the performance gains even further to 15-20×, which would enable important clinical and research applications.

Fig. 2. Overview of Monte Carlo " hop, drop, spin " flow. This maps exactly to hardware functional blocks and data flows in our implementation. 

Fig. 2. Overview of Monte Carlo " hop, drop, spin " flow. This maps...