GPU-based fast pencil beam algorithm for proton therapy

Rintaro Fujimoto, Tsuneya Kurihara, Yoshihiko Nagamine
Hitachi, Ltd Energy and Environmental Systems Laboratory, 7-2-1 Omika-cho, Hitachi-shi, Ibaraki 319-1221, Japan
Physics in Medicine and Biology, Volume 56, Number 5, p.1319


   title={GPU-based fast pencil beam algorithm for proton therapy},

   author={Fujimoto, R. and Kurihara, T. and Nagamine, Y.},

   journal={Physics in Medicine and Biology},




   publisher={IOP Publishing}


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Performance of a treatment planning system is an essential factor in making sophisticated plans. The dose calculation is a major time-consuming process in planning operations. The standard algorithm for proton dose calculations is the pencil beam algorithm which produces relatively accurate results, but is time consuming. In order to shorten the computational time, we have developed a GPU (graphics processing unit)-based pencil beam algorithm. We have implemented this algorithm and calculated dose distributions in the case of a water phantom. The results were compared to those obtained by a traditional method with respect to the computational time and discrepancy between the two methods. The new algorithm shows 5-20 times faster performance using the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 card in comparison with the Intel Core-i7 920 processor. The maximum discrepancy of the dose distribution is within 0.2%. Our results show that GPUs are effective for proton dose calculations.
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