A parallel optimisation approach for the realisation problem in intensity modulated radiotherapy treatment planning

Luke R Mason, Vicky Hing Mak, Andreas Tilman Ernst

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1 Citation (Scopus)


We propose a parallel algorithm for computing exact solutions to the problem of minimizing the number of multileaf collimator apertures needed in step-and-shoot intensity modulated radiotherapy. These problems are very challenging particularly as the problem size increases. Here, we investigate how advanced parallel computing methods can be applied to these problems with a focus on the issues that are peculiar to parallel search algorithms and do not arise in their serial counterparts. A previous paper by the authors presented the MU–RD method for solving such problems using a serial constraint programming based search method. This method is being used as the starting point for a parallel implementation. The key challenges in creating a parallel implementation are ensuring that the CPUs are not starved of work and avoiding unnecessary computation due to the rearrangement of the search order in the parallel version. We show that efficient parallel optimisation is possible by dynamically changing the way work is split with potentially multiple tree search processes as well as parallel search of nodes. A weakly sorted queueing system is used to ensure appropriate prioritisation of tasks. Numerical results are presented to demonstrate the effectiveness of our algorithms in scaling from 8 to 64 CPUs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-477
Number of pages37
JournalComputational Optimization and Applications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

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