DIMACS Workshop on Discrete Mathematical Problems and Medical Applications

December 8 - 10, 1999
DIMACS Center, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ

Ding-Zhu Du, University of Minnesota, dzd@cs.umn.edu
Panos M. Pardalos, University of Florida, pardalos@ophelia.ise.ufl.edu
Jie Wang, University of North Carolina, wang@uncg.edu
Presented under the auspices of the Special Year on Mathematical Support for Molecular Biology.

Computer technologies have been widely used in medical research. For instance, virtual endoscopy is a new medical technology developed in recent years, which allows physicians to examine computer simulations of patients' anatomy rendered from CT (computed tomography) scans, and provides the public with alternative medical procedures that are less painful, less costly, and less risky compared to conventional endoscopic procedures.

While the methodology of continuous mathematics is used in most research on medical computing, discrete algorithmic techniques have also played an important role in developing various medical applications. For example, graph optimization algorithms have been used in developing virtual endoscopy and dynamic programming techniques have been used in finding an optimal radiosurgical treatment plan. Many medical applications call for solutions to various discrete algorithmic problems. For instance, in radiosurgical treatment planning, it is important to find the best positions to place radiation doses within a target image. In gamma unit treatment planning, the dose delivery is based on the unit shot, which is approximately a spherical dose distribution in 3D space. For irregularly shaped target volumes, it is a challenging task to pack a set of shots together to yield an acceptable cumulative dose distribution. This is a discrete optimization problem, in which the location, collimator size, and relative weight of each shot, and the total shots being used are optimized at the same time.

The study of computing in medical applications has opened many challenging issues and problems for both the medical computing community and the algorithm community. This workshop is to foster communication and collaboration between medical computing and algorithm researchers.

The objectives of this workshop are to provide a forum where worldwide researchers and practitioners may meet and exchange of research ideas and interests, as well as to discuss the new trends and identify open problems in the development and deployment of this area.

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Document last modified on August 3, 1999.